Statement by Sartaj Aziz at a Press Conference in Islamabad

Islamabad, June 10, 2016 (PPI-OT):PAKISTAN’S FOREIGN POLICY 2013-16: ACHIEVEMENTS AND CHALLENGES

The 2013 Election Manifesto of PML (N) had called for a coherent, well formulated and popularly supported foreign policy to face new and daunting challenges that had emerged. After reviewing the then prevailing situation, the Manifesto outlined a clear vision. Let me recall those words:

“Pakistan is located at an important junction of South Asia, West Asia, and Central Asia. The country could be a bridge between energy rich Central Asia and Iran on one side and energy deficit countries like China and India on the other. Pakistan’s coastal belt facilitates access to warm waters and oil rich Gulf, as well as international oil supply lines passing through the Strait of Harmuz. Pakistan can also develop a flourishing transit economy because it provides the shortest land routes from Western China to the Arabian Sea, through the Gwadar Port, while linking India with Afghanistan and CAR and providing land route from Iran to India and access to the Central Asian Republics to the Arabian Sea and India for oil and gas pipelines.”

As PML (N) Government has completed the first three years of its tenure, it is an opportune juncture to make an objective assessment of its achievement in foreign policy and also the challenges that lie ahead.

As soon as the new Government assumed office in June 2013, the following renewed foreign policy guidelines were issued to all the Pakistan Missions abroad:

The most important objective of Pakistan’s foreign policy is to contribute to the objective of economic revival and economic self reliance.

To achieve these objectives, Pakistan wants improved relations with its neighbours, specially China, India, Afghanistan and Iran and a wider, more robust relationship with the United States based on mutual respect.

Stronger bonds with the Muslim World, mutually beneficial relations with the Central Asian States, and revival of economic cooperation with Russia.

Achievements:

The most important achievement of the past three years was undoubtedly the path breaking transformation in Pakistan’s strategic partnership with China. The most visible manifestation of this transformation was the launch, in April 2015, of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) involving Chinese investment of $ 46 billion in energy, infrastructure, communication projects and for developing the Gwadar Port. Its implementation will lay a solid foundation for enhanced regional trade, integration, connectivity and industrial investment. China has already become Pakistan’s largest trading partner with two way trade at $ 19 billion in 2015.

The second major accomplishment was enhanced cooperation with Central Asian Republics. High level exchange of visits with Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyz Republic and Turkmenistan provided the required impetus and direction to wide ranging initiatives with these countries. Pakistan’s geo-strategic location at the crossroads of Asia, makes it a natural economic hub for energy corridors, and regional integration. In translating this vision into reality, three important projects, apart from CPEC have already been finalized; CASA 1000 would bring surplus electricity from Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan, TAPI gas pipeline would transmit natural gas from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India; Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project is also being pursued. These projects are in different stages of implementation. Air links with Central Asia are being restored and new road links will emerge with the completion of CPEC.

The third positive development of the past three years was our success in obtaining Pakistan’s full membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). This is an important milestone for re-balancing Pakistan’s place in the global arena. Greater regional cooperation in controlling extremism and drug trafficking will yield important economic benefits.

Fourth, in pursuit of the Prime Minister’s vision of a peaceful neighbourhood, Pakistan has been making sincere efforts to deepen its engagement with Afghanistan and address post 9/11 mistrust, by facilitating reconciliation talks between the Afghan Government and the Taliban. For this purpose, the creation of a new mechanism, the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) during the Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference in Islamabad, in December 2015 was a major step forward. The recent drone attack in Balochistan in which the Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour was killed, has breached our sovereignty, caused a serious setback to the peace efforts and intensified hostilities in Afghanistan. The drone strike must, therefore, be condemned by all stakeholders.

Pakistan is committed to deeper engagement with Afghanistan. QCG has also endorsed Pakistan’s contention that the option of the military action has been tried for 15 years, with the help of 130,000 ISAF forces, without much success. The alternative route of a negotiated political settlement cannot yield results within a few months. It will require more time and patient collective efforts by all the members of the QCG, to bring durable peace to Afghanistan.

