Chaudhry Ahsan Premee
Associated Press Service
April 27, 2017,Islamabad
Foreign Office spokesman said in opening remarks during the weekly press briefing, that we strongly condemn terrorist attack in Khurram Agency on Tuesday in which 14 innocent people, including mostly children and women were killed. We pray for victims and those injured and express heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families. Reportedly, Jamaatul Ahrar, claimed responsibility.
He added that India has waged a war against unarmed and defenseless Kashmiri people through state terrorism. Indian occupation forces forcibly barged into camps of schools and colleges in Pulwama on April 15. Ever since, students, including girls, from Primary to College levels all over Kashmir valley, have been demonstrating with pro-freedom and anti-India slogans. Over 150 students have been injured in the brutal use of force, pellets and teargas shells fired by Indian occupation forces.
He added that to hide grave human rights violations and crimes against humanity, Indian occupation forces have imposed a ban on Internet services in occupied Kashmir. Indian media have quoted Indian official in IOK that “no amount of brute and lethal force could deter these girls.”
He added that Hurriyat Leaders, Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Yasin Malik and Asiya Andrabi remain either under arbitrary arrest or illegal detention. According to media reports, Asia Andrabi whose house was raided yesterday by Indian occupational forces is in critical condition. Kashmiri Leader, Masarrat Alam Butt, is behind the bars since October 2010. He remained outside the jail for about forty days during 2015. Since 1990, the Indian occupation authorities have booked Masarrat Alam under the Lawless law, Public Safety Act, 34 times. We deplore inhuman treatment meted out to Kashmiri leaders.
He added that Indian Hindu terrorists of Jan Sangh cadre, who had declared war against Muslim community in Jammu region of the occupied Kashmir, are active in persecuting Kashmiri Muslims. Jan Sangh drew its strength from RSS. Founded in 1925, the RSS was organised on authoritarian and militaristic lines to glorify violence. It was developed basically as an anti-Muslim organisation.
He added that Pakistan deplores the ongoing bloodshed, persecution and worst human rights violation in IOK in the living memory. International Community, particularly the UN, should stop India.
Pakistan continues to receive dignitaries from across the world, including SAARC region.
Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that I am not here to draw analogy between the two cases. These are two different cases. Kulbhushan Yadav (Jhadev) was a serving commander of Indian Navy, working for Indian intelligence agency RAW and was caught red-handed. He made confessions, and was tried for espionage activities. His trial was conducted according to the law of the land in a transparent manner.
You made reference to granting consular access to Commander Kulbhushan Yadav. We have made it clear time and again that Pakistan and India have signed an agreement on consular access in 2008, and according to clause VI of that agreement, decision to grant consular access in cases where detentions and arrests relate to political or security matters, the request of consular access will be decided on merits of the case. This remains our consistent position. Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, in his press briefing on 14 April 2017, clearly stated the points related to the case of Kulbhushan Yadav.
As regards Ehsanullah Ehsan, he has surrendered voluntarily to Pakistani authorities concerned. I recall another question about 13 RAW agents, who were killed when mother-of-all-bombs was dropped on Afghanistan, was raised by (yes) Mr. Shaukat Paracha, earlier and I promised to respond during this briefing. It is relevant in the context of other questions asked regarding Ehsanullah Ehsan. You have talked about his confession, but these were actually revelations, which he made voluntarily. Although whatever he said is now in public domain, I will share some of the details which Ehsanullah submitted voluntarily. He remained associated with TTP as a Spokesperson and later with Jamaatul Ahrar until his surrender. He has given in his statement, which is now in public domain, the reasons why he disassociated himself with JuA.
In his revelations he said that JuA is working on Indian Intelligence Agency RAW’s agenda to destabilize Pakistan using Afghan soil. That JuA is receiving all kinds of support including shelter, finances, training facilities and documentation for ease of movement in Afghanistan. Local population of Kunar and Nangarhar strongly resent JuA’s activities, but they are helpless. He also revealed that JuA leader Omar Khalid Khorasani received medical treatment in India after he got injured in Afghanistan.
Your reference to the presence of 13 Indian Intelligence Agency RAW’s agents among those who died by the bombing on a terrorists’ sanctuary vindicates our claim that India is using Afghan soil against Pakistan. The presence of Indian RAW’s agents should also be seen in the backdrop of revelations made by Liaqat Ali AKA Ehsanullah Ehsan, an associate of TTP and later Jamaatul Ahrar, who surrendered to Pakistani authorities concerned.
Pakistan has always highlighted to the Int’l Community that India uses Afghan soil against Pakistan and it has been repeatedly stated by those in India in position of authority and responsibility that their effort is to squeeze Pakistan from the eastern and western borders.
The international community should take note of Indian state sponsorship of activities of subversion, terrorism and financing of terrorists against Pakistan. India clearly stands exposed as a state sponsoring and financing terrorists. Confession of Kulbhushan Yadav (Jhadev) and now revelations by Ehsanullah Ehsan are irrefutable proofs against India. We have raised this issue of Indian involvement and terror financing in Pakistan at the UN and with other countries.
I have said it earlier also that your focus on the question of Kulbhushan Jhadev tends to overlook the larger issue of Indian state involvement in perpetrating terrorism in Pakistan, a sovereign state. This has been proved by the arrest and confessions by Kulbhushan Jhadev and revelations made by Ehsanullah Ehsan.
