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Record of Press Briefing by Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson on 20 February 2015

Islamabad, February 20, 2015 (PPI-OT):

Opening Remarks

There are no opening remarks.

The floor is now open for Questions

Question:

Sometimes back, there were efforts to bring peace between Afghan Taliban and Afghanistan Government backed by US administration in Qatar. Once again, we are listening the same reports. If Pakistan is playing any facilitation role in it or otherwise? (Syed Mohsin Raza-Such TV)

Answer:

There have been a number of reports on this issue. The DG ISPR has already clarified the matter yesterday. Our position is very clear that we have been reiterating it from this forum as well. Peace and stability in Afghanistan are very important for Pakistan. We believe it is for the Afghan Government to lead the efforts for reconciliation in Afghanistan.

Any reconciliation process has to be Afghan led and Afghan owned. Pakistan, as a neighbor and as a country that has vital stakes in peace and stability in Afghanistan, is ready to provide whatever assistance we can. We are ready to facilitate the reconciliation process to the extent possible. On the reports regarding the US talks as well. I would not comment on media reports and speculations.

Question:

According to Media reports, former special envoy of Prime Minister for India Major General M.A Durrani has been visiting India for talks. His trip to India is in official capacity as special envoy of Prime Minister of Pakistan on India or it is his private visit to India? (Shoukat Paracha-Aaj TV)

Answer:

There are number of track-II initiatives and events between Pakistan and India which take place regularly. I understand that General Durrani is part of track-II efforts. While the track-II efforts are positive, they do not and cannot replace the direct, formal and structured talks between Pakistan and India. We believe that the issues between the two countries need to be resolved through dialogue. This is vital for peace, stability and prosperity in the region.

Question:

When Pakistan reiterates that we are ready to facilitate Afghan peace process, how we can do that and what are the mechanisms available for facilitating the peace process in Afghanistan? (Shoukat Paracha-Aaj TV)

Answer:

There may be different initiatives for the reconciliation process between Afghan Government and Taliban. These mechanisms do not need to be in the media domain.

Question:

Today is the anniversary of Samjahuta Express terrorist attacks which took place in India in 2007 in which many Pakistanis lost their lives. Do you have any information on the investigations of the incident and trial of the accused? (Waqas Rafique-Capital TV)

Answer:

Outcome of the investigations into Samjhauta Express terrorist attack has not been shared with Pakistan, despite assurances at the highest political level. There has been no progress reported in the investigations, let alone trial. We are concerned at the lack of progress in the investigations despite a lapse of over eight years.

We are also deeply concerned at the grant of bail to Swami Aseemanand, the perpetrator and main witness who identified others who were involved in this terrorist attack including serving Indian Army officer, Col Prohit, and other personnel. On the anniversary of the incident, we reiterate our demand that the Government of India expeditiously conclude the investigations and punish the perpetrators.

Question:

Regarding the fishing boat that was blown up, the latest thing which came from India is that India had blown the vessel. Before, they said that they did not blow it?(Waqas Rafique-Capital TV)

Answer:

Yes we have seen the media reports. Having remained shrouded in mystery since day one, the drama of the so-called ‘terror boat’ is now unfolding. As we had mentioned earlier, our authorities conducted their own investigations in the wake of Indian media reports.

These investigations concluded that neither any Pakistani boat was missing nor has there been any evidence so far to suggest that it was a Pakistani boat. The latest Indian media reports actually confirmed our findings. We have noted the statements, their retractions, confusion and controversies that this trigger happy episode has created in India.

Question:

The Indian Foreign Secretary forthcoming visit to Pakistan is a formal resumption of dialogue between the two countries or it is just a routine visit being taken to all SAARC member countries? (Shabbir Ahmad Waghara _ PTV World)

Answer:

Pakistan believes that the issues and disputes between Pakistan and India need to be resolved through dialogue for peace, stability and prosperity in the region. We have never shied away from engaging India. We welcome the decision of the Prime Minister of India to send the Foreign Secretary to Pakistan. The dates have not been confirmed yet. The two Foreign Secretaries will hold talks to discuss all issues of common interest. Agenda is yet to be finalized.

Question:

Recently the EU delegation was in Pakistan and in their interaction with Media they have expressed strong reservations on issuance of death penalty in Pakistan recently. Can you share the details of reservations they have conveyed to the Government of Pakistan? (Zarghoom Shah-Geo TV)

Answer:

The EU has its own position and as a sovereign country, we have our own laws on the issue. We award death penalty in Pakistan in most serious cases. We are not in violation of any international law. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Pakistan is a party and is often quoted as an instrument which restricts the use of death penalty. The Covenant provides that countries which have death penalty in their laws may restrict its exercise in most serious offences only. What can be more serious than acts of terrorism?

Question:

My first question is about the Taliban-Afghan Government talks in China. Whether Pakistan has any role in it because certain reports suggest that Pakistan is on board? Secondly, three days ago there was news from Afghanistan that the Chief Executive Abdulah Abdulah said that a delegation is going to Pakistan to raise the issue of refugees. So, is any delegation coming? (Imdad Hussain_ Online)

Answer:

First as regard to the refugees, the Foreign Secretary visited Afghanistan recently in connection with Pakistan- China- Afghanistan trilateral meeting.

During his visit, it was agreed that a high level delegation would visit Pakistan to discuss the repatriation of Afghan refugees to Afghanistan. You know that we have an agreement with Afghan Government and the UNHCR which sets the deadline of 31 December 2015 for repatriation of all Afghan refugees to Afghanistan. The delegation would discuss the modalities of the return of Afghan refugees. We have been emphasizing that Afghan government and UNCHR need to create the pull factor in Afghanistan which would give the incentives to refugees to return.

Regarding your second question, again as I have already said our policy is that we are ready to facilitate the reconciliation process in Afghanistan to the extent possible for Pakistan.

Question:

The EU delegation also told the media persons that they have sought the access to observe the military courts proceedings. What was the response of the government of Pakistan in this regard?(Ali Hussain-Business Recorder)

Answer:

I am not aware of any request of this nature. Given the seriousness of the issue of terrorism, the military courts have been established and they have been established constitutionally through an act of Parliament.

Question:

I just want to know about the recent visit of the Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar to the US. Was it an official visit and what was the outcome of this visit? (Anwar Abbas_ Waqt News)

Answer:

The Interior Minister went to the United States to attend a conference organized by the US government on countering violent extremism. He was invited to the conference. The Interior Minister also addressed the conference. We have comprehensive roadmap in the form of the National Action Plan to counter the threat of violent extremism.

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

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