Fifth, Pakistan has continued its efforts to resolve all outstanding issues, including Kashmir, with India through dialogue, There was some positive progress in December 2015, when during the Heart of Asia Conference, Foreign Minister of India and I agreed to resume the Comprehensive Dialogue on all issues covered under eight segments. But before the Foreign Secretaries could meet and finalize a schedule for resuming the Comprehensive Dialogue, the Pathankot incident of 2 January 2016 gave India an excuse to postpone the resumption of the dialogue. Pakistan sent a Joint Investigation Team to India and has already initiated the required investigation against those alleged to be involved. Pakistan believes that dialogue is the best way forward to resolve outstanding issues, including mutual concerns related to terrorism.

Sixth, Pakistan succeeded in resuming the Strategic Dialogue with USA in 2013, after the difficult phase in the relationship experienced during 2011-12. Three sessions have been held, on the basis of the work of six Working Groups on energy, economy, defence, non-proliferation, counter terrorism, education, science and technology, in January 2014, January 2015 and February 2016. The Prime Minister also paid two successful visits to USA in October 2013 and October 2015. Three business opportunities conferences have been held in the past two years.

Pakistan is strongly committed to the objectives of strategic stability in South Asia. The international community has appreciated the system evolved by Pakistan for nuclear safety, nuclear security, strict export controls and effective command and control. Pakistan has actively participated in Nuclear Security Summits. In our interactions, we firmly conveyed to the USA that maintaining effective nuclear deterrence is critical for Pakistan’s security and only Pakistan itself can determine how it should respond to the growing strategic and conventional imbalances in South Asia.

Seventh, Pakistan’s engagement with the European Union and its member states, both bilaterally and within the EU framework has seen tangible progress in the past three years. After intense lobbying, Pakistan succeeded in winning GSP+ status in 2014, leading to significant growth in Pakistan’s exports to the EU. Pakistan’s Strategic Dialogue with UK at Foreign Ministers level, serves as the central pivot of this important and growing bilateral relationship. Pakistan’s relations with Germany, France and Italy have moved on a positive trajectory.

After his ground-breaking meeting with President Putin in Ufa in July 2015, the Prime Minister has paid particular attention, to the consolidation and expansion of Pakistan’s relations with Russia. Agreement on the construction of North South Gas Pipeline in Pakistan with $ 2 billion Russian investment is a significant milestone.

Eighth, Pakistan’s traditional ties with the Muslim World are reinforced by strong economic ties and the presence of 5 million strong diaspora in the Gulf countries and total trade of $ 17 billion. Exchange of high level visits became more intense in the past three years with greater focus on economic cooperation and containing the spread of violent extremism in several Middle Eastern countries. Pakistan has been playing an active role in reducing tensions and promoting unity within the Muslim Ummah. For this purpose, Prime Minister visited Saudi Arabia and Iran in January 2016. Pakistan also welcomed the Saudi Arabia initiative to forge a 35 countries military alliance to counter terrorism.

Lifting of international sanctions from Iran have opened the opportunity to revive and expand economic and trade relations. President Rouhani’s visit to Pakistan in March 2016 has given a fresh impetus to these opportunities. With Turkey our special relationship has been growing from strength to strength.

Ninth, Pakistan continued its pioneering role in shaping regional and multilateral arrangements for cooperation in SAARC, OIC, ECO, D-8 and Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD). With active participation in the OIC, we ensured stronger OIC support to the Kashmir cause.

Pakistan will be hosting the 19th SAARC Summit in Islamabad in November this year. SAARC Connectivity agreements are under active consideration.

Pakistan’s Associate Membership of CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) in September 2015 was a recognition of major achievements made by Pakistani scientists and technicians in the scientific field, especially in peaceful uses of nuclear energy and research.

Finally, Pakistan continued its lead role in the United Nations and other international fora, on important issues of peace and security, socio-economic development, climate change and human rights:

We maintained effective and strong position on Kashmir dispute at the UN and other multilateral fora. Prime Minister’s principled stance on Jammu and Kashmir in his addresses during the UNGA were reflective of the nation’s sentiments.

Pakistan and its partners in the ‘Uniting for Consensus’ (UFC) Group, have successfully defended our principled position on expansion of UN Security Council and countered the G-4 campaign for permanent membership of the UN Security Council.

Despite pressing commitments within the country, we remain a lead contributor to UN peacekeeping missions.

Pakistan mustered international support leading to the adoption of a resolution by the United Nations Human Rights Council in March 2015 against drone strikes.

