Record of the Press Briefing by Spokesperson

Opening Remarks

Pakistani Peacekeepers Day was observed today, the 2nd of June 2016, at the United Nations, New York, in a graceful and impressive ceremony. I have tweeted the sentiments and gratitude expressed by the United Nations Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-moon on the occasion. He paid rich tributes. We have also issued a Press Release this morning.

The Prime Minister, after undergoing surgical procedure for heart, is recovering. A large number of world leaders have conveyed their messages and showed special gestures for the Prime Minister's successful heart surgery and speedy recovery. The Government of Pakistan expresses its gratitude to them.

Foreign Secretary held the 3rd Round of Political Consultations in Brussels with his Counterpart in the European Union yesterday. The Ministerial Level Strategic Dialogue will be held later this year.

Now the Floor is open for Questions

Question

A number of families of US drone strikes victims have filed FIRs against the US officials. What has Government of Pakistan done to address their complaints? (Sheeba Mahar - Daily SAMAA)

Answer

You said that families of the victims of US drone strikes filed FIRs against US officials. Pakistan's position on the issue of drone strikes is well known. Under the Constitution of Pakistan, every citizen has the right to legal recourse in case of any injustice or harm to a citizen or his/her family. The Judiciary in Pakistan is independent and the legal system will follow its course on the complaint lodged.

Question

Is there any hope of the QCG meeting after the death of Taliban leader Mulla Akhtar Mansur?

US President recently declared that 'Taliban should forget about ruling Afghanistan'. Isn't this a confirmation that the next regime in Afghanistan could only come with US blessing - a puppet government on Pakistan's borders? How does Pakistan see this game?

Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Haibtullah has asked for increased attacks on allied troops. How do you see this statement in the context of peace in Afghanistan? (Fakhar-ur-Rahman - Turkish News Agency)

Answer

Pakistan firmly believes in the respect for the political independence of sovereign states, which is also guaranteed in the UN Charter. We believe that peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan should be an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process. Pakistan's support is based on that premise. A politically negotiated settlement among all stakeholders, including Taliban, is the best and sustainable solution for peace in Afghanistan. The Afghan people have suffered long enough. Pakistan supports all efforts aimed at achieving that objective.

All members of the QCG including Afghanistan have been supporting the QCG and consider it a useful forum for facilitating the Afghan peace process.

Pakistan has been engaged in sincere and consistent efforts for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan. We welcome all efforts toward peace in Afghanistan. It is in Pakistan's Interest. Therefore, we believe that a politically negotiated settlement is a viable option for achieving the goal of peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. For which the QCG has a very important role to play. The QCG mechanism is very much in place.

The use of military force and violence has not provided a solution to the conflict in Afghanistan for the last fifteen years. It is unlikely to bring peace in future as well. We believe that the military approach will further destabilize Afghanistan. We have repeatedly said that all parties at war should refrain from violence since violence begets violence.

Question

The Agreement between the Government of Pakistan. UN and Afghanistan regarding Afghan refugees expired on 31st May 2016. Have any discussions taken place with the UN and Afghan Government to extend the deadline? (Rana Moazam - Jahan-e-Pakistan)

Answer

I would like to correct you, the deadline is 30 June 2016 and not May 31st. Afghanistan side's request in this regard is under consideration.

Question

It has been widely reported that after the arrest of Kulbhushan Yadav, which confirmed Indian State involvement in perpetrating and financing terrorism in Pakistan, a number of sleeper cells and spies have been busted which laid bare Afghan NDS and Indian RAW nexus against Pakistan. Have we taken up the issue with the two countries, UN and international community? Any dossiers presented? (Essa Naqvi - Dunya News)

Answer

The apprehension of a serving officer of Indian Intelligence Agency RAW has vindicated Pakistan's long standing position that Indian Intelligence agencies are involved in subversive and terrorist activities in Pakistan especially Balochistan and Karachi. Our security agencies are fully aware of all threats and are actively working to counter them, wherever required. You are aware that we have briefed the international community. As the investigations are in progress, we would apprise the world community accordingly. Necessary actions have been taken based on Kulbushan's confession and I am aware that many arrests have been taken place.

