Record of Press Briefing by Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson on 20th August 2015

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Record of Press Briefing by Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson on 20th August 2015

 

Islamabad, August 20, 2015 (PPI-OT): There are no opening remarks

The Floor is open for Questions

Question

On 10 July 2015 in Ufa, Russia, Prime Minister Nawaz met with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi. Prior to that meeting, Kashmiri leaders were not consulted. Now my question is what made Pakistan suddenly consult Kashmiri leaders and invite them to the High Commission in New Delhi before the meeting of Pakistan-India NSAs? The agenda of the meeting appears to be focused on intervention, terrorism and violations at the LoC. (Zaghoon Shah- Geo TV)

Answer

Inviting Kashmiri leaders for meetings and participation in various events hosted by our High Commission is a long standing practice. Such meetings normally take place before talks between the senior officials of the two countries on various issues are held in Pakistan or India. It is in this context that Kashmiri leaders have been invited by our High Commissioner to attend a reception at the High Commission on 23rd August 2015. The reception is being hosted in the honour of our Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs and members of his delegation.

Question

What is the latest on the detention or release of APHC leaders in Srinagar? If Syed Ali Gillani is not released and others are released what will be Pakistan’s reaction? We want to know what kind of a dialogue is this where everyday there is firing from the Indian side and every other day the two Foreign Ministries summon each other’s diplomats. Is this the spirit of the dialogue with which the two countries are approaching each other? (Shaukat Paracha- Aaj TV)

Answer

I have seen media reports regarding detention of Kashmiri leaders. However, I will not comment on them. Pakistan expects India to allow Kashmiri leaders to meet the Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs. Kashmiris are important stakeholders in the context of Jammu and Kashmir dispute and efforts to seek its peaceful settlement in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolutions.

The second question relates to ceasefire violations along the LoC and the Working Boundary. More than 70 such violations have taken place from the Indian side over the last two months. We have been regularly protesting to the Indian side on these violations through their High Commission in Islamabad. Peace and tranquility along the LoC and the Working Boundary is in the interest of both sides. Pakistan, as you know, wishes to maintain good neighbourly relations with all countries of the region including India.

Question

Reportedly Pakistan and Russia have signed a defence deal. Can you share details? How does Pakistan see its ties with Moscow? (Muhammad Ishtiaq – VOA)

Answer

I do not have details of the deal that you have referred to. However, let me say that Pakistan enjoys good relations with Russia, which have been on an upward trajectory for the last few years. We have cooperation with Russia in many fields including defence. We wish to enhance our relations with Russia in all fields of mutual interest.

Question

Reports are coming out of the US suggesting that the US Administration has decided not to certify to the Congress that Pakistan has taken adequate action against the Haqqani Network in North Waziristan and that this development might lead to further complications with regard to the next tranche of CSF which is already looking in doubt. Could you tell us more about this? Also, whether the US administration has conveyed anything to the Government of Pakistan in this regard that you are aware of, either in writing or verbally? (Farhan Bukhari – Financial Times)

Supplementary Question

Pakistan and US are consulting on several issues including the CSF. Has the US told Pakistan that it will not certify to Congress that operation Zarb-e-Azab has damaged Haqqani Group? (Ayesha Tanzeem- Voice of America)

Answer

Pakistan and the US enjoy good relations which are on an upward trajectory. The two sides are engaged in consultations on various issues including the CSF. However, I wish to reiterate that, under the ongoing military operation Zarb-e-Azb, action is being taken across the board against all enemies of Pakistan and Afghanistan. There are no good or bad terrorists.

Question

Although a lot has been published in the media regarding Pakistan’s agenda for talks with India, would you like to share with us the key points/issues that Pakistan is expected to raise during talks between the two NSAs scheduled for 23-24 August in New Delhi. Secondly, has the Indian Government shared its agenda with the Government of Pakistan or not? (Mateen Haider- Dawn News)

Answer

Both sides are in contact with regard to finalization of the agenda for talks between the two NSAs. During the meetings in New Delhi, Pakistan will raise all issues of importance including Kashmir.