Efforts towards promotion and protection of human rights i.e. establishment of the National Commission on Human Rights, approval of a National Action Plan, and submission of reports on various human rights conventions (CRC, ICERD, ICCPR, ICESCR and CAT) to the UN were acknowledged.

Success in Pakistan’s claim for extension in continental shelf in 2015, accorded to us an additional area of approximately 50,000 sq. km.

Pakistan maintained its strong profile at the international level through membership of the principal organs and other key bodies of the UN system. During the period, Pakistan won 17 out of 18 elections contested for various UN bodies.

These solid accomplishments have laid the basis for even greater achievements in the coming years provided we successfully address the emerging challenges, maintain political stability by further strengthening democratic institutions and traditions and consolidate the economic gains we have achieved in the past three years.

Future Challenges and Priorities

In this fast moving, crisis ridden phase of world history, new security and foreign policy challenges keep emerging every day, every week and every month. According to a famous author, a country has security when it does not have to sacrifice its legitimate national interests to avoid war and is able to protect them through war, if challenged. Pakistan has so far, largely fulfilled this national security imperative through a vibrant foreign policy and persistent efforts of its institutions and diplomatic assets.

The Foreign Office is constantly analyzing global and regional events and trends to formulate feasible policy options. Based on this analysis, Pakistan’s foreign policy challenges and priorities for the coming year will include the following:

Consolidating the success achieved in eliminating terrorism and extremism through intensify the implementation of the National Action Plan. The Karachi Cleanup Plan initiated in September 2013, launch of operation Zarb-e-Azb in June 2014 and the comprehensive National Action Plan set into motion in January 2015, have led to a 60 percent reduction in cases of suicide attacks and bomb blasts in 2015, bringing about a significant improvement in the overall security situation. These gains will be consolidated to ensure that “no armed militias are allowed to function in the country”.

The gradual implementation of this policy, combined with efforts to revive the intra Afghan dialogue process under the QCG and deeper engagements with Afghan leadership and security agencies would help to bring down the level of insurgency in Afghanistan. This is necessary for maintaining peace and stability in the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Continue and intensify engagement with USA at different levels to achieve our common objectives of durable peace in Afghanistan and sustainabilic stability in South Asia.

Formulation of a multi-dimensional implementation plan to ensure effective and timely completion of all CPEC projects, full protection to Chinese workers and experts and countering all subversive and negative moves against CPEC.

Wide ranging preparations will be undertaken to ensure the success of the SAARC Summit which will be hosted by Pakistan in November 2016 in Islamabad and leads to improved relation and cooperation with all SAARC member countries.

Continue efforts for greater self reliance in armaments and greater diversification for sources of procurement for defence equipment with emphasis on the importance of maintaining strategic and conventional balance in South Asia, as an important pre-requisite for improving Pakistan relations with India.

Expand mutually beneficial economic relations with all countries including South East Asian countries, Japan, Republic of Korea and African countries.

Increase share of skilled workers in the GCC countries and actively promote the well being of Pakistani diaspora in the Middle East and other countries.

In addressing these and other challenges that will undoubtedly emerge, the Foreign Office will continue to need support and guidance from the political leadership including the Opposition and the Parliament.

Now the Floor is open for Questions

Question

You gave a view of our foreign policy in the past three years. However, there is a strong public perception of the need of a permanent Foreign Minister to run an affective foreign policy. All perceived shortcoming in our policy are usually attributed to the absence of a foreign minister. Your comments. (Shaukat Paracha – Aaj TV)

Answer

This is not the first time that this is happening. If you look at our history, many Prime Ministers like Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Pandit Lal Nehru and the first PML-N government under Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif did not have de jure foreign ministers.

Even when you have a Foreign Minister, Prime Minister is a de facto Foreign Minister, because a nation’s foreign and national security policies are of primary importance.

Foreign Policy is also a consultative process between a country’s multiple institutions. In the United States, for example, foreign policy formulation is shared between the State Department, the White House, the Pentagon and other security institutions.

Then the issue of nomenclature has to be seen in a proper prospective. It is not important whether the person heading the Foreign Ministry is called an Adviser or a Minister. Recently, opposition leader Qamar Zaman Kaira rightly remarked that designation is not important – it depends as to how much role is accorded to the civilian side. I was Foreign Minister earlier in 1998-99. However, I feel that I have more responsibility now because of the external challenges faced by Pakistan.