Question

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that India is ready to take the first step to peace with Pakistan but the "problem of unending terror" limits the way forward. How do you see his statement? Secondly, we came to know through Foreign Office that our Prime Minister spoke to Mr. Modi after Mr. Modi wished him for his procedure in London. Was this the only issue discussed or were other bilateral issues also touched upon? (Shaukat Paracha -Aaj TV)

Answer

The phenomenon of terrorism has affected Pakistan more than any other country in the world. Terrorism has affected both the countries. We have deeper concern over foreign hands behind perpetration of terrorist attacks and terrorist financing in Pakistan. You are aware of the exposure of foreign involvement during March this year and a question on that exposure was asked just know. Pakistan is ready for dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. In addition to other issues, the dialogue would include the discussion on terrorism.

Regarding the second part of your question, it was an exchange of telephone calls, which related to best wishes for the Prime Minister's health. This was hardly the occasion to discuss other issues though I am not privy to the exact details of the conversation.

Question

There are reports about the restriction on Afghan nationals on Torkham border. Has the Afghan Government raised this issue and how important is border management for peace in both the countries? My second question is regarding the closure of Afghan Consulate in Peshawar. Your comments. (Ishtiaq Ahmad - VOA)

Answer

Regarding the second part of your question, there are designated routes for diplomats to reach the Consulate or their offices. The checking on non-designated routes is very strict, which is done to ensure safety and security of the people. Pakistan, keeping in view all diplomatic norms and practices, facilitates and fulfils the security requirements of the foreign missions and their officials. They are well looked after. The incident you are referring to, the gentleman took the route through a non-designated area. One should remember that these security measures are taken all over the world not due to stringent policies of the host governments but for the security and safety of the people. When all of us travel abroad we come across strict security checks at airports and you would have seen notices written at such security points that these measures are for our own security, so please cooperate. So, security checks should be seen in that spirit.

Regarding the first part of your question, you mentioned a request by the Afghan Government to extend the deadline. I have not seen such a request. However, I would like to point that effective border management is part of our counter-terrorism efforts, which is in the interest of both the countries. It is vital for checking infiltrations across the long and porous Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The Afghan government's cooperation in this regard is important for strengthening mutual security. Humanitarian considerations are already being given to such cases as patients and students.

Question

Regarding application for membership of NSG, the US expressed support for India. What is Pakistan's reaction to this? (Khawaja Nayar Iqbal - Kashmir Post)

Answer

Pakistan's NSG application stands on solid grounds of technical experience, capability and well-established commitment to nuclear safety. Pakistan has operated secure and safeguarded nuclear power plants for over 42 years. Safe and sustainable civil nuclear energy is essential for Pakistan's future energy security and its economic development.

Pakistan's NSG membership is in the interest of nuclear trading countries as it will further promote NSG non-proliferation objectives by the inclusion of a state with nuclear supply capabilities and its adherence to NSG Guidelines.

There is a large number of NSG Participating Governments, which support the adoption of a non-discriminatory, equitable and criteria-based approach when dealing with the question of membership of countries that have not been a party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

We are, therefore, hopeful that NSG decision for expansion in membership for non-NPT countries will be for an even-handed approach since any country-specific exception which will not be beneficial for the non-proliferation regime, the objective of strategic stability in South Asia or the credibility of NSG itself.

Question

Reportedly, there is ban on entry of Afghan refugees in Pakistan through Torkham border. What kind of restrictions are these? (Kamran Haider - Bloomberg)

Answer

These are not basically restrictions but are border management measures. We need to check whether the persons coming in have legitimate reasons to come to Pakistan as well as requisite documents. Similarly, we also need to check the reasons and the necessary documents of the persons going into Afghanistan. There was an earlier question on this and I explained some humanitarian exceptions like patients and students who are studying in Pakistan.

