Record of the Press Briefing by Spokesperson on 20 October 2016

Bismillah IrRehman NirRahim Assalaam Alaikum

Since we met last, days have been hectic but full of significant developments as also very encouraging in many ways. Yesterday, the Council of Foreign Ministers of OIC adopted a very strong resolution on Kashmir dispute and condemned Indian atrocities on defenceless Kashmiris in IoK in strongest possible terms. The 4-page Resolution was released last night by MOFA. At the Parliamentary Union of Islamic Countries in Ankara on 18 October, the Speakers of the Islamic countries adopted Ankara Declaration, which asked India to create conducive environment for implementation of UNSC Resolutions on Kashmir. SAPM Mr. Tariq Fatemi and Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq attended the said meetings, respectively.

During the Prime Minister's successful and substantive visit to Azerbaijan last week, the Azeri President expressed serious concern over atrocities against the innocent people in Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir. He termed the response of international community a display of "double standards" since core issues remained unresolved despite lapse of decades without implementing relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has asked India to release the Human Rights activist Khurram Parvez from illegal detention immediately.

Despite India's numerous desperate attempts to divert the world attention, the Int'l Community remains concerned about the India's crimes against humanity and pressure is mounting on India to allow 'Fact Finding Mission' to visit IoK. India remains in constant violation of UN Charter and Int'l Humanitarian Laws. Indian occupation forces are liable to be tried for the crimes against humanity and genocide on account of buried evidence (Unnamed unmarked Mass Graves discovered in 2009), fake encounters, custodial killings, blinding several hundred, dishonouring en masse Kashmiri women, and mass murders on several occasions, last being perpetrated continuously for 103 days since Burhan Wani's extra-judicial killing on 8 July 2016.

Pakistan was re-elected to the Council of Administration at the 26th Congress of Universal Postal Union.

Army Contingents of 16 countries of Europe, Arab World, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, China and Africa participated in a 6-day Army Competition Event, called Int'l PACES Championship in Pakistan.

Floor is now open for Questions

Question

Is there any consultations going on between Pakistan and China for the inclusion of Iran in CPEC? Chinese Ambassador clearly expressed his desire for this purpose? (Kauser Lodhi - Prime News)

Answer I have seen the media reports. CPEC projects, when completed, will not only benefit Pakistan and China but also contribute to the development of the region. It would bring prosperity to the people of four regions - China, South Asia, Central Asia and West Asia. Question

Yesterday, we saw your tweet regarding constant violations of LoC in Karela Sector. My question is: do you have the consolidated figure that how many civilians in the recent days have been killed and injured or total casualties due to the Indian firing across the LoC?

Secondly, India has started implementing the plan to build 9 dams in Laddakh region on Indus River. Will this affect Pakistan's share of waters of Indus Water Treaty? What mechanisms have Pakistan opted to counter these moves and safeguards its interests? (Shaukat Paracha - Aaj TV)

Answer

As to your first question, I have mentioned that there have been more than 100 ceasefire violations by India in 2016 alone. Let me give you the statistics; in 2015 there were 39 Shahadats and 150 injuries. In 2016, so for, there has been one Shahadat and eight injuries due to India's aggression and blatant ceasefire violations on the Line of Control continuously.

As to your second question, Pakistan is closely following the developments and will not accept any violation of the Indus Waters Treaty. We will take appropriate action in line with the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty, in case of any violation of IWT.

Question

US Presidential candidate Trump's has offered to make peace between Pakistan and India. Your comments please. (Masroor Gilani - AFP)

Answer

As you know we do not comment on media reports from this podium. However, let me add that we continue to urge our American friends, including those in the Administration, to play their due role in resolving bilateral issues between Pakistan and India, particularly the Kashmir dispute. Pakistan welcomes, as it has welcomed in the past, mediation offer.

Question

India projects itself as a secular state in international community but recently we have seen Pakistani movie being dropped out in an Indian film festival after protestors threatened to disrupt the screening. How do you see this act of extremism and India's dual face when at the same time they say we don't have any issue with the people of Pakistan? (Fakhar ur Rehman - Turkish News Agency/Such TV)

Answer

It is an unfortunate attitude. People to people contacts are important for creating better understanding. The treatment meted out to the artists is disappointing and highly regrettable. While there are saner voices in India criticizing the Hindutva anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan mentality, there are many who have surrendered to the threats from Hindu extremists and members of Hindu terrorist organizations. Indian leadership cannot segregate Pakistani people and Pakistan by saying that they have nothing against the people while their entire government machinery and other institutions are working against Pakistan. Pakistani nation has repeatedly demonstrated that Pakistan is theirs and they are for Pakistan. They stand for their country in unity against its adversaries.