If you remember, the PPP government, for example, had a “Finance Minister” very briefly. The finance ministry, which equally, was generally run by an Adviser.

On a lighter note, I wonder how hard I would have to work if I became a “full” foreign minister because even as a “part time” Foreign Minister I can work eleven-twelve hours a day.

Question

Don’t you think Pakistan is losing support internationally on various issues of importance in the last three years? Specifically, recently we seem to have lost US support on vital issues. Do you think the US will support our entry into the Nuclear Supplier Group, and our diplomatic efforts would be successful? (Fakhar-ur-Rahman – Turkish News Agency)

Answer

We have an important relationship with the United States which has historically been marked by highs and lows. When we started the strategic dialogue in 2013, the US itself announced that it wanted to convert our “transactional” relationship into a “strategic” one. In my meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry in 2014 and in my opening statement, I had asked the difference between a transactional and a strategic relationship. I told him then that the foremost ingredient of a strategic relationship is “trust”. Our second requirement was that the US should take our security interests into consideration, because if their growing relationship with India would upset the regional balance in South Asia, we would not be able to take this strategic relationship much further. I also emphasized that the relationship needed to change from a security relationship to a broader one including trade, investment, development and other issues. This is now happening under the Strategic Dialogue.

Our relationship with the United States has many areas of mutual interest, including Afghanistan and Pakistan’s role in the region and the world as a moderate democratic Islamic State. Our role in the region cannot be replaced by any other country. You have to see the strengthening of US relations with India in the larger geo-political context. As far as our relations with the US are concerned they are still relevant and important. However, if their relationship with India upsets the conventional and nuclear balance in the region, it would affect our ties and would also be detrimental for peace in the region. It is true that we ourselves are responsible for the security of Pakistan, but we do not want other countries, especially our friends, to upset the strategic balance in the region and make our task more difficult.

Question

What is the place of Kashmir in your future priorities and challenges, especially considering the Indian government’s efforts to change the demography of the state? (Rashida Sial – Channel-5)

Answer

Kashmir is an important and fundamental part of our foreign policy. In my presentation, I mentioned that our role in the United Nations is focused on Kashmir. The United Nations resolutions on Kashmir for the self-determination of Kashmiris have not yet been implemented. There can be no peace in South Asia and progress in relations between India and Pakistan, both nuclear states, unless this issue is resolved. Similarly, at a bilateral level, Kashmir is an important part of the proposed Composite Dialogue. India only wants to focus on terrorism but we have told them that no meaningful dialogue is possible without discussing Kashmir. The desire for self-determination is again on the rise in Indian occupied Kashmir due to the anti-Muslim policies in India. Concerns have been raised in the US Congress also about the treatment to minorities and other human rights issues. A lot of agitation is going on in Kashmir. Pakistani flag is being raised all over the valley. Ultimately, the people of Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK) will get their rights through their own efforts. We can only provide political and diplomatic support and we will continue to do that.

Question

It seems that our neighbouring countries are forging an alliance against us due to their opposition to CPEC. There is also speculation that the recent drone strike was also carried out in that context. These countries are also opposed to our peace efforts under QCG. Do you think we need to review our policies? (Asghar Ali Mubarak – Daily Islamabad)

Answer

It is only natural that when you achieve a foreign policy success, your adversaries would try to disrupt or create impediments. This is our challenge.

That is why implementation of CPEC as well as thwarting the designs of our adversaries is one of the important priorities of this government. Our policy of peaceful neighbourhood is very important because our policies will complement each other in the future. When our connectivity with China will increase, it would also open opportunities with Central Asia. If the route through Pakistan is the shortest and the least expensive transit route, people will use it. There is so much potential for more connectivity in the region that Gwadar and Chabahar are not enough- we will need more ports in the region. After that, economics will take over- efficient ports will attract more traffic. There are many ports in the Far East but Singapore attracts more traffic because it is more efficient and provides better services. If Karachi and Gwadar ports are efficient and provide better services to both importers and exporters, they will attract more traffic.

Improving relations with our neighbours was a part of our manifesto and we have adopted this policy in the last three years. If CPEC is successfully implemented, it will be a game changer and will fundamentally improve our lives in the next twelve years. It’s not only the corridor, it is a major infrastructure project attracting investment in industry and generating employment. This will further increase as the project progresses towards its completion.