Question

Most of the times, on LoC ceasefire violations, you say that we are raising this issue on different international forums like the UN. Where have you raised this issue and what response has come till now? (Shahid Rana- ARY TV)

Answer

As you know, we keep raising this issue with UNMOGIP which is a UN representation. You may be aware that, on 18 August 2015, the UN Secretary General expressed serious concern at the recent escalation of violence along the LoC.

We also apprise our interlocutors of the ceasefire violations by India. Many of our partners have expressed concern at these violations and emphasized the need for resolution of all issues between Pakistan and India peacefully through dialogue. This reflects support for our position as we also stand for resolution of all disputes with India peacefully through dialogue.

Question

Last week, a high-level Afghan delegation had visited Islamabad. However, yesterday, according to your press release, the Afghan Ambassador was called to the Foreign Ministry to lodge protest against allegations on Pakistan. Does this indicate a failure in the talks held with the Afghan delegation? Secondly, India has claimed that China was interfering in Gilgit Baltistan. Can you please comment on this? (Fida Hussain-Radio News Network)

Answer

To answer your first question, the Foreign Secretary had called in the Afghan Ambassador to convey Pakistan’s concerns over the recent spate of Afghan Government’s allegations against Pakistan and anti-Pakistan campaign in the Afghan media. Concerns were also expressed on cross-border violations from the Afghan side on 16 and 17 August 2015.

It was conveyed to the Ambassador that, as a matter of policy, Pakistan does not initiate fire on our Afghan brothers and only returns fire in self-defence. It was also conveyed to him that Pakistan wanted to continue positive and constructive engagement with Afghanistan and that such incidents were undermining the efforts being made by the leadership of both the countries to bring peace and stability on Pakistan-Afghanistan border and to further strengthen our bilateral relations.

As regards your second question, we reject allegations of interference by China in Gilgit Baltistan. We have repeatedly said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Projects will benefit the entire region.

Question

The Indian Prime Minister was warmly welcomed in UAE. How do you see the Indian Prime Minister’s visit? Does this show a decline in our relations with UAE? (Anwar Abbas – Waqat News)

Supplementary Question

The Indian Prime Minister in his address in UAE had implied that Pakistan was encouraging terrorism, without specifically naming Pakistan. What is the Foreign Ministry’s response on it? (Syed Mohsin Raza Kazmi- Such TV)

Answer

To answer the first question, it is our policy not to comment on bilateral relations of other countries. However, I would like to say that Pakistan has close and brotherly relations with all GCC countries, including the UAE. We enjoy close cooperation with UAE in a number of fields including defence and security. Our trade volume is about US$ 9 billion a year. We have 1.3 million Pakistanis in the UAE, who have been contributing to the socio-economic development of our brotherly country. We want to further enhance our relations with the UAE in all fields of mutual interest.

In response to your second question, let me emphasize that terrorism is not only a cause of concern to India but also to Pakistan. You know that, with more than 60,000 Pakistanis having been martyred, we have suffered the most while combating terrorism. The success achieved by the ongoing operation Zarb-e-Azb in eliminating terrorists will benefit the entire region. Terrorism is our common enemy. It would be better if a cooperative approach is adopted to deal with this menace rather than pointing fingers without investigations and evidence.

Question

Pakistan had facilitated the talks between the Afghan Government and the Afghan Taliban. However, keeping in view the recent developments between Pakistan and Afghanistan, is Pakistan ready to facilitate talks between the two sides in the future? (Kaswar Kalasara – Pakistan Observer)

Answer

Pakistan is committed to supporting and facilitating an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process. We had facilitated the first round of talks which was positive and productive and was so acknowledged by the international community However, it is up to Afghans to decide about further steps in this regard. In our view, wisdom lay in continuation of the peace process. That is the only way to guarantee lasting peace in Afghanistan, which will also be good for Pakistan

Question

Some media reports are describing the invitation extended to the Hurriyat leaders as a deliberate attempt to sabotage the upcoming meeting between the two Advisors. What’s your comment on it? (Ali Husnain-Business Recorder)

Answer

As I have said earlier, invitation to Kashmiri leaders has not been extended for the first time. It is a longstanding practice. In the past too there have been meetings with the Kashmiri leaders at our High Commission on important occasions, particularly before talks between the two countries.

