Transcript of Weekly Press Briefing by Spokesperson on 25th July 2019
[This is a rush transcript. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated]
We start with a brief round-up of the activities on the foreign policy front.
The Indian occupation forces in their recent acts of state terrorism martyred Adnan Ahmad Channa, Kaneez Begum and seven-year-old Rubia Kousar in Sopore and Rajouri districts of the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOK). We strongly condemn these acts of state terrorism in IOK and demand that India should stop misleading the international community and accept the ground realities and aspirations of the people of IOK, instead of continuing with its policy of obduracy and state terrorism in the territory.
I, in my capacity as Director General (SA & SAARC), summoned the Indian Deputy High Commissioner Mr. Gaurav Ahluwalia and condemned the unprovoked ceasefire violations by the Indian occupation forces along the Line of Control (LoC) on 22nd and 23rd July 2019. On 22 July 2019, in Bagsar Sector along LoC, 12 years old boy Mohammad Riaz was martyred while 18 year old Zabeeullah sustained serious injuries. On 23 July 2019, in Hotspring, Jandrot and Banchirian Sectors along LoC, an innocent civilian lady Jan Bibi was martyred while three civilians Mr. Naseem and Parveen Bibi from Hot Spring Sector and Mr. Khalid from Banchirian sector sustained serious injuries.
The deliberate targeting of civilian populated areas is indeed deplorable and contrary to human dignity, international human rights and humanitarian laws. The ceasefire violations by India are a threat to regional peace and security and may lead to a strategic miscalculation.
Moving forward, Prime Minister Imran Khan concluded a very successful and productive first visit to the United States of America yesterday, during which he had talks with US President Donald Trump, interacted with Congressional leaders and prominent US businessmen and addressed a think tank.
This was the first summit-level engagement between Pakistan and the United States since 2015. The two leaders first jointly addressed the press and later had one-on-one meeting, which was followed by delegation level talks between the two sides.
Both leaders held comprehensive discussions with a focus on building a broad-based and enduring partnership between Pakistan and the United States and strengthening cooperation between the two countries to bring peace, stability and economic prosperity in South Asia.
They also acknowledged the immense opportunity and potential for mutually beneficial collaboration in diverse fields such as trade, investment, energy, economic connectivity, and defense and security cooperation. It was decided to establish a mechanism to follow-up on the understandings reached.
President Trump appreciated Prime Minister Khan's vision for peace in South Asia. The Prime Minister said Pakistan was convinced that normalization of relations with India would be mutually beneficial for the two countries. He underlined that Pakistan would continue to pursue dialogue and diplomacy to resolve longstanding disputes, including the core dispute of Jammu and Kashmir. President Trump expressed his readiness to play a facilitating role in resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.
Prime Minister Khan extended a cordial invitation to President Trump for a visit to Pakistan. The President accepted the invitation.
Later, U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo called on Prime Minister Khan at Pakistan House in Washington. The Prime Minister also met Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and attended a reception at Capitol Hill, hosted by the Congressional Pakistan Caucus.
On his way back to Pakistan after successful visit to the United States of America, Prime Minister Imran Khan stopped over at Doha. He was welcomed by H.E. Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, Prime Minister of State of Qatar. The two Prime Ministers held a wide-ranging meeting during which matters pertaining to bilateral ties were discussed. Prime Minister of Pakistan recalled the recent visit of the Amir of Qatar to Pakistan and thanked Qatar for its economic support. The two sides reaffirmed the resolve to comprehensively upgrade bilateral relations in all fields including trade, investment, energy, aviation, agricultural, tourism, manpower and people to people contacts. The positive contribution of Pakistani community in Qatar was also lauded.
Moving forth, Ms. Andleeb Abbas, Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, led Pakistan delegation to the Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) held in Caracas, Venezuela on 20-21 July 2019. She expressed Pakistan's deep appreciation to the Non-Aligned Movement's consistent support for the right of self-determination of people living under foreign occupation. Referring to the situation in IOK, the Parliamentary Secretary paid tribute to NAM's consistent rejection of attempts by some countries to equate freedom struggles of people under foreign occupation with terrorism. The Parliamentary Secretary also shared Pakistan’s vision and policy of peaceful neighborhood to help create a win-win framework for development, prosperity and security.
