Hina to visit Saudi Arabia for bilateral consultations: Foreign ministry spokesperson

Hina to visit Saudi Arabia for bilateral consultations: Foreign ministry spokesperson

 

Islamabad, December 27, 2012 (PPI-OT): This is a rush transcript. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated]

I want to make a couple of announcements. Foreign Minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, has been invited by the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia to visit Saudi Arabia for bilateral consultations. During her visit, she will interact with the Saudi leadership and discuss bilateral relations. I would also like to share with you that Pakistan would be assuming the rotational Presidency of the United Nations Security Council on the 1st January 2012 and that our mission has chalked out a very comprehensive plan in this regard. I look forward to your questions.

Firstly, how do you see 2012 in terms of Pakistan’s achievement in Foreign Policy? Secondly, Russian President, Mr. Putin, has recently visited India and had arms deal worth billions of dollars. How do you see this?

Answer

One really needs a comprehensive briefing, totally dedicated to this issue, but generally speaking, this year has been very good and satisfying. With Russia, we witnessed enhanced interactions at the leadership level; with the US, though we witnessed some ups and downs, but at the end of the day, issues were resolved and now we can say with a fair amount of confidence, that relations are moving in a positive direction.

In the case of China, an excellent relationship continued, and we saw high level exchanges and visits. In the Middle East, we had a couple of issues including the deteriorating situation in Syria, but generally, we witnessed a continuation of excellent relations with all Middle Eastern and Arab countries, in fact with all Islamic countries. Importantly, with India, the Indian Foreign Minister visited Pakistan in September, and discussed bilateral relations comprehensively. Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to resolve all issues through peaceful negotiations. Similarly, the event of D-8 Summit was a big achievement and success.

Regarding the Russian President’s visit to India and an arms deal, I have seen some reports in the media but I don’t have specific information, therefore, I would restrain from commenting on the deal. However, we are not in favour of arms race in the region. We feel any deal that may lead to arms race in the region, whether conventional or non-conventional, does not augur well for the future of our region.

Question

A Couple of days back, the Peshawar Air Base was attacked and initial investigation reports established that most of the attackers were from Uzbekistan, and we also came to know about the involvement of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan which has huge following gathering in North Waziristan and links with Tehrik e Taliban Pakistan.

Moreover, there are reports that not only Uzbiks, Tajiks and Chechens have also gathered in North Wazirsitan. Has Government of Pakistan raised this issue officially or diplomatically with Central Asian countries? Moreover, 5.3 million refugees are living in Pakistan without travel documents and enjoying privileges here. How does Foreign Office see this?

Answer

It goes without saying that terrorism and extremism remain of paramount concern to Pakistan. We are trying everything within our means to address this menace. Terrorism is a common threat and we strongly believe that it requires collaborative efforts by all the concerned countries, and we are in touch with all our friends to address this issue. Regarding your question on air base attacks and various reports on the incident, I would refer you to the Ministry of Interior which is the relevant Ministry in this regard.

Question

Has Pakistan taken any decision to grant MFN status to India before the deadline of 31st December?

Answer

As far as the MFN status is concerned, the Government of Pakistan has already decided to grant this status to India. In fact, we had initiated the process and currently we are going through some internal processes and, hopefully, these processes will be completed soon.

Question

There are reports that Taliban have office in Qatar. If Qatar can allow Taliban for establishing office there, why not Pakistan? How would the government of Pakistan respond the statement of Tehrik e Taliban Pakistan that they are willing to initiate negotiations with the government? Finally, there was news from Election Commission yesterday that Foreign Office is going to facilitate international observers for upcoming elections. Which agencies have the foreign office invited for election?

Answer

In principle, we have no problem with the international agencies to come and observe elections in Pakistan. However, at the end of the day, it would be the decision of Election Commissioner and the Caretaker government. Regarding your question on TTP, again, Ministry of Interior is the lead Ministry to respond to this question. Regarding Taliban’s office in Qatar, it is a very speculative question, we’ll deal with it if and when we receive any such request.

Question

American troops will remain in Afghanistan after 2014 and they are using Afghan air base to launch drone attacks on Pakistan. Since drone attacks are coming from Afghanistan and Afghan air base, occupied by the US. How do you see Pakistan-US relations in post withdrawal situation and in second terms of Obama, which have been devastating so far?

Answer

As far as the post withdrawal situation is concerned, basically it is for the Afghan government to decide in consultation with the US Government as to what level of troops they want to maintain in Afghanistan. On drone attacks we have a very clear and consistent position, we find these attacks totally unproductive, they are illegal and a violation of our sovereignty.