Question

Regarding the issue of Kashmir, Pakistan's diplomatic efforts at the international level have been greatly appreciated. Now, that Pakistan has achieved success in raising the awareness on Kashmir issue especially at UN, what prospects are there to enhance the narrative against India and bring perpetrators of Kashmiri bloodshed to justice? (Asghar Ali Mubarak - Daily Mail Islamabad)

Answer

Indian brutalities in the wake of Burhan Wani's cold blooded murder have already warranted strong response from the international community. There have been voices from all across the world, and all strata of society urging India for an immediate halt to the gross human rights violations it is committing on the people of IoK with impunity. Gradually, all this pressure is mounting on India. This is exactly why we see India's desperate attempts to divert world attention from IoK by leveling baseless and false allegations against Pakistan. It is not about Pakistan's diplomatic success, victory or anything. It is about the plight of helpless Kashmiri people.

I want to draw you attention to some very substantive outcome of Pakistan's diplomatic efforts to raise the issue of Kashmir. Beside the OIC CFM's Resolution on Kashmir and PUIC's Ankara Declaration recently, the UN Human Rights Commissioner has issued three separate statements, two of which urging India to allow fact finding mission to IoK and one on the release of human rights activist, Parvez Khurram. Prime Minister's Special Envoys on Kashmir have been to a number of countries, where they were received at high political level. As I have mentioned before, they are the elected representatives. Their outreach and significance is bound to be more effective than government functionaries.

In UK, for example, many human rights organizations are voicing concerns over atrocities in IoK and urging an early resolution of the Kashmir dispute. These organizations have held many seminars, conferences and peaceful protests. One such organization, named Jammu & Kashmir Self-Determination Movement Europe (JKSDME), has held many activities and has further planned a series of events from October 20 to November 02 2016 to raise their voices against Indian atrocities in IoK. The organizers are members of the Parliament, civil society, think tanks and Pakistani & Kashmiri Diaspora. The same is happening in North America and Nordic states. These activities have brought tremendous pressure on India and the International Community and that is why India is under so much pressure right now.

Question

It is being repeatedly said by the US State Department that Pakistan and India should resolve their disputes bilaterally. Simultaneously, they are also demanding from Pakistan to do more on terrorism. Your comments. (Khawaja Nayaar Iqbal - Kashmir Post)

Answer

I think, I have responded to similar question a number of times. I just want to reiterate briefly that Pakistan's sacrifices in the war against terrorism are well acknowledged. There has been acknowledgement by world leaders and countries at various levels of political hierarchy. I will draw your attention towards Chinese President's recent statement at BRICS in this regard. He said that Pakistan had laid huge sacrifices and suffered heavy losses in fight against terrorism and that needs to be recognized. I will also refer you to the statements made by the political leadership of the US, in which they have admitted and acknowledged Pakistan's contributions on terrorism time and again. As far as we are concerned, we are firm and determined to eradicate the scourge of terrorism from Pakistani soil. Our efforts are paying dividends in the context of regional peace, which also has direct bearing on the economic prosperity of this region.

Question

According to media reports, Pakistan is exploring to create a greater South Asian economic alliance to counter India's controlling hold on the eight-member South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. Do you confirm these media reports? (Samar Abbas - Dawn News)

Answer

We deplore the Indian decision to use SAARC for its political ambitions. The Indian action was contrary to the purposes and principles of the SAARC Charter. In the past, SAARC Summits have been postponed 8 times, 5 times India was responsible. Squandering the efforts of a 30 years old socio-economic grouping by India is reflective of the Indian attitude and contribution to the poverty and instability in this poverty stricken region.

As to your other part of the question, I would say that Pakistan's geo-strategically advantageous location at the confluence of South Asia, Central Asia and West Asia, makes our country a natural economic hub and an energy corridor for the three regions. Exploiting the economic potential of Pakistan as a facilitator for regional connectivity is high on the present Government's agenda. CPEC and gas pipeline and energy agreements with the Central Asian States are a practical manifestation of Pakistan's policy of playing a role as a facilitator towards regional integration.

Question

Indian media has openly admitted that India is using its influence to isolate Pakistan as Times of India article on last Tuesday mentioned. How does this relate to India's claims of peaceful neighborhood and being the largest democracy of the world? (Tariq Mahmood - SAMAA TV)

Answer

Firstly, Indian attempts to isolate Pakistan have miserably failed. Given Pakistan's geo-strategically important situation in the region of international interest, the very notion of isolating Pakistan is ridiculous. Indian obsession to malign Pakistan has not been appreciated by the mature countries. Besides, Indian negative policies towards Pakistan and regional integration efforts under various regional groupings have exposed India as the biggest hurdle in the development of the region, which is a hub of world's largest poor population. Indian activities should be seen as its desperation to deflect international attention from its crimes against humanity in IOK. The Indian denial to resolve all outstanding issues including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute are clearly at tangent with its claims for a peaceful neighborhood.

