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Record of Press briefing by Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ spokesperson

Islamabad, January 28, 2016 (PPI-OT): At the outset, Fateha was offered for the departed soul of Sahabzada Yaqub Khan.

The Floor is open for Questions

Question

A couple of days ago, reportedly Saudi Foreign Minister denied any mediation efforts between his country and Iran. Your comments.

Secondly, Indian media reports indicate that Pakistan-India Foreign Secretary level talks are expected in early February. What are your comments? (Naveed Saddique – SAMAA TV)

Answer

I will not comment on media reports and speculations. However, let me reiterate that Pakistan considers efforts for promoting unity among the Muslim Ummah as a sacred duty. Leaders of both Saudi Arabia and Iran appreciated Pakistan’s initiative to reduce tensions between them. We are in touch with both the countries and our good offices remain available to them.

With regard to your second question, both sides are in touch. We will let you know the date of meeting of Foreign Secretaries of Pakistan and India when it is finalized.

Question

India spares no occasion to malign Pakistan in the context of terrorism. During French President’s visit to India, India once again pointed finger towards Pakistan. Your comments please (Amjad Ali – PTV)

Answer

Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Terrorism is not only India’s problem but also of Pakistan, our region and the world. It is, therefore, important to do away with the practice of unsubstantiated allegations as it undermines the efforts to eliminate the menace of terrorism from our region through a cooperative approach.

Pakistan has rendered enormous sacrifices while combating terrorism to make the world a safer and a better place. Our sacrifices have been appreciated by the international community. We, therefore, would have expected India-France Joint Statement on counter terrorism to acknowledge this fact.

Question

The French President during his visit to India asked Pakistan to expedite Mumbai attack trial while he did not ask India to expedite Samjhota Express trial. Your comments.

Secondly, he also signed a number of defence deals during the visit. Don’t you think this will lead to an arms race in the region? (Zarghoon Shah – Geo TV)

Answer

With regard to your first question, I would like to draw your attention to the question that was asked by Mr. Amjad Ali a short while ago. What you referred to is contained in the Joint Statement on counter terrorism issued during the visit of French President to India. I have responded to that.

We have repeatedly asked India to share with us the outcome of investigations into the Samjhota Express terrorist attack.

With regard to your question regarding defence deals, we wish to reiterate that international arms transfers should take into account the imperatives for maintaining strategic balance and stability in our region.

Question

I want your comments on a recent interview given by President Obama in which he said that Pakistan must do more against terrorism. He did not utter a single word in the condemnation of Bacha Khan University attack. Your comments.

Secondly, the Afghan Taliban have demanded the removal of their names from the UN blacklist. Will Pakistan support this demand? (Muddasir Hussain – Khyber TV)

Answer

International community, including the US, has acknowledged and appreciated Pakistan’s unflinching commitment to combating terrorism. We have suffered enormous human and financial losses in this effort. While our resources are overstretched, we remain determined to root out the menace of terrorism from the soil of Pakistan, as well as from the region through a cooperative approach.

At present, Operation Zarb-e-Azb is recognizably the biggest counter-offensive being conducted against terrorism by any single country in the world. While we remain determined to continue these operations, we hope that our friends, who are fully cognizant of our requirements in this fight, would also enhance efforts at their end to meet them expeditiously.

With regard to your second question, let me draw your attention to the meetings of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group. The third meeting of the Group will be held in Islamabad on 06 February 2016. All issues relating to peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan are being discussed by this Group.

Question

When Operation Zarb-e-Azb started, the entire international community supported us, but don’t you think that recent statements by American and French Presidents are an attempt to undermine the operation? (Fayyaz Raja – Channel 24)

Answer

The success of Operation Zarb-e-Azb against terrorism has been recognized and praised the world over. The operation will continue until the achievement of its objectives.

Question

Is there any concrete outcome of Pakistan’s desire to act as a mediator between Saudi Arabia and Iran? Will the Prime Minister be visiting a GCC country, probably Qatar, soon. (Kauser Lodhi – Prime News)

Answer

I have already responded to a question similar to your first question, asked earlier.

The Prime Minister will soon pay a bilateral visit to Qatar. We will announce the dates in due course.

Question

I would like your comments on dropping of bombs by Indian air force planes in Rajasthan near the Pakistan-India border. Although the bombs were dropped in Indian territory, it was in close proximity to the border. Is Pakistan concerned? (Mateen Haider – Dawn News)

Answer

We have seen media reports regarding the dropping of bombs in Rajasthan by IAF. We will seek details from our Mission in New Delhi in this regard.

Question

It has been Pakistan’s stand that no pre-conditions should be set regarding talks with the Taliban from any side. How do you see the pre-conditions set by the Taliban recently in the context of Quadrilateral Process? (Kamran Haider – Bloomberg)

Answer

Afghan Taliban does not participate in the Quadrilateral Coordination Group’s meetings.

I have repeatedly said that all issues related to the Afghan peace and reconciliation process will be discussed by the Quadrilateral Coordination Group. The third meeting of the Group will be held in Islamabad on 06 February 2016.

Question

We now know that the attack on Bacha Khan University was planned from Afghanistan. Have we lodged a strong diplomatic protest with the Afghan Government? Are we going to provide evidence to the Afghan Government and is there any proposal to constitute a joint investigation team (JIT) as in the case of Pathankot attack? (Saad Hussain – Weekly Pakistan)

Answer

Afghan Cd’A was called to the Foreign Office on 25 January 2016, for conveying Pakistan’s concern regarding the use of Afghan soil by certain terrorist elements. A Press Release was issued by the Ministry in this regard. It was stated in the Press Release that relevant details had already been shared with the Afghan side. I would not like to expand on the contents of the Press Release.

Question

There are reports that the Committee on the future status of Gilgit-Baltistan headed by the Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Mr. Sartaj Aziz had recommended making Gilgit-Baltistan a province. Is this true? (Fida Hussain – Radio News Network)

Supplementary Question

Syed Ali Geelani recently wrote a letter to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, suggesting that Gilgit-Baltistan should not be made a province of Pakistan. Your comments.

Answer

The present status of Gilgit Baltistan is well known. All questions regarding constitutional reforms in Gilgit Baltistan are being discussed by a Committee headed by Adviser Mr. Sartaj Aziz. I am not privy to its deliberations.

Question

We were told during Quadrilateral Coordination Group meeting in Kabul on 18 January 2016 that the four parties are going to identify a roadmap. Is there any roadmap? (Shaukat Paracha- AAJ TV)

Answer

Roadmap for peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan is being discussed by the Quadrilateral Coordination Group. Its next meeting will be held in Islamabad on 06 February 2016.

You would have noted that a joint press release was issued after the first two meetings of the Group, regarding the progress made on various issues including the roadmap during the two meetings. I believe that discussion on the roadmap for Afghan peace and reconciliation process will also be shared with media after the third meeting of the Group in Islamabad.

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

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