Record of the Press Briefing by Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson on 27th August 2015

Islamabad, August 27, 2015 (PPI-OT): Opening Remarks

Travel Advisory

In view of the prevailing security situation in some Middle Eastern and African countries due to internal strife and actions of non-state actors and terrorists, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to advise Pakistanis to avoid non-essential travel to such countries. Although Pakistan Missions in such countries are always forthcoming to help Pakistan nationals in distress, their ability to do so is often limited due to the prevailing situation, turmoil and instability.

Clarification of News Item Appearing in Media Regarding the Committee on Constitutional Reforms in Gilgit-Baltistan

A news item, quoting Online News Agency, was carried by the Frontier Post of yesterday, alleging that, in response to a question, I had said that “The proposed committee for determination of constitutional status of Gilgit-Baltistan is still in the process of formation”. It is necessary to clarify that I have been misquoted. In response to a question, I had said that the composition of the Committee is under consideration. The purpose of the Committee, as reported in the news item is also incorrect. As you are aware, the Committee was set up in April this year to make suitable recommendations for Constitutional reforms in Gilgit-Baltistan.

The Floor is now open for Questions

Question

Could you please confirm details of the forthcoming meeting between DG Rangers of Pakistan and DG Border Security Force (BSF) of India? (Waqas Rafique- Capital TV)

Answer

Meeting between DG Rangers and DG BSF will take place in New Delhi next month.

Question

Talks between NSAs of India and Pakistan could not take place. Will Pakistan raise the issues which were to be discussed by the NSAs at the forthcoming UNGA session and present evidence? (Khawaja Nayyar Iqbal-Capital TV)

Supplementary Question

Is there any proposal for a meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the upcoming session of the UNGA? (Muddasar – Khyber News)

Answer

Let me respond to the supplementary question first. There is no such proposal on the table.

In response to first question, I would like to draw attention to the detailed press conference held by the Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs on 23 August 2015, where he had responded to questions about the future strategy of Pakistan regarding issues of concern to Pakistan vis-a-vis India. I wish to underscore that we will keep the UN informed of all issues of concern to Pakistan.

Question

My question refers to your opening remarks. You did not specify the countries in your travel advisory. Would you like to specify the countries in Africa and the Middle East for which the travel advisory has been issued?

Secondly, do you expect any positive response or a review of the Indian position vis-a-vis the NSA talks? Do you expect that India may revise its position enabling both countries to resume dialogue again? (Mateen Haider- Dawn News)

Answer

I will not be able to add anything to what I have already said regarding the travel advisory. However, you would note that I have specified situations like internal strife and actions by non-state actors and terrorists. Countries facing such situations are well-known.

Secondly, it is for India to indicate its position regarding the talks. As far as Pakistan is concerned, we had very clearly stated that preconditions for talks were not acceptable.

Question

There is a lot of fuss in the air in Afghanistan against Pakistan ranging from demonstrations to a fatwa from some religious scholars against Pakistan. They have also boycotted some imports from Pakistan. Now, increasingly media reports suggest that Pakistan Embassy in Kabul, its diplomats and staff members could be under threat. In the past also, Pakistan Embassy in Kabul had been attacked. Are you concerned about the developments in Afghanistan against Pakistan and their impact on the safety and security of our Embassy personnel in Afghanistan? (Shaukat Paracha- Aaj TV)

Answer

As you are aware, from time to time, we have been expressing our concerns at the allegations leveled by Afghan Government officials against Pakistan and anti-Pakistan campaign by Afghan media. Against this backdrop, security of our Embassy personnel and premises in Afghanistan has become a matter of top priority for the Government of Pakistan. Accordingly, we have conveyed our concerns to the relevant authorities in Afghanistan. In response, we have been assured that all possible measures will be taken to ensure the security of our personnel and premises in Afghanistan.

Question

In your opening remarks you clarified about the proposed committee on Gilgit-Baltistan for constitutional reforms. Can you please tell us about the composition of this committee and what is the progress so far? (Fida Hussain- Radio News Network)

Answer

In my opening remarks, I had said that the composition of the Committee for Constitutional reforms in Gilgit-Baltistan is under-consideration. However, the Committee will be headed by Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Mr. Sartaj Aziz.

Question

The postponement of the meeting of NSAs of Pakistan and India is very unfortunate. Don’t you think that the meeting between Rangers and BSF is also an outcome of Ufa understanding? Don’t you think it is farcical, as on the one hand India is rejecting the dialogue between the NSAs but on the other they are meeting with Rangers? (Abid Khursheed- ATV)

Answer

Rangers and BSF officials have met in the past as well. They will be meeting again next month to discuss ceasefire violations at the LoC and the Working Boundary.

