Press Briefing by Foreign ministry's spokesman

Press Briefing by Foreign ministry’s spokesman

 

Islamabad, February 21, 2013 (PPI-OT): [This is a rush transcript. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.]

There are no opening remarks to make. But I look forward to your questions.

Question

Foreign Office and Ministry of Interior have failed to catch or arrest Mr. Tauqir Sadiq in Dubai. Your comments please?

Answer

I don’t know how the Foreign Ministry would be responsible for catching him but I can tell you that as instructed by the Court we have sent a request to the UAE Government for his deportation. We hope that it would be responded to positively. So far we have received a positive response.

Question

Last week in New Delhi, the United States, India and Afghanistan, they had a trilateral meeting. My simple question is, what is the position of Pakistan in the trilateral meeting between the three countries for the solution of the Afghan issue.

Answer

We have repeatedly said that Pakistan is totally committed to a stable, prosperous and peaceful Afghanistan. Any initiative that would help achieve this objective, we support it. Let me state it very clearly that any initiative taken in this regard should be solely focused on this very objective, i.e. peace, stability and prosperity of Afghanistan. The initiative should have a very clear objective. It should have a transparent strategy and we also expect that any initiative that is taken in this regard will ensure that the territory of Afghanistan is not used against Pakistan.

Question

Hazara community has been offered asylum by the Australian High Commission upto a number of 2500 person. Do you consider it as interference into Pakistan’s internal matter?

Answer

I am not aware of any such development. I can check and get back to you on this.

Question

Gwadar has recently been handed over to China. Does Pakistan consider this as a measure to sabotage Pakistan’s terrorism situation and do you think an external hand is involved in it?

Answer

Regarding the handing over of Gwadar Port to the Chinese company, let me be very clear that it is an economic and commercial venture between the two countries enjoying excellent relations and having a high level of trust and confidence, and which have convergence of strategic interests in the region. We hope that transferring the administrative control to the Chinese company would not only help development of the area but would also help China have better access to other markets, and for its energy supplies to have a shorter route.

Question

Foreign Minister of Pakistan recently briefed some ambassadors and she talked about gas projects some other projects, TAPI, Iran-Pakistan Gas pipeline project, were discussed, my question is how Pakistan sees the US reservation on Iran-Pakistan Gas pipeline project? How did Foreign Minister brief these countries? Are these countries on the same page what is Pakistan thinking?

Answer

The Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline Project is enormously important for Pakistan as we are an energy deficient country. It is in our national interest to have this project. We are committed to have this project. Yes, there are some issues, but Pakistan is determined to pursue this project.

Question

For the last ten years Mehsud tribe have been sitting across the Press Club protesting to stop drone attacks on their areas. Has the Pakistan Government and Foreign Office taken some positive steps regarding this. What are your comments on that?

Answer

On drone attacks, our stance is very clear. We consider them illegal and counterproductive and a violation of our sovereignty. It has been a constant topic of discussions with the Americans at all levels. We hope that we would be able to resolve this issue bilaterally.

Question

Do we have a formal agreement with the US for safe passage of the US troops through Pakistan during 2013-14?

Answer

We have an understanding/arrangement with the US and NATO in this regard and all supplies will pass through Pakistan under that arrangement.

Question

Pakistan has recently released the bunch of Taliban leaders who were detained and captured in Pakistan. Pakistan Government has requested to hand over Maulvi Fariq to Pakistan. What was the response of the Afghan government on that? Is he the only one that we have demanded to hand over or there are others as well?

Answer

Last night Foreign Minister Khar had a telephonic conversation with the Afghan Foreign Minister, Mr. Zalmai Rassoul. He informed our Foreign Minister about the capture of Maulvi Faqir. The Foreign Minister appreciated this development. This shows the growing level of cooperation and trust between the two countries. We hope that he would be handed over to Pakistan as soon as possible because he has the blood of many innocent Pakistanis on his hands.

Question

Is it only Maulvi Faqir that we have demanded or are there others besides him?

Answer

We hope that all the people who are engaged in anti-Pakistan activities, will be captured, arrested and handed over to Pakistan.

Question

Referring to some recent media reports, has the Foreign Office requested the UAE government for deportation of Tauqir Sadiq, can you share if any letter has been written on this?

Answer

Yes, we have written a letter to the Government of UAE on the instructions of the Court.

Question

1. Regarding the Interior Ministry’s stance on the situation in Baluchistan and FATA. Do you think any foreign hand is involved behind the scene? Has any complaint been launched by the Foreign Office?

2. Is there any progress on the selection of observers for the Election Commission regarding the upcoming elections?

Answer

As far as the decision of inviting observers for elections is concerned, it would be taken by the interim government.

Regarding your first question, we are concerned about the involvement of some groups that are trying to destabilize Pakistan, particularly the ones hiding in Kunar and Nooristan provinces of Afghanistan. But I do not want to get into details as they can be best given by Mr. Malik himself.

Question

In your statement about Tauqir Sadiq, you first said that you requested the UAE government for his arrest whether he has been arrested there so far or you have requested for his extradition to Pakistan? My second question is that it was trend to read a story concerning India, the Indian Finance Minister said they share 106 km land with Afghanistan. Can you share where is the border they are sharing with Afghanistan?

Answer

Regarding your first question, in order to deport somebody you have to arrest him first. Regarding your second question, yes I did read this report. I think at best it is laughable. This Indian claim has no legal or geographical basis.

Question

I would like to draw your attention towards the Hazara community seeking political asylum in Australia? I would also like to draw your attention towards some news reports that US can impose sanctions on both Iran and Pakistan if it continues on IP gas pipeline project.

Answer

Well I have already given our response on this. We are committed to this project. Regarding your second question, I can check, and get back to you.

For more information, contact:
Syed Haider Ali Jafri
Personal Secretary
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Government of Pakistan
Tel: +9251 921 0335 and 9056604

 
 
 

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