Chaudhry Ahsan Premee
Associated Press Service
Foreign Ministry Spokesman said in opening remarks during the weekly press briefing that today’s briefing is this year’s last. I wish to avail of the opportunity to express deep appreciation on behalf of this Ministry and on my own behalf for your cooperation in promoting Pakistan’s national objectives and disseminating country’s viewpoint on regional and global issues of common concern and interest, both at the domestic and foreign fronts. It was heartening to see how our media stood united when it came to country’s interest and prestige. I wish to specially mention the national spirit that the media has exhibited on the issue of Kashmir. During the last over five months, our media has very objectively, effectively and constantly given coverage and highlighted the plight of our Kashmiri brethren in Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK). They have been subjected to worst brutalities in living memory by the occupying forces of India. I wish you all a very happy and blessed New Year 2017!
He added that during last one week, Indian occupation forces used brute force on peaceful protestors in IoK, which resulted in the injuries to several hundred Kashmiris, including over two dozen journalists. Continued confinement of Kashmiri leaders and inhuman treatment meted out to them is condemnable. Night raids and arbitrary arrests of innocent Kashmiris continue. Occupying forces, joined by the terrorist organizations such as RSS, Vishwa Hindu Prasad, Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal and other terrorist elements are engaged in the drive to change the demography in Indian occupied Kashmir, which is a blatant violation of UN Security Council’s Resolutions on Kashmir and fundamental human rights. We condemn unabated violation of UNSC Resolutions on Kashmir by India.
He added that inauguration of Chashma-III nuclear power plant is yet another important landmark in Pakistan’s drive towards meeting country’s ever growing energy demand and further strengthening of Pakistan-China friendship and mutually beneficial relationship. 6th meeting of Joint Cooperation Committee on CPEC is being held in Beijing today.
He added that ,I congratulate Dr. Rashid Chotani on winning the United States of America’s ‘Scientific Achievement Award 2016’ and making us proud.
He added that media report about an Iranian merchant ship, named MV Joya, with Pakistani crew aboard being hit by a rocket in Yemeni waters, is in circulation for 10 days. Similar news was circulating in the first week of this month. As we did previously, on our instructions our diplomatic missions concerned made efforts to verify the news but the occurrence of the incident could not be established. We also approached the Yemeni Embassy here but they also could not confirm it. We noted that there had been no official or unofficial statement from Iran as well. We heard that the gentleman who initially broke the news also later said that the news could not be confirmed. Efforts are still on to verify the report.
Spokesman said the responding to a question that as I understand, the first question has two aspects. One relates to Indian brutalities in IoK, in a way it has relevance to the Indian aspirations to the position of responsibilities. India, which speaks about democratic norms has no high moral ground as it is involved in blatant violations of UNSC Resolutions on Kashmir committing genocide and crimes against humanity of the worst sort. These activities are also a clear violation of UN Charter. This has already been raised in the media briefing in the past that a country, which shows no respect for human rights, constantly violates UNSC resolutions and the UN Charter aspires to become a member of NSG or UN Security Council. India’s atrocities in IoK against defenceless Kashmiris are known and India should be call to account. Our position is very clear in this regard. We have also constantly highlighted India’s gross human rights violations in IoK, which are unprecedented in living memory, and are being carried out for a very long time. What you saw in the last five months is a continuation of the struggle for self-determination movement of Kashmiris for the past several decades. Current phase of uprising is the aftermath of extra judicial killing of Burhan Wani on 8th of July 2016. The Indian brutalities that ensued on the peaceful demonstrators is before us.
Spokesman said the responding to a question that on NSG, Pakistan has always had a principled stance. We seek criteria-based and non-discriminatory approach. Pakistan has consistently highlighted its strong credentials that meet NSG criteria. Our efforts towards our application for membership are continuing.
Spokesman said the responding to a question that with regard to Mr. Shaukat Paracha’s question, first of all let me make it clear that the Grossi proposal is an internal document of the NSG, which has not been shared with us. We understand that the NSG countries are still discussing the document and there is no consensus on it within the NSG. What we have been able to gather from media reports and public commentary on the Grossi proposal, by experts like Daryll Kimbal, is that the proposal seeks to propose the 2008 NSG exemption for India as a requirement for NSG membership. This would be clearly discriminatory and would contribute nothing in terms of furthering the non-proliferation objectives of the NSG.
Spokesman said the responding to a question that Pakistan continues to stress the imperative for a non-discriminatory criteria-based approach for NSG membership of non-NPT states in a non-discriminatory manner. Such a criteria-based approach will further the non-proliferation objective of the NSG as well as the objective of strategic stability in South Asia.
Spokesman said the responding to a question that as for the question by Mr. Amjad Ali, there are certain states which have expressed their support for the Indian membership. However, no NSG member has opposed Pakistan’s principled position for a non-discriminatory criteria-based approach. In fact, there is growing traction for Pakistan’s position. We are reaching out to all NSG members, which are increasingly acknowledging the merits of our argument for stronger standards for IAEA safeguards and other non-proliferation measures, which can plug the loopholes left in the 2008 exemption for India.
Spokesman said the responding to a question that the NSG is at a critical juncture. NSG members bear a heavy responsibility. It is important for the credibility of the NSG and the future of the non-proliferation regime that the NSG be seen as a rule-based organization rather than a grouping which is driven by commercial and political considerations that trump its non-proliferation objectives.
