Chaudhry Ahsan Premee
Associated Press Service
December 8, 2016-Islamabad
Foreign Office spokesman said in opening remarks during the weekly press briefing, that Yesterday’s tragic incident of plane crash of a domestic flight in the mountains near Havelian in which more than 40 precious lives were lost, has deeply saddened the people in Pakistan and across the world. Let us pray for the departed souls and that Allah Gives courage to the bereaved families to bear the irreparable loss of their beloved ones (DUA offered).
He added that we remain concerned over continued blatant violation of human rights committed by the Indian occupation forces in occupied Jammu & Kashmir. We have noted that despite unabated genocide and crimes against humanity committed by the Indian forces in IoK, the indigenous movement for self-determination remains undeterred. We pray for the martyrs, salute our Kashmiri brethren for their sacrifices and condemn Indian atrocities. The courage, unity and leadership of Hurriyat Leaders despite extreme hardships faced by them deserve our full moral, political and diplomatic support. We deplore their continued detention by the Indian forces. We urge the international community to call India to account for their crimes against humanity, as the world observes human rights day two days from now i.e. on 10 December.
He added that that sufferings of victims of pellet guns, pains of the families of those defenceless Kashmiris martyred and intense mental sufferings of the families of those over 8,000 arrested with their fate remains unknown.
He added that SAPM Mr. Tariq Fatemi is on an official visit to the United States of America, where he will reach out to Congressmen, key officials of the outgoing administration, establish contacts with the incoming administration, UN Officials, media, think tanks, etc.
The Foreign Secretary visited Vienna to attend International Conference on Nuclear Security. We have kept the media abreast with related information.
Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that it is not appropriate for me to comment on the statement of President of Afghanistan. Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs had held a press conference on 4th December evening at the Ministry where he termed the Afghan President’s statement as regrettable. Pakistan has been doing everything for taking action against terrorist and militant groups for not allowing to use our soil. Afghan Government should engage with Pakistan in counter-terrorism cooperation and border management instead of blaming Pakistan for all the problems in Afghanistan.
It also remains a fact that all the terrorist outfits including Haqqani Network’s leadership, TTA, TTP, Al-Qaeda, Jamaat-ul-Ahraar, etc. are operating in Afghanistan against Pakistan. This is also an established fact that Indian intelligence agencies use Afghan soil to launch terrorist attacks in Pakistan. We have suffered more than others due to terrorism, especially due to Indian sponsored terrorism in Pakistan.
Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that I think you did not notice that Iranian Foreign Minister had a meeting with the Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Mr. Sataj Aziz. He also announced that Iran is ready to mediate on the Kashmir dispute between Pakistan and India. We have longstanding relations and cooperation with Iran.
As to your question about Iran-India ties, we do not comment on bilateral relations between the two countries.
Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that as the Adviser to the Prime Minister said in his statement at the Heart of Asia Conference, the security situation in Afghanistan is very complex. It is too simplistic and rather self-exculpatory on the part of key players to play a blame game for the recent upsurge in violence in Afghanistan. There is need to have an objective and holistic view.
The US leadership, at different levels and avenues, has frequently acknowledged Pakistan as an important ally in the fight against terrorism and appreciated the sacrifices laid down by people of Pakistan to eliminate this menace.
As I mentioned earlier also, when we talk about terrorist organizations’ hideouts, they are present in Afghanistan.
Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that when a country faces such a tragic incident, other countries having expertise in such matters offer their assistance. So, this kind of gesture exists countries’ relations and we appreciate it.
As to your first question, India’s massive arms-buying spree and the consequent conventional asymmetry continue to be a threat to regional peace and stability. Pakistan does not want to indulge in any arms race and remains committed to pursuing arms control and restraint measures. We believe that the region’s scarce resources should be devoted to the socioeconomic uplift of its people.
Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that when Adviser Sartaj Aziz came back from Amritsar, he addressed a press conference and shared the details of his visit. He also mentioned as to how our media was treated. India had already created negativity weeks before the meeting. There were earlier indications that they weren’t much concerned about the real objective of the meeting – that is peace in Afghanistan through cooperation and collaboration between the members of HoA Initiative. Because of the negative atmosphere, which India created much before the conference, it distracted people’s attention from real purpose of the Conference. We deeply regret this Indian attitude. It did not serve the purpose of the conference for which it was held.
He added that we have said all along as to why is India doing this, and why India is obsessed and hell-bent on maligning Pakistan at every given instance, especially where Pakistan is not even present on the occasion. We have seen in the BRICS meeting how India tried to spoil the atmosphere of the conference, but it was not appreciated by other BRICS members. Same was the case with HoA Conference. None but one member appreciated negative attitude. The fact of the matter is that India is trying to hide the genocide and crimes against humanity that its occupation forces have committed in Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir. Because of the mounting pressure of the human rights organizations and activists they desperately want to deflect the world attention from their atrocities in IoK.