On 18 July 2019, the Second Session of Pakistan-Iran Higher Border Commission (HBC) was held in Islamabad. During the Session, both sides held constructive discussions for effective implementation of existing border mechanisms within the relevant frameworks including Agreement for Administration of Pakistan-Iran border of 1960. They agreed to further strengthen mutual cooperation in these areas.
On19 July 2019, the Fifth Round of China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Practical Cooperation Dialogue (CAPPCD) was held in Islamabad. During the Fifth Round, the three sides discussed implementation status of various projects among Pakistan, Afghanistan and China in the areas of education, health, sports, culture and capacity building. The three parties reiterated their support to a political settlement of the conflict in Afghanistan through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process. Both Afghanistan and China appreciated Pakistan’s role in facilitating the peace process and its consistent support to various mechanisms aimed at bringing durable peace stability in Afghanistan. South Asia Dialogue was also held during these consultations.
On 23 July 2019, the fourth round of Pakistan-United Kingdom Bilateral Consultations on Arms Control, Non-Proliferation and Disarmament was held in Islamabad. The talks were held in an open and constructive atmosphere, with the two sides discussing issues on international arms control and non-proliferation agenda. Both sides discussed issues relating to global and regional security and stability, as well as areas of cooperation and collaboration in multilateral fora. There was agreement that these talks were valuable and remain an important element of the ongoing engagement between both countries on Arms Control, Non-Proliferation and Disarmament issues. The two sides agreed to hold the following meeting in London next year.
Finally, yesterday the Prime Minister has extended heartfelt condolences on the passing away of former Premier of China Mr. Li Peng, who played a great role in the development and prosperity of China and for peace in the region. Premier Li Peng was a true friend and supporter of Pakistan, who would always be remembered for his outstanding contributions for strengthening of traditional bonds of friendship between Pakistan and China. He was instrumental in setting the foundations for a comprehensive and broad based relationship between our two countries.
Question: US Special Representative for Afghanistan Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad is set to meet Taliban later this month for a decisive round of talks. The Taliban Chief Negotiator Abbas Stanakzai has been quoted in the media that the agreement would be finalized with the US. Is Pakistan privy to that Agreement? What is Pakistan's official response to it? (Mr. Muhammad Jaleel - VoA)
Answer: The US and Taliban are holding direct talks. Pakistan believes that the solution to the Afghan conflict lies in a politically negotiated settlement. In the same spirit, Pakistan has facilitated direct peace talks between the US and the Afghan Taliban. We are noting progress with keen interest and hope that the recent intra-Afghan talks would lead to a more comprehensive and all-inclusive intra-Afghan dialogue. Pakistan’s role in taking forward the peace process is being recognized by all stakeholders. The negotiations on peace terms are still continuing. The process should be Afghan owned and Afghan led. Final decision is to be taken by the Afghans themselves. Pakistan will continue to play its role.
Question: What steps is the Government of Pakistan taking after the verdict of the International Court of Justice to give consular access to Commander Kulbushan Jadhav?
Secondly, there have been a series of attack on oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. What special measures is the government of Pakistan taking in this regard because Pakistan is solely dependent on imported oil? (Mr. Tariq Mehmood - Hum News)
Answer: Regarding your first question, we have already issued a press release that pursuant to the decision of the ICJ, Commander Kulbushan Jadhav has been informed of his rights under Article 36, Paragraph 1(b) of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. As a responsible state, Pakistan will grant consular access to Commander Kulbushan Jadhav as per law, for which modalities are being worked out.
Regarding your second question, Pakistan is keeping a watchful eye on the situation in the Gulf Region. As stated earlier, we urge all parties to de-escalate the situation. The safety and security of the commercial shipping lines through Strait of Hormuz is important and critical. All parties must work towards decreasing tension in the region.
