Chaudhry Ahsan Premee
Associated Press Service
Islamabad:May 25, 2017. Nafees Zakaria Foreign Office spokesman said in opening remarks during the weekly press briefing that awarding Major Leetul Gogoi, who brazenly used a Kashmiri youth as a human shield, is condemnable. It is a crime and an insult to humanity. Amnesty International called awarding a move to condone human rights abuses in IOK.
He added that this is not first time that the Indian occupation forces have displayed such cowardice and inhumanity. In Indian occupied Kashmir, the Indian occupation forces are involved in acts of grave violence against civilians, rapes, extra-judicial murders, arson attacks, kidnappings, violence against Kashmiri children and desecration of mosques and other sacred places. International Community, particularly, the UN should take cognizance to act.
He added that the Indian army is criminal in its behaviour against civilians. Indian occupation forces in IOK have been targeting Kashmiri civilians across LOC in AJK. Many hundreds have been killed. Since 2014, unprovoked ceasefire violations have increased significantly, taking toll on hundreds of innocent Kashmiris lives in AJK and their properties. Yesterday, even when UNMOGIP Team was on visit to LOC, Indian occupation forces committed ceasefire violation from IOK.
He added that last week, Indian occupation forces killed Kashmiris during violent military operations in Pulwama and Kupwara districts, which we strongly condemn. 130 defenseless people, mostly students, were injured by using brute force, pellets and teargas shelling during peaceful protest against Indian illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir. Scores were arrested, including mostly students and cricket players, in Srinagar, Pulwama, Shopian , Budgam and Sopore areas.
He added that there is heavy deployment of Indian forces at and around the historic Jama Masjid in Srinagar every Friday, to create an atmosphere of fear and harassment in wake of the upcoming holy month of Ramadan as thousands of people from other districts and far off places travel to Srinagar to offer prayers in the Grand Masjid. The International Community should take note of this violation of right to religious obligations.
He added that Kashmiri leaders continue to remain under arrest or detention and, reportedly, being treated inhumanly. Norwegian Parliament debated the Kashmir dispute on the adjournment motion tabled by Knut Arild Hareide, leader of the Christian Democratic Party, who lamented the gross human rights violations by Indian occupation forces in occupied Kashmir.
He added that Indian National Conference leader, Agha Roohullah, addressing a function in Srinagar revealed that India is creating ISIS in IOK. The objective is to malign the indigenous movement of Kashmiris in IOK for their right to self-determination.
Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that the border authorities of both the countries are engaged through flag meetings for sorting out related security issues, after which the issue of opening of gate will be considered.
As to your question regarding two children and a young man, we are in touch with the Indian government and our High Commission is also constantly pursuing the matter. We are making all efforts to get them here.
Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that we have requested Ministry of Interior, which is the line ministry for details. Indian High Commission has not requested for the consular access.
As to your second question, the UNMOGIP is mandated under UNSC Resolutions to report whatever happens there. They were taken there to see ceasefire violations and in the meanwhile there was firing. I understand that UNMOGIP prepares report on ceasefire violations and the situation they observe at the LoC after their visit each time and submits to its headquarters.
Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that I am aware that there was a joint survey and that it has been completed. However, I don’t have details of the outcome of the survey.
Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that responding to Mr. Tariq Mahmood’s question first, Indian state terrorism and the continuing gross human rights violations of innocent Kashmiris by Indian occupation forces in Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir is a reality. India needs to realize that it cannot wish away the Jammu & Kashmir dispute or suppress the struggle of the Kashmiris for the right to self determination in line with the relevant UNSC resolutions by brute force.
Commander Jadhav’s confessional statements confirm involvement of Indian State institutions in espionage, terrorism, terror financing and subversive activities in Pakistan. India is making desperate efforts to divert world attention from the atrocities its occupation forces are perpetrating in IOK, which has made headlines on the front pages of the international media.
On the supplementary question, I would like to draw your attention to what we have said in the past a number of times. The cross border terrorism that India uses as an excuse to malign the indigenous movement of Kashmiris in IoK for their right to self-determination. In this process, they have committed gross human right violations in Indian occupied Kashmir, which has attracted the attention of the international community, and has made headlines in the global media. To divert the international attention from its atrocities in IoK, India also keeps the situation on LoC hot, to heighten tension.
It is not just various countries, but a number of statements, including by the UN, have also been issued in which concerns have been raised on the heated sitation at LoC.
What is required is that the international community must focus on resolving the Kashmir dispute amically and in accordance with the relevant UNSC Resolutions and the aspirations of the Kashmiri people. Kashmir remains on the UNSC agenda for the last 70 years. It is necessary to resolve this issue due to the perils that the International Community have expressed, and more so because the bloodshed of innocent and defenceless Kashmiris must come to an immediate halt.
Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that I will respond to Mr. Iqrar Haroon first. On the abducted Chinese nationals, I don’t have details, but we have sought information from the concerned authorities. On military coalition, we have repeatedly made our position very clear. I would like to refer to our Defence Minister’s numerous statements in this context. What we need to understand is that the Terms of Reference (TORs) of the alliance are yet to be finalized. The Defence Ministers of the participating countries will meet and discuss the modalities of the coalition. We must wait until we have all the information to comment on its outcome. We shouldn’t indulge into speculations.
Responding to Mr. Shahid Maitla’s first question, all security and counterterrorism related matters are discussed by the two sides in bilateral meetings under the existing cooperative arrangements and it is not appropriate to comment on these issues in the public domain.