He added that that you are aware of the events taking place in Europe and UK, highlighting the atrocities of Indian occupation forces in IoK. One of the meetings is going to be held in UK’s Parliament on 12 December. So, these are the things which are creating a lot of anxiety and pressure on India. Once the international attention is focused on Kashmir, India will definitely be called to account. Therefore, the overall objective of why India is doing this is to hide its own crimes against humanity in IoK.
Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that Pakistan is committed to lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan. Our participation in the HoA Conference is a manifestation our commitment to this end, despite all negative statements and atmosphere that India created.
Pakistan takes pride in the fact that it has honorably and with dignity been hosting more than three million Afghan refugees for over four decades without any external support, and even during difficult times for the country. Pakistan has also been acknowledged worldwide for its support to the Afghan refugees. We have longstanding fraternal bond with the people of Afghanistan and have common religious and cultural linkages with them. We are committed to the peace and stability in Afghanistan in accordance with our policy towards that country and its people.
Pakistan has carried out projects in three sectors in Afghanistan namely; health, education and infrastructure development for which we used earlier allocated US$ 500m. Details of these projects are also available on our website. Moreover, Pakistan has pledged another US 500 million dollars during the recent Brussels Conference for developmental works to ensure peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that as to your second question, it is an administrative matter and I comment on policy related matters.
Regarding your first question, we welcome the offer by our American friends to play their due role in resolving the disputes between Pakistan and India, particularly the Kashmir dispute. We had also welcomed President-elect’s similar announcement earlier.
Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that there are two aspects to your question. Regarding action against terrorism, I have elaborately responded earlier also. Pakistan draws no distinction or discrimination against any terrorist organization. We have initiated an all-out campaign to root out the menace of terrorism without any discrimination, and will continue to make efforts until this scourge eliminated completely from our country.
Our efforts and sacrifices have been acknowledged time and again at different levels of leadership in the US and also the rest of the world. This has been evident during the exchange of visits by leadership of various countries with Pakistan, wherein Pakistan’s significant contribution towards fight against terrorism has been duly acknowledged. You need to see where these terrorist outfits really are. Since July, till date eight leaders and senior commanders of Haqqani network and many TTP leaders have been killed in Afghanistan. This shows where terrorist hideouts are.
As to second part of your question regarding peace process, we remain committed to that. Whenever the situation is conducive and Pakistan is needed, we will play our constructive role. If you are referring to QCG, it is an intra-Afghan process in which Pakistan is a facilitator along with China and the US. We remain committed to it.
Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made a courtesy call to the President-elect Donald Trump. You may also recall that our leadership had earlier sent messages of felicitations to the President-elect on his election victory. We attach high importance to our relationship with the US and would like to see it strengthen further. We look forward to closely working with the new administration.
The reaction in the US came from a couple of media sources. If you look at what Trump’s transition team issued, it did not raise any controversy with regard to the statement.
Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that I believe your reading of Pakistan’s result oriented efforts for the cause of Kashmir is on the right track. Only yesterday, I have seen a detailed report on the atrocities in IoK from one of the major media houses in the US. The awareness about human rights violations in IoK is growing. However, I cannot say with certainty when the fact-finding mission will be sent. What I can say for sure is that the pressure on India to halt bloodshed in IoK is building. UN Human Rights Commissioner has asked twice for sending fact-finding mission. Civil Society members are also carrying out activities to sensitise people and their respective governments on the blatant human rights violations in IoK by the Indian occupation forces. Recently, Australian Senator Lee Rhiannon openly declared on the House floor that what is happening in IoK warrants investigations.
So far, India is refusing to accept any request for a fact-finding mission to IoK. But the international community will make India accept and pay for the crimes against defenceless Kashmiris tomorrow if not today.
Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that the crux of your question is that despite offers of mediation India remains intransigent and refuses to hold genuine dialogue. Pakistan has always highlighted the role of the international community in the resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions. We value our friendly and cordial relations with Iran and the US and would appreciate their role in resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute or the rest of international community. A number of countries have offered mediation to resolve Kashmir dispute, I recall China is one of them. UN Secretary General has also offered mediation quite a few times to that effect but India has avoided the dialogue so far and refuses to entertain any mediation offer.
We have always welcomed these offers. Pakistan is looking forward to the international community’s efforts towards pressurizing India to stop bloodshed in Iok and engage in meaningful dialogue. We do not want dialogue for the sake of dialogue. Pakistan wants a result- oriented and sustainable dialogue. We would not like to see India shying away from the dialogue process over the filmiest of reasons. Of course, this dialogue process must lead to resolution of Kashmir dispute in accordance with UNSC resolutions and wishes of the Kashmiri people.
Foreign Office spokesman said in response to a question that with regard to a media report that alleges a Saudi airstrike on a fishing boat with 12 Pakistanis onboard, so far, the veracity of the cited report could not be established by any of the multiple sources in Oman.
However, we have asked our Missions to provide the latest and authentic details of the reported incident, if any.