Question

You have not mentioned in the presentation the dossiers on Indian involvement in Karachi and Balochistan as well as the recent arrest of Kulbushan Yadav. Could you apprise us of the current status of the above two as well as the future course of action regarding our relations with India? Has the Indian government officially conveyed the non involvement of Pakistan in Pathankot? (Mateen Haider – Dawn News)

Answer

In my statement just now, I have called the issue of terrorism with India a “mutual” concern, meaning it’s not only their concern, it is our concern also. They try to implicate our non state actors whereas we have shown the world the involvement of their “state actors” in terrorism, who are involved in subversive activities in the tribal areas, Balochistan and Karachi. We will be adding fresh evidence and intelligence to the dossiers as new information is gathered from cases like Kulbhusan Yadav. Of course, we will be sharing it with other countries as well as UN.

It is positive that the Indians have themselves come to the conclusion that no Pakistan Agency is involved in the Pathankot incident. Earlier, their messages were mixed. But they have unequivocally announced the non involvement of the Pakistani state and its agencies. Regarding the involvement of non state actors, one can reach a conclusion only after investigation is complete. Just a few telephone calls cannot establish involvement of one group or the other. So this is a positive development as far as the Pathankot attack is concerned.

Question

We launched a historic operation against terrorists, the Zarb-e-Azb operation, but the international community does not recognize our sacrifices, resulting in the recent drone attack. Your comment. (Kauser Lodhi – Prime News)

Answer

This drone strike is a very unfortunate development because it has not only violated our sovereignty, it has also damaged the trust in our relationship with the United States. Moreover, it has undermined the Afghan peace process. We have conveyed it to the US that this attack has far reaching negative consequences. We are still unaware of the objectives and benefits of this strike. For us, it has only negative consequences.

Question

Regarding the peaceful neighbourhood policy, we are surrounded by neighbours on three sides with whom we have security and border related issues. The most negative role is being played by India. It is avoiding composite talks with us and is damaging our interests at every forum. How hopeful are you for better relationships with India and other neighbouring countries? (Khalid Jameel – Abb Tak)

Supplementary Question

Initially, there was some improvement and warmth in our relations with India, Iran and Afghanistan, but recently our relations have deteriorated. Regarding Afghanistan, what would be the government’s strategy to improve relations? (Muddasir Hussain – Khyber News)

Answer

I have earlier referred to our efforts to improve our relations with India.

Generally, our effort is to try and reduce tension, keep the Line of Control (LoC) peaceful, continuation of exchange of visits and trade and building of confidence so that the overall atmosphere is not vitiated.

The second important component of our policy is to emphasize on dialogue, i.e., all disputes must be resolved by talking to each other. This enjoys the support of the international community also. There is no doubt that Indian policies are hostile towards us but we have been able to protect our security and core interests well. At the same time, we have placed dialogue as the central plank of our policy with India. We will keep on following this policy in the future also.

It is correct that our relations with Afghanistan improved considerably but we also have to see ground realities. The insurgency in Afghanistan has increased after the exit of ISAF forces. The insurgency is present not only in the east and south of Afghanistan but has also spread to the north. A lot of innocent lives have been lost to this insurgency. They have unrealistic expectations from Pakistan. Whereas the Taliban cannot occupy all of Afghanistan, they can still fight for a long time. So, if peace has to come to Afghanistan, it can only come through dialogue between the government and the Taliban.

We offered our role and services, which are appreciated by everyone, that is our efforts in the QCG. But as you know, while the QCG process was on going, the drone strike occurred. Moreover, there is no consensus within Afghanistan to have talks with the Taliban. Similarly, there are reported differences among the Taliban; some groups want to talk some want to fight. This has to be an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process and we can play whatever part we can. In this regard, our focus on border management is very important. Instability in Afghanistan means instability in Pakistan. Our message to Afghanistan is to be patient and convey such proposals to the Taliban that will persuade them to the negotiating table. Besides Pakistan, the other three countries also have to share responsibility for bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table. It is not our sole responsibility. If all the four countries exert their collective influence in this direction, there will be progress.

Question

Sir, I need your views on the much-publicized visit of the US by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Do you think Pakistan’s interests are being hurt and balance of power in the region is being disturbed, as the Indo-US partnership grows in the defence sector? (Essa Naqvi – Dunya TV)

Answer

Increasing defence cooperation between India and USA will disturb the regional balance, both conventional and strategic. We are sharing our concerns regarding this with the whole world. We have to protect our self. As I have already said US has its own priorities linked to this region in the larger context of strategic interests, which is why US is cooperating with India, but we will fulfill all the requirements for strategic deterrence in this regard.