The rest of the questions pertain to A) why Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was not allowed to make a statement at the Summit, and B) why Pakistan was not acknowledged for its contributions in the fight against terrorism.
As regards Prime Minister’s statement, as we have indicated earlier, this was due to serious shortage of time available on that evening. Nearly 30 plus Muslim Leaders were expected to deliver their remarks. However, due to severe paucity of time (as the Summit started behind schedule) only a few leaders, besides the Saudi King and the US President, could make their remarks on the occasion. The King personally apologized to the remaining Muslim Leaders, who could not get the opportunity to speak.
As for President Trump mentioning of countries as victims of terrorism, if one closely examine the speech, he named those countries which were not present at the Summit. These included Russia, China, South Africa, Europe and India. In the paragraph that followed, he mentioned the sacrifices and contributions of Muslim countries, Arab states and Middle Eastern countries en-masse, and highlighted how these nations suffered at the hands of terrorism. Someone here mentioned Afghanistan. It was mentioned in a different part of the speech from a different point of view.
I understand none of you sitting here has any doubts about Pakistan’s contribution to the fight against the global menace of terrorism and the sacrifices that we have rendered. We have lost count of the occasions on which the world leaders and countries have acknowledged our sacrifices and losses, both human lives and economic. Pakistan’s success in eliminating the terrorists has also been repeatedly praised, including by the US at various levels of their leadership. Let me add here that during the opportunity that the Summit afforded through interactions with a number of leaders, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made references to all the important points, including Pakistan’s sacrifices and losses in the fight against terrorism. We also subsequently issued a press release to that effect.
Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that regarding PIA, our Mission in the UK has taken up the matter with British authorities officially. We are awaiting their response.
Regarding Col. Habib, we are in touch with the Nepali Government and we have also approached Indian High Commissioner in this regard for assistance.
Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that China Pakistan Economic Corridor is an economic development project between Pakistan and China. It is a flagship project of China’s One Belt One Road initiative, which entails infrastructure development and regional connectivity. CPEC will benefit not just Pakistan and China but also the entire region, because of the economic potential it holds. As you are aware, more than two dozen countries have expressed their interest in benefiting from, or joining CPEC. It is purely in this context that CPEC project must been seen. I see no reasons for any country to make it controversial or a reason for dispute.
Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that regarding Mr. Fida Hussain’s first question on Pakistan’s mediatory role, we have said it a number of times that our principled position on our relations with the members of Islamic world very clearly. Based on the points made by the Prime Minister, our Press Release clearly states that we ‘reaffirm our commitment to unity among Islamic countries’. We will continue to play a constructive role to that end whenever the situation warrants. We remain committed to bridging differences within the Muslim Ummah, and bringing the countries closer.
On your second question, I would refer to Adviser Sartaj Aziz’s Press Briefing of 20 May, in which all questions regarding ICJ’s decision and Pakistan’s future course of action were discussed. We are preparing for the case ahead of us, and don’t have any specific details to share in this regard.
Now, I will respond to Mr. Naveed’s question. Regarding our future strategy, the relevant quarters are at work. Let me respond to the first part of your question, in which you mentioned that Pakistan lost the first part of its battle. This is the line Indian media is towing, and is incorrect and misplaced. Why should you take this as a loss? Even those who were associated with it have not called it a loss.
The ICJ Order is a provisional measure that stayed execution of Commander Jadhav pending the final verdict. The Court has only stayed the execution, without ruling on the merits of the jurisdiction and maintainability of the case. In similar cases of the death penalty, the court has normally stayed the eminent executions as the court favours the right to life. The Court had been led to understand that the execution was imminent. Commander Jadhav can still avail the venues for appeal and clemency, as explained by the Adviser’s statement of 14 April 2017.
The Order in no way prejudges the jurisdiction and merits of the case which are yet to be considered by the Court. Hence, Indian claims of a ‘victory’ in the case of Commander Jadhav are incorrect and misleading. We are preparing for the next hearing.
On Mr. Anwar Abbas’s question about the Declaration, well, I haven’t seen the official Declaration so won’t be able to comment on that.
Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that as everyone is well aware that instability in India is a reality owing to the fact that there are seventeen insurgencies going on in different parts of India, persecution of minorities, which are making headlines on the front pages of the global dailies, and grave human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir at the hands of Indian Occupation Forces, which has been condemned widely by the International community. The resultant instability across India has caught the attention of investors, among others.
As for Ms. Saima’s supplementary question, the International Community is becoming increasingly mindful of the perils facing the region and the world at large due to the Kashmir dispute. It is, therefore, important that UNSC Resolutions are implemented at the earliest. Former Prime Minister of Norway, Mr. Knut Arild Hareide, who recently visited AJK, raised the issue on the floor of the Norwegian Parliament. Demilitarization of IOK is essential to stop the bloodshed of defenceless Kashmiris struggling to exercise their right to self-determination and to enable the UN supervised plebiscite as enshrined in the UNSC Resolutions on Kashmir.
Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that we have seen the remarks of the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson. We support the Chinese position that the admission of non-NPT states into NSG should be dealt with in accordance with the principle of consensus and through an open and transparent intergovernmental process while following the two-step approach. We believe that any criteria governing the membership of non-NPT states must be applied equitably while taking into account the non-proliferation goals and the imperative of maintaining strategic stability in South Asia.