Spokesman said the responding to a question that we have talked about this issue a number of times. You may like to refer to my previous replies on this issue. Let me add that we are closely monitoring the situation and we will respond accordingly. The international community should take notice of Indian activities and statements that are indeed a violation of India’s obligations and commitments under the Treaty. IWT has a comprehensive mechanism for dispute resolution and Pakistan adheres to that mechanism. It is binding on both India and Pakistan and has no exit provision.
According the sub-provisions (3) and (4) of the Article XII of the IWT, the Treaty cannot be altered or revoked unilaterally. The essence is that we have noted this issue with concern, and raised it on appropriate occasions. You may get further details from M/o Water & Power.
Spokesman said the responding to a question that as envisioned by our Prime Minister, Pakistan sincerely adheres to the policy of peaceful neighbourhood and shared prosperity. We remain committed to amicably resolving Kashmir dispute and all outstanding issues with India. Unfortunately, our positive overtures have not been reciprocated by India. UN has a responsibility to ensure resolution of Kashmir dispute and peace in the region. We hope that international community, particularly the major powers, will play their due role to that end.
Spokesman said the responding to a question that regarding the UNSC Resolution, I understand your reference is to the Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories. In this context, our position is very clear. We want to see a lasting peace in the Middle East based on international law and relevant UN Resolutions. With regard to your reference to the demographic change, which India is trying to bring about in the IOK, I have already made a point in my opening statement that India is blatantly violating the UNSC Resolutions on Kashmir.
Spokesman said the responding to a question that I will respond to second part of Mr. Muddasir’s question first. The meeting between China, Pakistan and Russia is in continuity of an existing trilateral mechanism. There are many other regional trilaterals. The trilateral meeting is aimed at holding informal discussions on issues of regional peace and stability including the situation in Afghanistan. The meeting has also invited Afghanistan to join the process. So we hope that Afghan concern has been addressed.
You mentioned about isolation. Let me repeat what I have also previously said on the issue. How do you define isolation? If isolation is that a country is at loggerheads with you and campaigns against you being isolated, do you really get isolated? One should look at the bigger picture in the larger context in which things are happening. Look at the high political visits to Pakistan and our leadership’s visits to the important capitals. Assess the political developments that are taking place in terms of important relationships that major powers are developing with Pakistan. Look at Pakistan’s economic indicators and the progress Pakistan has achieved. In this backdrop, the concept of isolation is absurd.
Spokesman said the responding to a question that I have already made a reference to the issue in my opening remarks. India has been constantly violating the UNSC Resolutions on Kashmir. All such measures by India are taken up by us with the UN. We also call upon the international community to take note of violation of the UNSC resolutions on Kashmir by India and ensure that India fulfils its obligations under UN Security Council resolutions.
Spokesman said the responding to a question that in part, I have already responded to your question. I have said that as envisioned by our Prime Minister, Pakistan adheres to the policy of peaceful neighborhood and shared prosperity. We have talked about regional connectivity as a sincere effort towards building confidence, trust and mutual benefit between regional countries.
With regard to India’s belligerent posture towards Pakistan in the recent months, you will find that it is all related to India’s brutalities in IoK. What started off as yet another episode of self-determination movement in IoK in the wake of Burhan Wani’s extra judicial killing, that was ensued by unprecedented violations of human rights in living memory. These blatant violations have also attracted international community’s attention. India is desperately endeavoring to deflect international community’s attention from its atrocities on defenceless Kashmiris. Its attempts to heighten tension on LoC/WB and hostile posturing against Pakistan must be seen in the backdrop of Indian brutalities in occupied Kashmir.
Let’s not forget that Kashmir remains the main bone of contention in Pakistan-India relations. We remain committed to pursuing our policy of peaceful neighborhood and resolving the issue of Kashmir and all other outstanding disputes amicably. We also believe that whenever conflicts impede regional development and endanger peace and stability, it is the responsibility of UN and the international community to ensure peaceful resolution and amicable solution of all disputes.
Spokesman said the responding to a question that regarding the first question, I believe Dr. Aafia Siddique has been awarded sentence of almost 80 years. Pakistan has made sincere efforts all along. We had hired lawyers, and our Embassy officers regularly visit her. This issue has been raised many a times at high political level during bilateral meetings. To suggest that we are not taking up this matter with the US is not correct. We are still extending all consular assistance to her. What you said with reference to transition in the US leadership, I do not have any comments to offer.
Spokesman said the responding to a question that as to the question of Ms. Rabia, I do not have the details of the trilateral meeting. The joint press release states the growing presence of ISIS in Afghanistan as a major concern with implications for the regional countries.
On the second question, you have to see it in the backdrop of the efforts towards reconciliation for peace and stability in Afghanistan. There are many initiatives in the context of efforts to bring peace and stability in Afghanistan. There are also other trilateral and initiatives like the Heart of Asia and QCG, in which membership varies, but they all talk about how lasting peace and stability can be brought about in Afghanistan. Related to the situation in Afghanistan are the concerns about the impact of instability on the regional countries. What has been discussed at the trilateral may also be seen in this backdrop.
Spokesman said the responding to a question that I believe that I have responded to this question in the past also. Pakistan’s commitment is to the people of Afghanistan. We believe that peace and stability in Afghanistan is not only important for Pakistan but also for the entire region. That is why we have already extended US$ 500 million for the development projects in Afghanistan – in health, infrastructure and education sectors – which have helped the Afghan people. This time also, at the Brussels Conference, Pakistan has remained committed to its spirit of genuinely helping the Afghan people, by pledging another US$ 500 million in development assistance.
Spokesman said the responding to a question that I have already responded to this question. If you want further details, please contact Ministry of Water & Power or Indus Water Commissioner.