Question: When Osama Bin Laden was killed, the Foreign Office had summoned the American Ambassador in Islamabad and conveyed that the USA had breached our sovereignty. During the recent visit, Prime Minister Imran Khan claimed that the ISI provided a lead to the CIA that helped the US track down and kill the al-Qaeda chief in 2011. How do you respond to this? (Mr. Basher Chaudhary - Channel 24)
Answer: The statement of the Prime Minister refers to an initial lead regarding Osama Bin Laden, which was given by Pakistan and is an already well-known fact.
Question: Will you please update us whether the issues of Dr. Shakeel Afridi and Dr. Aafia Siddiqui were discussed during the meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Donald Trump? (Ms. Rashida Sial - Aab Takk News)
Answer: The Prime Minister has already spoken on this issue. I have nothing more to add.
Question: When will the next meeting on Kartarpur Sahib Corridor be held? Can you please share the details of unresolved issues on Kartarpur Sahib Corridor? (Mr. Zahid - Radio Pakistan)
Answer: I cannot share the specific details as the Agreement is under negotiation. We hope the next meeting on Kartarpur Corridor will be held soon as Indian side has to share dates for the next meeting. We are ready for the meeting.
Question: During his meeting with President Trump, PM Imran Khan stated that he wanted to meet Taliban delegation but the Afghan government stopped them to meet him. Could you please elaborate? Secondly, what is the agenda of upcoming meeting between Prime Imran Khan and Taliban? (Mr. Zargoon Shah- Geo News)
Answer: The Prime Minister has already explained our position on this.
Question: Do you think the recent visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to the USA would ameliorate the relationship between the two countries? Secondly, BBC Hindi has paid tribute to captain Karnal Sher Khan Shaheed, Nishan-e-Haider? Your comments please? (Khawaja Nayyar Iqbal- Media Today)
Answer: The visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan has brought a new impetus in relations between Pakistan and USA. The ties between the two countries have been reset. Regarding captain Karnal Sher Khan Shaheed, Nishan-e-Haider, he is our national hero whose bravery and gallantry has been acknowledged even by our enemy. Recently, on 05 July 2019, all segments of Pakistani society paid tribute to our national hero on the day of his martyrdom.
Question: During the recent visit, the Prime Minister Imran Khan hinted a possible swap of hostages. Would you please share some details in this regard? (Mr. Gohar Abbas - AFP)
Answer: No. I cannot.
Question: President Trump during his joint conference with Prime Minister Imran Khan has stated that the previous governments of Pakistan had a strained relationship with USA. Has the USA again asked Pakistan to "do more" regarding Afghan reconciliation process or action against terrorists within Pakistan? (Mr. Haider Sherazi - G-TV)
Answer: During the entire visit there has been no mention of "do more". I have just heard the word "do more" in your question. Our intent is to move forward towards a sustained and mutually beneficial relation between the two countries.
Question: You have mentioned in your opening statement regarding the current situation of Line of Control. However, the government of Pakistan has failed to protect the lives of people of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
Secondly, it has been observed that the present government is generally following the policies of ex-President Pervez Musharraf. More specifically, ex-President Musharraf had given out-of-box policy which resulted in peaceful management of LoC on both sides. Is the present government considering similar policy to defuse tensions on LoC? (Raziq Mehmood Bhatti - Daily Kashmir Express/Asian Sun)
Answer: I do not agree that Pakistan has failed in protecting the lives of people of AJK. Pakistan has always responded befittingly to the Indian violations/attacks and will continue to do so to protect the lives on our side. You have seen that Pakistan shot down two Indian fighter jets this year. We want a peaceful Line of Control as per ceasefire arrangement of 2003 and resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute as per the UN Security Council Resolutions and the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Regarding your second question, Pakistan desires normal relations with India but if India is not willing to sit with Pakistan and settle all the issues, Pakistan cannot resolve these issues unilaterally. Peace can only be achieved when both parties sit on the negotiating table.
