Chaudhry Ahsan Premee
Associated Press Service
January 19-01-2017, Islamabad.
Foreign Office spokesman said in opening remarks during the weekly press briefing, the Prime Minister is currently visiting Davos to participate in the World Economic Forum, where he held bilateral meetings with various leaders on the sidelines during which he highlighted human rights violations of defenceless Kashmiris in Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK) at the hands of Indian occupation forces.
A 3-hours debate will be held, today, by All Parties Parliamentary Group on Kashmir, in the House of Commons, UK, where Kashmir issue and human rights violations in IOK will be discussed.
Foreign Office spokesman added that since we met last, many Kashmiris have been killed in fake encounters, house raids and custodial killings by the Indian forces. We condemn continuous killing of Kashmiris in IOK. Hindu terrorist organizations, such as RSS, its affiliates and the armed Village Defence Committees are committing ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Muslims in the Jammu region. Reportedly, since 2014, when the BJP government took over, the Hindu terrorists have been empowered with full support from the state machinery, more so in the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir, causing displacement of scores of Kashmiri Muslim families, by design.
Foreign Office spokesman added that the move to turn the Muslim majority Jammu district into a Muslim minority district has been going on since 1947. Genocide, state terrorism, settlement of non-Kashmiris and other tools are being employed to bring about demographic change. We condemn atrocities perpetrated by Indian occupation forces and the Hindu terrorist elements in IOK. Pakistan is constantly sensitizing the world community on the grave violation of human rights of hapless Kashmiris in IOK. 5-6 Jan. International Parliamentarians’ Seminar and numerous other such activities are a manifestation of Pakistani Govt. and nation’s commitment to our Kashmiri brethren.
Foreign Office spokesman added that this year’s participation of Pakistan at WEF is significant in many ways. The world’s political and business leaders have, warmly welcomed democratically strengthening, and economically rising Pakistan. Pakistan’s progress has been noted, lauded and evinced interest of countries, businessmen and investors.We were proud to see Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy co-chairing the WEF.
The Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that we reject Afghan Govt’s baseless allegations. The accusatory approach is unhelpful towards efforts for peace. Pakistan has suffered from the menace of terrorism and has made unparalleled sacrifices. We have done more than any other nation in the world in the fight against terrorism. Pakistan has highest stakes in the peace and stability in Afghanistan. No country gets affected more than Pakistan due to instability in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s commitment to peace and stability in Afghanistan is, therefore, beyond any doubt.
It is disappointing that some elements, which have no interest in peace in Afghanistan and want to damage Afghan-Pakistan relations, have been maligning Pakistan for their own agenda.
Pakistan, as the most sincere friend and well-wisher of Afghan people, has contributed to the Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process, whenever requested.
Foreign Office spokesman added that Increasing foothold of various terrorist organizations and outfits due to persistent instability in Afghanistan is a growing concern for not just Pakistan but other countries in the region and beyond. A number of independent studies and assessments have established that the factors impeding reconciliation and stability in Afghanistan are internal to Afghanistan. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), General Nicholson’s annual assessment report and various other UN reports have amply identified that risks and obstacles in the way to peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan remain internal.
Foreign Office spokesman added that on its part, Pakistan remains committed to a meaningful engagement with Afghanistan to address the common challenge of terrorism. We are willing to extend all possible cooperation to Afghanistan, particularly for sharing our achievements and experience in the field of counter-terrorism and border management.
The Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that I have seen that media report. He identified myths and misperception and was aiming to allay the misperception, then created.
The Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that with reference to the question regarding Indian Prime Minister’s statement, no nation has done more than Pakistan to defeat the menace of terrorism. Our successes in counter terrorism are well-demonstrated and have been widely acknowledged. The salutary effect on our economy is also visible.
Unfortunately, Pakistan is also a victim of terrorism, especially Indian state sponsored terrorism. The confession statement of a serving Indian Naval Officer, Kulbhushan Yadev has proved that Indian state agencies are continuously involved in subversive and terrorist activities in Pakistan.
The Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that Pakistan has repeatedly called on the Indian Government to pursue the path of dialogue and engagement, rather than confrontation, violence and terrorism. India has always shirked from dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues, including the Jammu & Kashmir dispute.
He added that Pakistan believes that the just resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute is essential for normalization of relations between the two countries and the peace and development in the region.
As regards your question about the statement of Indian Minister of State, regarding terming RSS as a terrorist organization, I think you need to see this statement in the backdrop of public confession by the RSS activist, Swami Aseemanand, regarding involvement in Samjhauta Express terrorist attack of Feb. 2007, in which mostly Pakistanis were killed. He was the mastermind. He had also identified other terrorists involved belonging to Abhinav Bharat, headed by then a serving Indian Army Colonel, Parohit. RSS was instrumental in the genocide of more than 500,000 Kashmiri Muslims during Nov 1947. Pakistani FM’s letter to the Chair UNCIP also reflected on RSS gruesome activities. The rising incidents of intolerance against minorities especially Muslims, Dalits and Christians in India are a testimony.
Then you talked about Kulbhushan Yadev, we have submitted the dossier very recently. This dossier is based on the confessions and revelation made by Kulbhusan Yadav. What we had submitted earlier was the evidence and information that reflected on Indian involvement in terrorism, which had gathered. In 2009 at Sharm-al-Sheikh, we had taken up the issue, at the political leadership level, of Indian involvement in terrorism in Pakistan. Indian involvement in Pakistan’s internal matters is a longstanding problem that Pakistan has been raising with the international community for a quite some time. In 2013, we also saw a statement of the then US Defence Secretary, Chuck Hagel, who revealed how India financed instability in Pakistan from Afghanistan. Let me also take you back to the statement of Mr. Ajit Doval, in which he said that India will use Taliban against Pakistan. Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parriker also stated that they would use terrorists against Pakistan. You have also seen the Indian statements on Balochistan at the highest political level. All these statements, ample of irrefutable evidence and undeniable proof of Indian involvement in perpetrating terrorism and terror financing in Pakistan are fact of the matter. I think our press release in this regard was quite comprehensive, which you may refer.
The Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that I think there are many reports on this and there are also many calls by human rights associations. I may also remind you about the demand of the UN Human Rights Commissioner, who had asked at the formal session of Human Rights Council for an independent investigation into the human rights violations in IoK. You may also recall that Amnesty International, a few months back, had issued a statement and raised concerns. Indian authorities had sealed their offices.
IoK is the most militarized zone in the world with one Indian soldier for every 12 Kashmiris. Over several decades Indian occupation forces have massacred over 1.5 million Kashmiris. During the current phase of uprising since 8 July, 2016 they have once again unleashed the reign of terror targeting innocent civilians including children. Pellet guns have been used to deliberately target the eyes of peaceful protestors resulting in permanent blindness of around 1,000 people, including young girls and children.
The report only acknowledges the situation on-ground as has been consistently highlighted by Pakistan. However, there is a need to go beyond this to action on ground to stop the bloodshed and the continuing Indian atrocities against the innocent people of IoK.
The Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that as to your question regarding India declaring Kashmir as their integral part, Kashmir is a disputed territory and it is an internationally recognized dispute. So, any claim to that effect by India is a violation of UNSC resolutions, which call for plebiscite and realizing Kashmiris rights to self-determination.
I have seen the statement of Chinese Spokesperson and some time back we have also spoken on the issue. CPEC basically is an economic development project which will be beneficial for the entire region and not just for Pakistan and China.
As to your second question, I am aware of the statement you are referring to on which I would not comment.
The Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that yes we do. In our statements also, we have been raising this issue as a matter of great concern about how RSS carries out gross violations of basic human rights especially in IoK, and had been perpetrating terrorist activities in IoK and elsewhere. I think the reports, which we see coming from IoK amply reflect on what RSS and its affiliates are doing there, which are basically crime against humanity. We have taken up the issue and will continue to take up this matter with the world leaders and the UN.
The Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that as to your second question, OIC is currently holding an Extraordinary Session on Rohingya Muslims. We have issued a comprehensive press release in this regard.
On your question of forced conversion, this is not the first time that the issue has surfaced. We have seen many times in the past how Hindu extremist and terrorist organizations have been engaged in converting minorities to Hinduism (under the program ‘Ghar Wapsi’). In those instances, it was not just Pakistan but many other countries had raised their concern. This issue continues to be a matter of concern for the International community, which should take notice.
The Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that Pakistan has consistently maintained that both India and Pakistan should agree on meaningful measures for restraint and avoidance of nuclear or conventional arms race in the region. India’s expansion of its conventional and nuclear capabilities goes against the objective of strategic stability in South Asia. International reports about new nuclear facilities being built in India only confirm the concerns expressed by Pakistan in 2008 that without appropriate non-proliferation safeguards the NSG exemption would lead to expansion in the Indian capacity to produce fissile material for military use.
The Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that any assessment pinning blame on Pakistan for nuclearizing South Asia is obviously neither fair nor accurate. As you are well aware, it was India, which introduced the nuclear factor in South Asia. Obviously, Pakistan had no option but to follow suit to avoid nuclear blackmail.
We believe that the reality on ground is quite different. Last year, India conducted 120 tests of various missile systems including SLBM, ICBM etc. India is rapidly enhancing its conventional and nuclear arsenals quantitatively and qualitatively. On the other hand, Pakistan is committed to avoidance of arms race in South Asia and had demonstrated utmost restraint while taking necessary steps for the maintenance of credible minimum deterrence. Those worried about the risk of nuclear weapons in South Asia should impress upon India to positively respond to Pakistan’s proposal of Strategic Restraint Regime (SRR).
The Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that according to the US State Department, no Heads of State / Government or Foreign Ministers have been officially invited to participate in the Presidential inauguration on 20th January, 2017.
The Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that Pakistan and the U.S. are long standing friends and partners and we do engage extensively and on regular basis with each other to share our positions on issues of mutual interest and concern. As for the incoming U.S. administration, we look forward to closely working with it in pursuit of our common ideals of freedom, democracy and prosperity. We also firmly believe that given the imperatives of peace, stability and security in the region, continued close cooperation between Pakistan and the US is important to successfully fight terrorism and to attain the shared objectives of regional peace, security and prosperity.
The Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that as I have already mentioned, a number of activities have been eared marked for the year 2017. ECO Summit is one of our priority areas. If I recall correctly, the last Summit was held in 2012. Now, it is Pakistan’s turn. We will share details with you, when available.
The Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that the part of your question that relates to the dispute of Jammu & Kashmir, there are outstanding UNSC resolutions, which need to be implemented. Pakistan’s principle position on this issue is very clear. We want an early implementation of the UNSC resolution, which is also the demand of Kashmiris. Our endeavour is for implementation of these resolutions at the earliest, so that the aspirations of Kashmiri can be realized.
The Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that your question regarding the Afghan CEO Abdullah Abdullah, mutually convenient dates are being worked out and shall be shared with you all once decided.
About the negative statement coming from the leadership of Afghanistan, I have already given an elaborate response in this regard, which you can refer to when the transcript is out.
As to your question on SAARC and Mr. Jai Shankar’s statement, you yourself rightly pointed out how India has scuttled last year’s SAARC Summit. Looking at statistics, one sees that SAARC Summit had been postponed eight times in the past. It was India on more than four occasions, which caused postponement of the Summit. So, you can well imagine who is the real hurdle in the progress and promotion of objective of SAARC. SAARC is a regional organization, and its main focus is on socio-economic development, which means prosperity and welfare of the people of South Asia. Let me also underline that this region has the highest concentration of world’s poor, almost one billion population that lives in abject poverty. Therefore, all efforts to impede the work of SAARC does not serve the interests of the people of this region. India has exposed itself in derailing the progress and development prospects under the SAARC process.
Postponement does not mean cancellation. It only means that the Summit will be held at a later date whenever it is mutually agreed by the member countries.