As regards Prime Minister Modi’s visit, you would have seen that the New York Times wrote very clearly that India should not be given membership of the NSG. Moreover, there were discussions in the US Congress regarding human rights violations in India.

If you take a look at the joint statement after the visit of our Prime Minister to the US, it had wide-ranging aspects. All countries try to enhance their relations according to their priorities. We are trying to enhance our relationship and connectivity with Central Asian countries and other Islamic countries. If you look at the bigger geo-political scenario, you will come to know that Pakistan is moving in the right direction.

On the lighter note, I am amused that when the Indian Prime Minister visits different countries, it is said that he is making successful visits, while on the other hand if our Prime Minister visits some countries, it is said that he is visiting too many countries.

Question

You have presented ten areas in which Pakistan had diplomatic success. But if we look at the ground realities, India is encircling us, and our differences with the US have increased. Is it not our diplomatic failure that we were not able to sell our narratives to the world?

Secondly, India has almost got membership of the MCTR, what is your response on it? (Baqir Sajjad-Dawn News)

Answer

The ten points which I have presented are in line with ground realities and these are solid achievements. They have been organized in a descending order according to importance. Then we have listed the challenges too, which include what you are saying.

All countries including the strongest ones have both achievements and challenges. I also discussed how we are dealing with challenges, how we are countering Indian hostility. Our relationship with the United States has its own dynamics and relevance. In the last decade, due to our economic problems we could not expand our economic and trade relations with the world. On the other hand, India improved its economic situation during this period and as a result enhanced its economic relations. Its relations with the Middle East are basically economic ties, whereas ours are very cultural, historical and strategic. And these two cannot be compared. With our economic revival, we will supplement our historic relations with the economic improvement. You have to see foreign policy dynamically, it cannot be black and white.

Kindly study the document that I gave you today. Kindly read it carefully. Nowadays it is fashionable to say that our foreign policy has failed. No foreign policy is a complete success or a complete failure. Therefore, I have presented a balance sheet in which you can see that our achievements and positives are far bigger than the negatives. The challenges will continue, we have dealt with them in the past and Inshallah we will successfully cope with them in the future.

Secondly, MTCR is a voluntary regime and we are examining it. We think that we are not yet ready for membership. India has hastened its membership of MTCR to gain importance in NSG. I don’t think that it will prove successful. There is a perception that we started a belated effort for membership of the NSG. This is incorrect. We have done very active diplomacy on this issue and our position is supported by many countries. Our view is that there should not be another exception for India like 2008. There should be a criteria based approach for membership of the NSG for all non-NPT signatory countries. I think we will be successful in it.

Our nuclear response arrangements are not much publicized but they have gone extremely well in the last few years, both from security as well as deterrence point of view. And we are mainstreaming ourselves in the global system.

Question

Sir, you discussed improvement Pakistan, Russia relations. You referred to the meeting of the PM with President Putin in Ufa and also pointed the North-South Gas Pipeline. But you have not mentioned our future priorities with reference to the improvement of our relations with Russia. (Amjad Ali-PTV)

Answer

I have talked about the diversification of relations. Surely, relations will improve. We are currently discussing buying defence equipment with them, including helicopters. Our efforts to strengthen relations will continue.

Question

I want to ask about the visit of the high level US delegation comprising of Richard Olson and Peter Lavoy. Sir, what is the schedule and agenda of their meetings? (Mona Khan- GEO TV)

Answer

I think I have just told you what our message would be. We will tell them that this drone attack has damaged our trust and also the peace process.

Question

The lawyer’s community of Gilgit-Baltistan is of the point of view that Gilgit-Baltistan should be granted similar status as that of the Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian constitution. In your opinion, what are the problems in giving such status? (Fida Hussain- Radio News Network)

Answer

Our committee is working on it we will share details when the report is finalized.

For more information, contact:
Mr. Aizaz Ahmad Ch
Spokesman
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Government of Pakistan
Tell: +92-51-9205494
Fax: +92-51-9204202
Cell: +92-336-5644459
Website: www.mofa.gov.pk