On your question regarding banning of social media in IoK, I think you are looking at one specific element. The case in point is Indian brutalities in IoK. Not only are they involved in state terrorism against defenceless Kashmiris, but are using every tool to suppress them. One of these tools is to ban social media. This is not the first time it has happened. Soon after the extra-judicial killing of Burhan Muzaffar Wani, and ensuing events in which Kashmiris in IoK were protesting peacefully against Indian atrocities, they had completely blacked out the media.
I will draw your attention to the concern raised, by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) based in US, on banning of social media in IoK, and has warned (https://cpj.org/2017/04/jammu-and-kashmir-state-government-censors-22-soci.php). International and western media is publishing front page headlines on grave human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir committed by Indian occupation forces. Yesterday, New York Times published an article, graphically presenting Indian brutalities committed in IoK including the killing of 12 & 17 year old youths.
Pakistan strongly condemns and deplores restrictions on social media, used by India as a tool to hide its crime against humanity on defenceless Kashmir in IoK.
Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that if you get a chance, pose this question to my Indian counterpart as to why they are twisting it. However, your reference to 13 Indians killed and God knows how many still operating in Afghanistan, is pertinent. I have said it on numerous occasions as to how India tries to destabilize Pakistan. They are operating not only from their own soil, and sending spies who carry out subversive activities and terrorists to Pakistan but also using Afghan soil against Pakistan.
Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that yes, the visit is taking place. A Pakistani Parliamentary delegation is scheduled to visit Afghanistan at the end of the month. Such visits are a manifestation of desire to strengthen relations between the two countries and, particularly, enhancing parliamentary and people to people exchanges.
Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that responding to your second question first, I will repeat that you tend to overlook the larger issue of Indian state involvement in sponsoring and financing terrorism in Pakistan. The irrefutable evidences in the shape of confessions and revelations by Commander Kulbhushan and Ehsanullah Ehsan are before us. It is a well established fact that India is very much involved in perpetrating terrorist and subversive activities in Pakistan. We have taken up the issue with the international community and the UN already and would do so again, when appropriate.
With reference to your first question, Commander Jhadev has been tried for espionage in Pakistan. He has been tried as per the law of the land, in a fully transparent manner. His sentence is based on credible, specific evidence, and his own confessions, proving his involvement in espionage in Pakistan. Irresponsible statements like the one you referred only substantiate our concerns about Indian subversive activities inside Pakistan and Indian interference in internal matters of Pakistan. Inflammatory statements are counterproductive and against inter-state norms.
Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that responding to your first question, rising extremism in India is a cause for international concern. Such incidents of intolerance in a metropolitan like Mumbai is reflective of the mindset of those associated with the authorities at the helm.
On your second question, our Embassy in Nepal is closely working with the Nepal Government and concerned authorities. I am not aware of development, if any. You have pointed out Indian involvement by virtue of the evidence and information received so far. It is a case of entrapment and we do not rule out possibility of involvement of hostile agencies.
Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that Pakistan has strongly condemned the terrorist attack on Afghan military base in Balkh on 21 April 2017. Prime Minister himself issued a statement condemning the attack and expressing solidarity with the Afghan nation. Pakistan has also emphasized on the need of close cooperation between our two countries for eliminating the scourge of terrorism. All reports by various sources including the UN and US have identified that internal problems are the reasons behind the situation in Afghanistan. Blaming Pakistan is nothing but rhetoric to try to divert attention from internal problems.
Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that I think we have very clearly indicated that this coalition is neither for nor against any country. For this proper procedure and channel has been followed with regard to the appointment of Gen. (R) Raheel Sharif. Defence Minister has made clear statements in this context over time. I don’t have much to add to it, except what the Defence Minister or we have said earlier.
Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that as to your second question, I have seen the media reports. What I’m aware of is that this incident took place on Iranian soil. I don’t have further information on that. We condemn the loss of lives of Iranian Border Guards in the incident and condole with the bereaved families.
With regard to Speaker National Assembly’s visit, these high level visits are part of mechanism in place between two the countries to strengthen the relations at various levels and in diverse areas. Parliamentary exchanges have been taking place. Many high level visits of this kind have taken place from both sides. These high level visits not only provide strength to existing relations, but also give direction to bilateral relationship. I am not fully aware of the outcome of the visit, but judging from media reports, I can say that it was a good visit, and will further strengthen relations between Pakistan and Iran.
Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that these reports highlight discriminatory treatment meted out to minorities, especially Muslims in India. We have seen numerous examples of what’s happening in India in terms of persecution of minorities like Muslims, Christians or Dalits. This has become a matter of concern for the international community. It is being reported widely not only in India, where saner voices are raising concerns, but also in Asian and the Western media. These steps are deplorable and definitely do not serve inter-faith harmony, which is an objective pursued by international community.
Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that I would refer you to the relevant authorities to inquire the exact reasons of this decrease, as to whether it is seasonal or something else.
Pakistan is rich in tourism potential. There are all kind of tourists that may find something of interest in Pakistan, be they historians, or archaeologists or trekkers, mountaineers or looking for natural beauty in which Pakistan is abundantly blessed, they all find what they look for. We are making efforts to increase tourism in Pakistan so that people from across the world can come here. Coming to your question, I have responded earlier also that our Missions abroad make efforts to that end while following the procedure of visa requirements, circulated to them by the Ministry of Interior.