Question: During the recent visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Washington, President Trump has stated that he is willing to be a mediator to resolve the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. How do you see this statement and to what extent the Jammu and Kashmir dispute has been highlighted? Will there be a hope that with the mediatory role of President Trump this dispute would be resolved soon? (Syed Asif Ali - Din TV)
Answer: You have seen that the Jammu and Kashmir dispute has been highlighted by President Trump and he has offered to play a mediatory role for its amicable resolution. We welcome the statement of President Trump. We hope that India will come to the negotiating table and resolve all disputes.
Question: It is a big success for Pakistan that President Trump has himself highlighted the Jammu and Kashmir dispute and conveyed his desire to play a mediatory role. However, on the other hand, India has refuted that any proposal was put forth by Prime Minister Modi to President Trump for a mediatory role. Keeping in view the current Indian response, is there any possibility, in your view, that the ice will melt and there will be any positive movement in resolving the Jammu and Kashmir? (Mr. Mazhar Iqbal - Public News)
Answer: India and its media need to respond maturely whenever the Jammu and Kashmir dispute is discussed. As you have witnessed that soon after President Trump announced to play a mediatory role, different segments of Indian media started panicking and making all sorts of allegations. As I said earlier, the only viable solution of Jammu and Kashmir dispute is through dialogue and diplomacy and full implementation of the UN Security Council Resolutions.
Question: India is an important member of the international community and is not willing or positive towards efforts for peace in the region. In this backdrop, how do you see the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan for a peaceful South Asia taking a positive shape? (Mr. Zaheer Ali - Samaa TV)
Answer: Only India can give answer to this question. Our approach is to address all issues through dialogue, which is in the interest of durable peace and development in the region.
Question: During the recent visit, did the Prime Minister Imran Khan discuss purchase of eight F-16 Fighter jets on subsidized rates, with US Administration? (Khawaja Hamza - Media Today)
Answer: I cannot share any specific details of the visit.
Question: During the recent visit, did the USA policy on Iran come under discussion between President Trump and Prime Minister Imran Khan? Secondly, there are reports that the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia has played an important role to arrange the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to USA? Your comments please? (Mr. Khalid Mehmood - Express News TV)
Answer: Regarding discussions on Iran, the Foreign Minister will update you on his return. As for your second question, I will not comment on media reports.
Question: Are you denying ISI and CIA collaboration in Abbottabad operation which led to killing of Osama Bin Ladin? Secondly, will the suspended amounts under CSF be restored to Pakistan by the US? (Mr. Ali Hussain - Business Recorder)
Answer: Regarding your first question, I have already replied.
As for your second question, let me clarify that the meeting between the leaders indicates the intent and desire to move forward. Later, the relevant authorities will follow up on specifics and work on the agreed issues.
Question: If we sum-up the recent visit of Prime Minister, were the expectations of Pakistan achieved during the visit? Your comments please? (Mr. Amjad Ali - PTV News)
Answer: The outcome of this visit was more than our expectations. It is indeed a very positive and successful visit. Relations between Pakistan and US were stalled atleast since 2015. I would reiterate that the intent to enhance bilateral relations between Pakistan and US has been expressed and now the relevant mechanisms will begin functioning to work out details of implementation.
Question: Will the Prime Minister Imran Khan participate in the UN General Assembly Session in September this year? (Mr. Muhammad Jaleel - VoA)
Answer: A formal announcement would be made in this regard once a final decision is taken.
Question: Prime Minister Imran Khan while giving an interview to the American media in Washington has stated that the initial information of presence of Osama Bin Ladin was initially shared by the ISI. If so, then in which context Dr. Shakeel Afridi has been detained? Your comments, please? (Mr. Aun Sherazi - Such News)
Answer: I have no comments on this.
Question: As you stated that the relations between Pakistan and the US have been reset. What has Pakistan offered to the US in return? Secondly, keeping in view the progress of Pak-US relations, how would you see Pakistan-China and Pakistan-Iran relations? (Ms. Rashida Sial - Aab Takk News)
Answer: There would be no effect on Pakistan-China and Pakistan-Iran relations. Our relationship with US does not impact other relationships.