Question

The new Taliban leadership is similar to Mullah Mansour. So is there CIA preparation to target them also? US is openly talking about finishing the QCG and they have openly warned the new leadership. (Kausar Lodhi - Prime News)

Answer

Questions were raised today about the efficacy of the QCG as well as the military option that you are talking about. I have already responded to these questions. Question

Pakistan has created so much hype regarding CPEC and have over played it so much that Pakistan has become isolated in the neighborhood and all surrounding countries are taking steps against Pakistan. Recently, there was an agreement between Afghanistan, Iran and India and there is an impression that Pakistan has increased its enemies. Your comments. (Rashida Sial -Channal 5)

Answer

The importance of CPEC for both Pakistan and China has been underlined by the first part of your question. The investment of 46 billion dollars is very significant and has often been called a "game changer" and a "fate changer". One usually sees commitments of this nature but not the implementation. CPEC is a reality and it will be implemented with success.

Remember that CPEC is essentially a development program. In fact, the benefits of CPEC would not only be limited to Pakistan and China but would positively affect the whole region. CPEC is a flagship programme of China's "one route one belt" initiative.

Question

Has Afghan Government requested Pakistan to extend border restriction deadlines during Ramzan and Eid? What is Pakistan's response to it? (Amjad Ali- PTV)

Answer

I have not seen such a request. However, I would like to point that effective border management is part of our counter-terrorism efforts, which is in the interest of both the countries. It is vital for checking the infiltrations across the long and porous Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The Afghan government's cooperation in this regard is important for strengthening mutual security. Humanitarian considerations are already being given to such cases as patients and students.

Question

During the last week, the American Ambassador had two meetings with the Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz. Earlier, he was also summoned to Foreign Office when Pakistan conveyed its reservations regarding the drone strike. After this drone strike, there have been frequent meetings; my question is that on which stage are the relations between Pakistan and US? Is there any constraint in the relations?(Bashir Chaudhary- 24 News)

Answer

If you have seen statements of the US State Department and White House, they have said one thing repeatedly that Pakistan is a very important country and they want to maintain an independent relationship with Pakistan. Relations between Pakistan and America are not limited to one or two issues. It is a broad-based and long standing relationship. There are ups and downs in all bilateral relationships. There have been very rapid changes and developments in this region since 2008. Ambassadors and Diplomats stay in constant touch with the host government. We do the same when we are posted in another country. We stay in touch with the host government. Thus it is routine interaction to exchange views on ongoing developments and one must not look deep into it.

Question

My question is that India and Japan have signed an agreement to build six Nuclear Reactors in Andhra Pradesh. How does Pakistan see it?(Anwar Abbas- Waqt News)

Answer

India was given waiver. Our position on the issue has been very clear. We don't want any discriminatory treatment for any country which is not party to NPT. Pakistan calls for a non-discriminatory and criteria based approach lest that would actually further add to the reasons disturbing the strategic stability in the region.

Question

With regard to Afghan Consulate in Peshawar and the alleged harassment of Afghans, Pakistan's CDA was summoned in Kabul yesterday. There are also reports coming from Afghanistan that Pakistan may stop/suspend development projects in Afghanistan due to harassment of its officials. Your comments please.(Ali Hussnain- Business Recorder)

Answer

I think you are referring to media reports and we don't comment on these. But if there are any complaints, diplomatic channels are available to address these issues.

Question

After the arrest of Kulbhushan Yadav, Ministry of Interior through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote a letter to Iran in which Iran was asked about the use of Iranian territory against Pakistan especially RAW's network in Chahbhar. Is there any response to this letter? If we have not received any response whether we have raised this issue at the diplomatic level? What is the status of our relations with Iran after the arrest of Kulbhushan? (Naveed Akbar- Daily Dunya)

Answer

I am not aware of the progress on this issue.

Question

Yesterday, Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the issue of melting of ice and climate are matters of concern for both India and Pakistan. He suggested that these issues should be included in the Pakistan India composite dialogue. Your comments please.

Secondly, a Chinese was arrested on the Pak-China border. What are the updates on it? (Fida Hussain- Radio News Network)

Answer

As far your second question, I am not aware of it and I will have to check this.

As regards your question about melting of ice and climate change, the composite dialogue will start after the meeting of the Foreign Secretaries in which modalities will be decided. Water issue was part of the previous dialogue process. As regards the comment of Senator Farhatullah Babar, it is a genuine concern. But as for cooperation on this issue is concerned, Ministry of Climate Change will be in a better position to inform you about the course of action to be taken. There is international cooperation on climate change and a lot of work has been done under it. So Ministry of Climate Change will be in a better position to answer your question.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs