Record of the Press Briefing by Spokesperson on 28 October 2016

Opening Remarks

Bismillah IrRehman NirRahim Assalaam Alaikum

Yesterday, on 27 October, Kashmir Black Day was observed nationwide in Pakistan and also across the globe. This was the day when Indian forces unlawfully, forcefully and in blatant violation of International Law occupied Kashmiris' land, which started the darkest period in Jammu & Kashmir's history. The state terrorism that India unleashed on unarmed defenceless Kashmiris, ever since, has caused more than a million Kashmiris' lives at hands of Indian occupation forces. There are trails of numerous massacres, extra-judicial killings, killings in staged encounters, organized dishonouring of Kashmiri women including girls as young as 3-year old, and arbitrary arrests of tens of thousands with their fate unknown for decades committed by the Indian forces the strength of which now stands at 1 million. Literary activities such as Conferences, Seminars and peaceful expression of solidarity were held by our missions and Kashmiri & Pakistani Diaspora. Member Parliaments of various countries in their respective areas and members of civil society joined those activities in an expression of solidarity with the Kashmiris in Indian occupied Kashmir.

At the events organized to mark the occasion Indian atrocities were highlighted and international community's intervention was urged to stop bloodshed of Kashmiris by India. Young Parliamentarians Forum (YPF) of the National Assembly of Pakistan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a Think Tank Centre for Strategic & Contemporary Research (CSCR) also organized an event at Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services (PIPS). The food crisis and deliberate act of Indians to create shortage of basic amenities, continued detention of Hurriyat Leaders Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq in precarious and torturous conditions, inhuman and sub-standard condition in which Mr. Yasin Malik has been kept without proper medical treatment are issues of immense concern. We invite International Community's attention and action against India's mentioned despicable acts.

The Foreign Secretary summoned the Indian High Commissioner Mr. Gautam Bambawale on 27 October 2016 and conveyed the decision of the Government of Pakistan to declare Mr. Surjeet Singh, an official of the Indian High Commission, as persona non grata. The Foreign Secretary expressed deep concern over the activities of the Indian official that were in violation of the Vienna Convention and the established diplomatic norms. The Indian High Commission has been asked to make urgent necessary arrangements for Surjeet Singh and his family to leave Pakistan by 29 October 2016. The Foreign Secretary hoped that other members of the High Commission would not indulge in the activities detrimental to Pakistan's national security.

Now the Floor is open for Questions

Question

According to media reports, new ground breaking research carried out by nuclear experts has disclosed that India can produce a maximum of 356-492 nuclear weapons, proving that the actual Indian nuclear bomb making capacity is far greater than most current western assessments. How do you see these comments in the light of India's application for NSG membership? (Fakhar-ur-Rehman - Turkish News Agency/Such TV)

Answer

Pakistan has long maintained that India's rapidly expanding military nuclear programme poses a grave threat to peace and stability in the region and beyond. These concerns have been fully validated by publicly available reports on significant upcoming fissile material facilities and build up of unsafeguarded weapon usable fissile material in India. This buildup has been facilitated by the 2008 NSG waiver granted to India, which not only dented the credibility of the non-proliferation regime and undermined its efficacy, but also negatively affected the strategic balance in South Asia. It was unfortunate that the NSG did not require India to make any worthwhile non-proliferation commitments at the time.

Another country-specific exemption by the NSG on the membership question would only further exacerbate the ill effects of the 2008 exemption. It remains our hope that the NSG member states would make a well-considered decision this time keeping in view its long-term implications for the global non-proliferation regime as well as strategic stability in our region.

Question

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said that India might be pushed to a war with Pakistan if the latter continues its support to terrorism. Considering his influence in BJP, how does this statement reflect on Indian aggressive designs against Pakistan? Moreover, how do you analyze upcoming state election in India, and whether BJP is using against Pakistan as a state tool to augment its party position? (Tariq Mahmood - SAMAA TV)

Answer

In the past too, Indian politicians have cast aspersions on Pakistan and have used this as a tool in domestic politics of India. We see the current political debate about Pakistan in India, in the same backdrop as also its desperation to deflect the world attention from its atrocities in IOK. The timing and pattern of heating up LOC and WB by India are suggestive. Pakistan condemns such crass attempts to malign it.