Question

In a recent surprising development, Afghan Taliban has joined hands with leadership in Iran, and has even appointed its Representative Maulvi Nek Muhammad to the Islamic Republic. What does this new development tell us about the changing strategic and political alliances of the region?

Secondly, there have been reports that Afghan Government is engaged in talks with Taliban through the Qatar office. Is Pakistan a part of it and what is our stance on the issue? (Essa Naqvi - Dunya News))

Supplementary Question

US State Department Spokesperson said in a statement that US has no role in the recent talks between Afghan Taliban and Afghan Government. If US has no role in it then can we suppose that there is also no role of QCG in it or it is their internal effort through Hikmat Yar? (Anwar Abbas - Waqat News)

Answer

I would not like to comment on Taliban's contacts with Iran or any other country. However, it has been our consistent position that politically negotiated settlement is vital for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan. Pakistan believes that all efforts should be made towards a sustainable peace settlement through an Afghan owned and Afghan led peace process. In our view, QCG is an appropriate forum in which Pakistan is ready to play its role. We will continue with our efforts in facilitating the peace process towards a lasting settlement in collaboration with the Afghan Government.

As to your second question, we have seen media reports. Reportedly, there are both denials and confirmations as well. Negotiation for reconciliation between the warring factions is an intra-Afghan matter. Pakistan's position has been consistent. We fully support an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process. To that end, Pakistan remains ready and has always been supportive of politically negotiated settlement in Afghanistan. The peace deal between Afghan Government and Hizb-e-Islami, which we welcomed, can also serve as a model for talks with Taliban. Our end goal is to see lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan, which we firmly believe is in the interest of the entire region, particularly, Pakistan.

Question

Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that Pakistan should close down what he termed a factory of terrorism. He also said that India had nothing against the people of Pakistan but it was the state that had adopted terrorism as its policy. What is Pakistan's response on Indian Home Minister's allegations? (Amjad Ali - PTV News) Answer I have seen the media reports. The remarks of the Indian Home Minister do not reflect the reality since the Indian intelligence agencies are involved in subversive and terrorist activities in Pakistan. The people of Pakistan are the victims of Indian state sponsored terrorism. Confession of apprehended RAW operative Kulbushan Yadev, a serving Indian naval officer, is an irrefutable proof. Terror financing by India in Pakistan from Afghan soil has also been publicly mentioned by a former Minister of the United States of America. Prime Minister Modi's statements on Balochistan and East Pakistan are testimony of Indian involvement in perpetrating terrorism and subversion in Pakistan. Question India and Russia have signed agreements of 18 billion dollars; it seems that India is trying hard to get support from Pakistan's neighbours. Your comments please.

Secondly, Australia and Malaysia have conducted naval exercise in South China Sea recently. It is being considered to encircle China in the Strait of Malacca. How does Pakistan see this? (Shahid Maitla - ARY News)

Answer

As to your first question, we have mentioned in the past as well that we do not comment on the relations between the two sovereign nations. If you are referring to the notion of isolation, I have already responded in this regard that Pakistan is not a country that could be isolated given its important geo-strategic location in the region.

With regard to your second question, Pakistan has a principled stance on the issue of South China Sea. Pakistan maintains that disputes over the South China Sea should be peacefully resolved, through consultations and negotiations by states directly concerned, in accordance with bilateral agreements and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC). We believe that maintenance of peace and security is the collective responsibility of all parties to the South China Sea. Countries outside the region should fully respect efforts made by China and the ASEAN countries to safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea, avoid interference in such bilateral issues, and play a constructive role to this end.

Question

Can you explain on any open or backdoor diplomacy Pakistan is carrying out in Afghanistan?

Secondly, what is the status of QCG, is it still active or dead? (Rabia Akram - Radio Mashal)

Answer

I will respond to your second question first, Pakistan has maintained a principled stance on establishment of lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan, which is an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process. QCG is an effort on part of Pakistan to facilitate in this peace process. All countries involved in the peace process have given their undertaking to contribute positively in achieving this end goal for Afghanistan. After all, the aim of QCG is to bring warring factions within Afghanistan to the negotiating table and initiate inter-Afghan dialogue. Pakistan remains committed to the efforts, aimed at bringing peace and tranquility in Afghanistan, which is essential for the regional peace and prosperity.

As to your first question, I don't know where from this concept of open or backdoor diplomacy has evolved in the context of relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan. We have open and well established mechanisms for cooperation in diverse fields, more so, in the economic domain. Pakistan shares the longest border with Afghanistan. The amount of people that straddle across this border is enormous, somewhere around 50,000 to 100,000 per day. The relationship is not just at the political level but also, more importantly, at the people to people level.

Question

US has appreciated Pakistan's role to fight terrorism but has at the same time asked us to do more. Your comments. (Rabia Pir - VOA)

Answer

A similar question asked earlier, and I have already responded in detail.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs Government of Pakistan