Chaudhry Ahsan Premee
Associated Press Service
ISLAMABAD:Weekly press briefing held at the Foreign Ministry on Friday last.The spokesman said, without opening remarks on this occasion that house is open for journalists questions
In this context,the first question was regarding Pak-Iran border security situation.The question was that” Do we have a response to the Iranian Brigadier General’s remarks that Iran might consider carrying out attacks inside Pakistani territory if Pakistan fails in stopping anti Iran activities on its borders?”
Foreign Ministry spokesman said in response to the above question that”Pakistan and Iran are neighbors. We share a long border. We are situated in a region which has seen turbulence and we have both been affected by the events in this region. We have been victims of terrorism: no one more than Pakistan. We are fighting terrorism and our forces are taking comprehensive and determined action to eliminate it from our soil. In this endeavor, we need cooperation from our neighbors. There may be cross border activities or other transnational crimes like narcotic and drug trafficking. With Iran, we have mechanisms like the border management committee. We believe that if Iran has evidence that elements from Pakistan are involved in activities against Iran, they should share it with us. Our information is that these incidents took place inside Iranian territory by Iranians and that is corroborated by their own accounts. It is not helpful to externalize problems. We need to focus on eliminating terrorism from our countries. We have mechanisms which can investigate such events as was done in the past when the Iranian guards were kidnapped and released inside Iran.”
Another was the question with regard to Iran that”It is not for the first time that an Iranian official has made a statement accusing Pakistan that it is not doing enough on its side of borders. Have the Iranians ever given evidence to Pakistan in the past or these statements take place as matter of routine without any evidence being put forth. Related to this, there is also a question that just few days ago Taliban’s spokesperson Shahidullah Shahid publically announced in a statement that he along with five other Taliban commanders are joining IS. Do you have any information to confirm whether actual contacts have taken place as Talibans claim that an IS delegation was in the tribal areas of Pakistan?’’
Foreign Ministry spokesman said in response to the above question that”
First, I don’t have any information that Shahidullah Shahid is in Pakistan. We cannot confirm if they are meeting people outside Pakistan. As regards his statement, what we are focused on is our across the board action, our own determination and a very comprehensive and resolute action by our Armed Forces against all kinds of terrorism.
Coming to your first question, as I said earlier, last time when an incident happened inside Iranian territory and some statements were made hinting at the possibility that the terrorists had come from Pakistan or the guards may have been taken to Pakistan, we responded promptly. The border management committee met a number of times. There was a visit to the reported site of their abduction inside Iran. No proof was found that guards were brought to Pakistan. In this case also, the terrorist act happened inside Iran. If our help is sought, the border management committee can meet and investigate the matter. We are very clear that we will not allow our territory to be used against any other country.”
There was a question regarding Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to China next month that”Is Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif going to visit China next month? Moreover, will the agreements which were going to be signed during the visit of Chinese president be signed over there? In response to the above question, the spokesman said that”I have no information that there is any bilateral visit between Pakistan and China next month. There is a likelihood that the Prime Minister may attend APEC dialogue to which he has been invited by the Chinese Premier but at the moment I cannot confirm it.”There was a question about briefing diplomatic circles from Foreign Ministry on Indian provocation LoC that”Last week Pakistan took diplomatic community into confidence.P-5 countries were also contacted. What was the response from international community on Line of Control issue? How are they viewing this escalation between India and Pakistan?
Has any contact been made with India over recent developments along the working boundary and line of control through diplomatic and political channels? There was a contact between Directors of Military Directorates of two countries. Do you have any detail on that contact as well?”Foreign Office spokesman said in response to the above question that”Since first of October, for about fourteen days, there was unprovoked firing and shelling by India on the LoC and Working Boundary. Twelve civilians were martyred and 52 people were injured. We condemned it and lodged a protest with India. The Advisor to Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs addressed a letter to the UN Secretary General. Briefings were held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for P-5 Ambassadors and for Heads of all the other Missions in Islamabad. These were very well attended meetings. The Advisor’s letter was circulated as a UN Security Council document. Our Permanent Representative to the UN met with UN officials. Obviously, there has been concern in the international community and it has been expressed in public statements as well. We remain engaged with the International Community.”One question that Ebola Virus that”Can you update us on the precautionary measures being taken by our embassies and missions specifically in Africa against the spread of deadly Ebola Virus?” Foreign Office spokesman said in response to the above question that”
Well, it’s not the whole of Africa. There are certain countries where Ebola has detected. Obviously, all our Missions observe the guidelines that are issued by the World Health Organization and the local governments.”There was a question that about a resolution in favor of a Palestinian state in British Parliament that British parliament has passed a resolution in favor of Palestinian state. What is the importance of this resolution in our view”
Foreign Office spokesman said in response to the above question that”You would recall that about two weeks ago the new government of Sweden decided to recognize the state of Palestine. This is a very positive development. This shows that the international community is now realizing the rights of Palestinians to exist as viable independent state in the land which belongs to them. We welcome the vote in the British parliament.”
There was a question about Ebola Virus that my question is about Ebola Virus. Do you have any number of Pakistani living in the countries which are badly affected by Ebola Virus?
Second question is about the Pakistanis who are working in Liberia under the UN umbrella. Do you have their number? You have issued instructions. What kinds of steps are being taken and what is the mechanism to prevent this virus from coming to Pakistan?
Foreign Office spokesman said in response to the above question that”
We have peacekeepers in Liberia. The UN has its own guidelines for peace keepers operating in countries affected by Ebola virus.
As regards what measures the Pakistan government is taking; please consult the Ministry of National Health Services.”A question that Pak-Afghan agreements regarding energy that”
My question is regarding the CASA-1000 energy project. Pakistan and Afghanistan have recently signed an agreement in relation to this project. What is the significance of this agreement related to the project and also in the bilateral relations of the two countries?
Secondly, after the new Afghan Government set up, have any bilateral visits been planned between Pakistan and Afghanistan?” Foreign Office spokesman said in response to the above question that”Signing of the agreement on CASA-1000 is a welcome development. We do hope that with the signing of this agreement, the process for building the CASA-1000 project will move forward. This project is very important for Pakistan’s energy requirements. It fits in our policy to develop regional connectivity through the economic projects.
Well, when the President of Pakistan visited Afghanistan to attend the inauguration of new government, the invitations were extended and accepted. When exactly the visits take place we don’t know. Whenever we have specific timings we will share.”
A question that regarding Pak-India that”Today India test fired a nuclear capable missile. Don’t you think it is again a provocation from Indian side when two countries are already engaged in skirmishes?” Foreign Office spokesman said in response to the above question that”
we are against an arms race – conventional or nuclear in the region. As regards the missile testing, we have a mechanism that whenever the two countries test ballistic missiles, they pre-notify each other and it is part of the confidence building measures that are in place.”A questin that”
I draw your attention to the address of US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan back in Washington. He talked in length about the terror issue, I just have two sentences. While he was talking about Miramshah and Mir Ali situation and discoveries over there, he said that these discoveries should underscore the risk of allowing the safe heavens to exist. His contention is that it’s not one group or its leaders rather we need continuous vigilance on these groups. Does Pakistan perceive it as a warning or dissatisfaction from United States? “Foreign Office spokesman said in response to the above question that”I do not think there is any warning. As regards the safe heavens, we have to go back in history; how did these people come here and how did they land in Pakistan? Secondly, when the US military operation started in Afghanistan in November, 2001, many of these people fled across the border. A large number was apprehended. Some found refuge in the mountainous and inaccessible regions. They have attacked us and have killed our people. We are taking action against them, first and foremost, in our national interest to protect our own citizens and country.
We are against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. We are also determined not to allow our territory to be used against any other country. We expect that other countries would also not allow their territories to be used against Pakistan. It is a two way responsibility.