Question

Is it just a coincidence that when Pakistan was going to share dossiers with UN and P5 countries about Indian involvement in Pakistan especially Balochistan, including the confessional statement of serving RAW officer Kulbushan Yadav, allegation are leveled against a Pakistani official in High Commission in New Delhi and he was declared PNG? (Essa Naqvi - Dunya News)

Answer

I think there are certain facts, which you need to be mindful of. First, the Indian involvement in terrorism inside Pakistan is well proven beyond doubt; we have irrefutable evidence of that. We have also shared with you many times that the investigations after the arrest of Kulbushan Yadav is ongoing and the dossier is being compiled. As soon as the time is propitious, we will submit the dossier to the concerned, particularly the UN Secretary General. We have also mentioned in our press release as to how we look at Indian allegations of espionage, which they leveled against our official. It is on record that our official was mistreated against the diplomatic norms. He was kept under detention in contravention of the Vienna Convention. We have protested against this with the Indian side.

India has been seen taking a number of desperate steps primarily to deflect the attention of the international community from its atrocities in IoK. We need to see India's actions in this backdrop. India has had a track record of creating situation on its own soil to deflect attention and to achieve certain objectives. India is trying to portray that the uprising in IoK is not an indigenous movement of self-determination but an act of terrorism, which of course the world has already rejected.

Question

There are reports that diplomatic community has expressed concerns regarding the security situation arising due to the expected lock-down of the capital by PTI. Did they express these concerns to Foreign Office also? (Sammar Abbas - Dawn News)

Answer

I am not aware that such a request has been received but just to inform you, the diplomatic community in Islamabad is quite comfortable with the arrangements in place. We have provided all protection within the means and resources available by the Government of Pakistan.

Question

After the Quetta attack, has Pakistan raised this issue with the Afghan Government that the attackers were in contact with their handlers in Afghanistan? (Muhammad Ishtiaq ? VOA)

Answer

You have seen the statement of our concerned security commander on ground there, indicating that according to their monitoring mechanism, the directions for the attack came from Afghanistan.

In such cases, we take up the matter with concerned country's authorities. We have mechanisms and communication channels in place and they are used to interact with that country. The matter is being investigated, and further necessary action shall be taken accordingly.

Question

According to Indian Express, US top commander in Afghanistan John Nicholson said that Haqqani network has a free run in Pakistan. How do you see the statement of US commander, when Pakistan is the biggest victim of terrorism and fighting against terrorism without any discrimination?

Secondly, we have accepted the invitation to attend the upcoming Heart of Asia conference scheduled to be held in India later this year, in an act of desperation, despite the fact that India boycotted SAARC and derailed prospects of regional cooperation. (Shaukat Paracha - Aaj TV)

Answer

As to your first question, we do not agree with this contention. We have repeatedly stressed in our meetings with the US and the Afghan Government as well as on the media that Pakistan has taken and will continue to take decisive action against all terrorists and militant groups. We are fully committed o the principle that our soil would not be allowed to be used against other countries. Our National Action Plan is being successfully implemented. It is important to emphasize here that we are being threatened by the foreign sponsored terrorism like the recent terrorist incident in Quetta against police cadets.

Let me refer to some media reports in June and August this year reporting killing of a senior leader and four senior Commanders of Haqqani Network in Afghanistan by the US forces, which clearly indicate where the Haqqanis are.

To your second question, the Heart of Asia Conference is aimed at bringing development in Afghanistan with the collaboration of other regional countries. It is line with Pakistan's commitment of supporting all efforts towards peace and stability in Afghanistan that we will be attending the conference. Pakistan has always supported efforts to ensure peace and prosperity in the region and will continue to do so. We will play our role and will not let this regional forum fall prey to the myopic political agenda of any country. However, the decision on the level and manner of participation in the Heart of Asia Conference is yet to be taken.