On Pakistan-US relations, it has been made clear both at the leadership level, as well as at the official level, that peace and stability in Afghanistan is in our common interest, and that both sides are trying to evolve a common approach to this issue.

Question

What is the update and deadline on Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline? Secondly, recently All Party Hurriyat Conference visited Pakistan and there are reports that before coming here they met with some RAW officials. Did they meet with any intelligence official in Pakistan also?

Answer

The All Party Hurriyat Conference delegation, led by Mir Waiz, visited Pakistan on the invitation of the Foreign Minister of Pakistan. The basic idea was to exchange views on various issues of mutual interest. During their visit, they had substantial interactions, including meetings with the Prime Minister, the President, interaction with think tanks and with the leadership of all important political parities.

We emphasized that Pakistan wants a just and peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue in accordance with UNSC resolutions and wishes and aspirations of the people of Kashmir. We also emphasized that a just and peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute was essential for peace and stability in South Asia, and that Pakistan would continue its political, moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmir cause. I have seen some unsubstantiated reports about the meeting of some members with RAW officials. However, I think, it would not be appropriate to comment on these unsubstantiated reports.

Regarding gas pipeline project with Iran, –- being an energy deficient country, it is in our national interest to avail of cheap and sustainable energy resources to meet our domestic demand. What I can say at this point is that the decision would be taken in the larger interest of the country.

Question

The Iranian Minister has said that construction work on pipeline would be started in February from Pakistan’s side. Will you confirm this? What practical steps have been taken so far in this regard? President of Pakistan has recently postponed his visit to Iran, when is the rescheduled visit of the President to Iran expected? How do you see recent talks on Afghanistan held in Paris?

Answer

The visit of the President to Iran is on the cards, and we are working on mutually convenient dates. Regarding the details and deadline of the pipeline construction, the Ministry of Petroleum is the right agency to answer your queries. Regarding Paris talks, we support any initiative that may lead to an all inclusive political reconciliation process, which is led and owned by the Afghans.

Question

Russian President postponed his visit to Pakistan. Is Pakistan considering to reschedule the visit? Could you please share the number of Taliban detainees released by Pakistan?

Answer

Pakistan has initiated the process of releasing the prisoners, however, I am not in a position to share the number or the names of the released prisoners. As far as the visit of President Putin is concerned, our invitation is pending, similarly, President Putin has also invited the President of Pakistan to visit Russia. And we are working on mutually convenient dates for the visit.

Question

Last week, meeting of the Oversight Board for Strategic Export Controls took place in Pakistan. Would you please share the details of the meeting and what are the concerns of international community with Pakistan? What measures Pakistan has taken to strengthen export control regime?

Answer

Pakistan, being a responsible country, is committed to ensure the safety and control of sensitive matters and technologies. This meeting reviewed the measures taken by the government in this regard so far, and discussed concrete steps to further strengthen the export controls. However, given the sensitivity of the issue, I would not be able to share the specific steps decided in the meeting.

Question

In Japan, new cabinet has been set up. What does Pakistan expect from new set up?

Answer

We wish to work closely with the new cabinet in Japan to achieve common objectives in the region, and to further strengthen bilateral relations. Pakistan enjoys excellent relations with Japan, it is one of the important economic partners of our country, and we would like to further strengthen and diversify this partnership.

Question

Today, India-Pakistan expert level talks on conventional CBM took place. What are the details of the talks and what has been achieved so far in these rounds of talks? Recently in its edition on 25th December, The Business Recorder published a map of Pakistan without Kashmir. In electronic and print media Pakistan’s map is shown without the territory of Kashmir. Is it not the responsibility of Foreign Office to take some measures to rectify this?

Answer

This is something you all know about. You need to refer to official maps of Pakistan. Even official maps of the UN show Kashmir as a disputed territory. I cannot take responsibility for Business Recorder, we would definitely call them and bring this to their notice, this is not something insignificant, in fact it is very serious.

I hope that they would take note of this discrepancy. We are very clear on the disputed status of Kashmir. Kashmir is also recognized as a disputed territory by the UN, in fact the whole international community regards Kashmir as a disputed territory.

As far as the second part of your question is concerned, the sixth round of expert level talks on conventional CBMs took place in New Delhi this morning. The basic objective was to review the implementation of existing CBMs, including ceasefire along the LoC, and exchange ideas to further advance the CBM process.

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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