Question

Yesterday, there was a report that in an operation in Islamabad two Afghan intelligence officials were arrested. What are the details? What actions will Pakistan take for these personnel? Will Pakistan raise it with Afghanistan?

My other question relates to 41 Pakistanis who have been stopped by the UAE government from leaving Sharjah as they had to pay some outstanding toll for their taxis. They were taken from Pakistan as government employees of Sharjah. What is Foreign Ministry doing in this regard? (Shahid Rana- ARY TV)

Answer

Question regarding the reported arrest of Afghan intelligence officials may be asked to the Ministry of Interior.

I will ascertain details of the problems being faced by taxi drivers in Sharjah and share them with media.

Question

A few days ago there was a program on the Indian media claiming that Dawood Ibrahim was in Pakistan. What is Pakistan’s stance regarding his presence in Pakistan? (Shahzad Malik- BBC Urdu)

Answer

Our consistent position on Dawood Ibrahim has been that he is not in Pakistan. In this regard, I would like to draw your attention to a statement by Indian Minister of State for Home Affairs given in the Parliament a few months ago that whereabouts of Dawood Ibrahim were not known. His statement vindicated our position.

Question

Any update on the release of Coalition Support Funds (CSF)?

Secondly, has Pakistan contacted any Afghan government officials and Afghan Taliban to resume the dialogue that was suspended? (Zarghoon Shah- Geo TV)

Answer

Pakistan and the US enjoy close relations. A number of visits have been exchanged between the two countries over the last few months. All issues of mutual interest including defence ties and CSF were discussed in meetings held between the two sides during these visits.

Regarding your second question, I would like to reiterate that Pakistan’s role is that of a facilitator. We had facilitated the first round of talks which was positive and productive. It is up to the Afghans now to decide about further steps in this regard. Pakistan remains committed to supporting and facilitating an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan.

Question

Pakistan and Afghanistan have been discussing modalities for better border management. We have learnt that there is a proposal under consideration, probably proposed from Afghanistan, seeking fencing of Pak-Afghanistan border. Would you comment on that? (Maqbool Malik- The Nation)

Answer

I am not aware of any such proposal. However, let me underscore that Pakistan has been sincerely making efforts to promote peace and tranquillity on Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Let me add that border issues are also discussed during meetings held between the two sides including military officials of the two countries.

Question

Will Prime Minister pay a bilateral visit to the US after the UNGA session? My second question is that the US Congress had approved a defence deal to provide helicopters to Pakistan. When will Pakistan receive those helicopters? (Naveed Akbar)

Answer

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will pay a bilateral visit to the US this year on the invitation of the US President. Exact dates of the visit are being discussed by the two sides.

I do not have details of the defence deal you have mentioned, including the date of delivery of the helicopters.

Question

Is Pakistan planning to raise the issue of Kashmir and India’s involvement in Pakistan during the Prime Minister’s address to the UNGA session? (Kausar Lodhi- Prime News)

Answer

Prime Minister’s speech to the UNGA session has not yet been finalized. However, his speech always contains a reference to Kashmir as an outstanding dispute, that need to be settled peacefully through dialogue.

I wish to reiterate that we would keep the UN informed about all issues of concern to Pakistan. For example, our Permanent Representative in New York has briefed senior UN officials about the circumstances under which it was not possible to hold the meeting of the NSAs of Pakistan and India.

Question

Yesterday, Brahumdagh Bugti had said that he was willing to talk to Pakistan. Currently, Pakistan’s Interior Minister is in the UK. Is there any meeting expected between Mr. Bugti and the Interior Minister? (Shahid Ali- South Asian News)

Answer

You may ask this question to the Ministry of Interior.

Question

We have seen reports about the detention of several Pakistanis in Israeli jails. It is said that many of them are from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. May I know about efforts made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for bringing our citizens back to Pakistan? (Muddassir- Khyber News)

Answer

I believe you are referring to media reports that some survivors of a ship that sank in the territorial waters of Israel in 2009 are being held there. We are making efforts through our friendly countries and the UN to ascertain the facts.

Question

My question is about Indian involvement in subversive activities in Pakistan. Previously, it was told that in addition to the UN, Pakistan would also be apprising a number of other countries including countries in Europe and in the Middle East. Has Pakistan apprised the international community about the negative Indian role and its involvement in subversive activities across Pakistan? (Mateen Haider- Dawn News)

Answer

As a matter of routine, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs asks its Missions abroad to brief their host governments about developments in our relations with various countries, including India.

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