Question

Indian Deputy Head of Mission was called to the Foreign Office on 25 October 2016 to be handed over a demarche on India's continued violations of the LoC for the past two weeks. How does Pakistan see this continued Indian aggression and upping of the ante with regard to a possible military conflict with Pakistan? (Amjad Ali - PTV News)

Answer

Pakistan strongly condemns the continued unprovoked ceasefire violations from the Indian side on the LoC and the Working Boundary, resulting in the loss of innocent lives and injuries. We have called upon the Indian government to respect the 2003 Ceasefire Understanding in letter and spirit and refrain from targeting civilians and their properties. The ceasefire violations from the Indian side is an effort to divert international attention from grave human rights violations and genocide in the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir being committed by the Indian occupation forces. The Indian Government must stop bloodshed of innocent Kashmiris, must stop torturing Hurriyat Leaders, must not create food crisis and deny other basic amenities to the Kashmiris, which it is doing to break their peaceful movement for their right to self-determination. India must respect the UN Charter, fulfill its obligations under International human rights and humanitarian laws and implement UN Security Council resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir as well.

Question

My question relates to Prime Minister Special Envoys on Kashmir who visited various countries of the world to raise the issue of Kashmir. I want to know what was the outcome of these visits, especially when our Missions abroad are already working to this effect. (Khawaja Nayaar Iqbal - Kashmir Post)

Answer

I have replied to this earlier also. These Envoys are elected representatives and being PM's Special Envoy their visits are of greater significance. They reach out to their counterparts in other countries, who are also elected representatives, mandated and elected by the people of those countries. Therefore, the Special Envoys are significant and different in their outreach to the people of the respective countries.

There is no doubt that our Missions are effectively fulfilling their responsibility of frequently interacting with think tanks and civil society members besides the respective Host Government authorities to sensitize them about gross human rights violations and atrocities committed by Indian occupation forces in IoK. In connection with Kashmir Black Day on 27 October, they organized many literary activities to raise awareness on the plight of Kashmiris in IOK.

With regard to quantified outcome of Special Envoys' visits, once they are back and have compiled their views, we will determine the next steps for further the issue of human rights violations in Indian occupied Kashmir. Their aim was to ensure that a) atrocities/bloodshed in IoK must be brought to complete halt by bringing pressure on the Indian government by the international community and b) address the issue on a permanent solution to the Kashmir dispute in accordance with relevant UN Security Council Resolution and wishes of the Kashmir people. I believe the visit of the Special Envoys were very productive.

Question

Please share more details on the activities of recently expelled Mr. Surjeet Singh and what role was he playing in the Indian High Commission here? (Khalid Mahmood - Express)

Answer

He was involved in activities that were directly against the national security interests of Pakistan. You are already aware of India's state sponsored terrorism and terror financing activities in Pakistan. Unlike India, which has no proof but it keeps leveling baseless accusations against Pakistan, we have irrefutable proof of Indian state involvement in activities against Pakistan's territorial integrity and national security.

Question

We have heard media reports that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is not attending SCO conference on 02 November 2016 due to change in domestic political scenario at that time. Who else will represent Pakistan? (Tariq Siyal - Daily Times)

Answer

As soon as I have the information related to SCO, I will share it with you.

Question

After the recent talks by the Afghan Taliban's delegation here in Islamabad and in Qatar, do we expect any possible resumption of the peace process in near future? (Ali Hussian - Business Recorder)

Answer

As far as prospects of peace are concerned, there are initiatives in this regard, for example, the Heart of Asia Conference. We support initiatives that are aimed at bringing peace and stability in Afghanistan. Pakistan remains committed to peace and stability in Afghanistan. We remain committed to the QCG process. We sincerely hope that sooner or later, the facilitator of the peace negotiations between the warring factions of Afghanistan would be able to bring all the factions to the negotiation. Pakistan will play its role in efforts for peace in Afghanistan.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs Government of Pakistan