Question

If Kashmir is not part of the agenda of the meeting between the NSAs, would it still be discussed by Pakistan? (Farooq Aqdus- Jang)

Answer

Pakistan side will raise all issues of importance including Kashmir during the NSA’s meetings in India.

Question

My question is related to Afghanistan. Our bilateral relations are on decline after various statements made by the Afghan Cabinet members and the Afghan media is also very hostile towards Pakistan. Afghan leaders and the Afghan media say that Pakistan is engaged in a proxy war in Afghanistan and is still supporting militants. So, tell us clearly. Is Pakistan engaged in any kind of proxy war to destabilize Afghanistan? What is our position on it? (Mateen Haider- Dawn News)

Answer

We have said on a number of occasions that we are committed to good neighbourly relations with Afghanistan. Afghans are our brothers and we support them in their efforts to achieve peace and reconciliation through a process that is led and owned by them. As to allegations against Pakistan, I would like to say that we need evidence not allegations. Allegations undermine the efforts being made by the leadership of the two countries to further strengthen bilateral relationship.

Question

Pakistani products are being boycotted in Afghanistan under a deliberate campaign. This has created an ill-feeling in Afghanistan against Pakistan. What steps is Pakistan taking to decrease these ill-feelings? (Naveed Akbar)

Answer

In response to an earlier question, I had responded that the Afghan Ambassador was called in by the Foreign Secretary yesterday to convey Pakistan’s concerns over recent Afghan Government’s allegations and media campaign to malign Pakistan. The Foreign Secretary had stressed that such allegations served to undercut the efforts being made to enhance relations. We have close cooperation with Afghanistan in many areas including trade and wish to further deepen it.

Question

Follow up to an earlier question regarding negotiations with the US regarding reimbursement of CSF. The Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Mr. Sartaj Aziz, in his joint press conference with the Iranian Foreign Minister had mentioned September 30 as the deadline for CSF. Can you share or give any indication about the progress or roadblocks in this regard? (Qasim Nauman- Wall Street Journal)

Answer

Several visits have been exchanged between Pakistan and the US in the recent past. Both sides, therefore, remain engaged in consultations on various issues, including the CSF.

Question

The Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Mr. Sartaj Aziz, is visiting India on 23rd August. Who else is part of his delegation? (Amjad Ali – PTV News)

Answer

I do not have the composition of the delegation at the moment. It will be made known at an appropriate time.

Question

On a day when the Prime Minister has inaugurated Pakistan’s largest civil nuclear power project in Karachi, Pakistan continues to remain under international criticism and pressure on its nuclear program. What do you have to say to the global community on this project as well as other projects regarding nuclear energy goals? (Farhan Bukhari- Financial Times)

Answer

Pakistan is a responsible nuclear weapon state.

Pakistan has right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy. There is no reason for anyone to be concerned about our nuclear energy projects, which operate under IAEA safeguards.

Question

India has violated the LoC and the Working Boundary more than 70 times in the last two months. The dialogue between Pakistan and India is going to take place in this atmosphere. What do you think will be the result of dialogue in such an atmosphere? (Zaheer Ali- Such TV)

Answer

There are serious issues between India and Pakistan which need to be resolved peacefully through talks. There have been occasions in the past as well when talks were held despite very tense moments in the relationship.

For more information, contact:
Mr. Aizaz Ahmad Ch
Spokesman
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Government of Pakistan
Tell: +92-51-9205494
Fax: +92-51-9204202
Cell: +92-336-5644459
Website: www.mofa.gov.pk

 

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