Home / Government Institutions / Record of the Press Briefing by Spokesman on 05 April 2012

Record of the Press Briefing by Spokesman on 05 April 2012

Islamabad: There are no opening remarks to make. If you have any question, you are welcome.

Questions and Answers Session:

Question

Hafiz Saeed’s issue is very much under discussion now-a-days. Do you think that the declaration of bounty on for Hafiz Saeed and new procedures for PIA flights operating to the US are part of US pressure tactics on NATO supply routes?

Answer

I have no comments to make as to the purpose of the US move, but Pakistan will not come under any pressure because ours is a principled position and a legal position. I really nothing to say on this issue what I said yesterday in response to a question on the subject. As for PIA flights to US, I may refer you to the Ministry of Defence or PIA.

Question

Were there any discussions in the meeting held by Pakistani authorities with the US Deputy Secretary of State, Mr. Thomas Nides about handling of Mr. Hafiz Saeed to US because previously it was said that this issue will be discussed in the meeting?

Answer

US Deputy Secretary was here in the foreign office yesterday and met with our Foreign Minister. A press release was issued yesterday. The two discussed the whole gamut of Pakistan-US relations and other important issues particularly Afghanistan. So, let us not get into specifics at this stage. All issues of mutual interest were discussed.

On Hafiz Saeed issue, we have clearly stated our position that there is no concrete evidence. Pakistan would prefer to have concrete evidence to initiate a legal process but in the absence of that we cannot do anything. There is no reason for us to believe that the US does not respect our judicial and legal system.

All such issues have to be addressed through legal procedures. It is not desirable to get into public discussion on these issues.

Question

A new residence of Osama bin Laden has been explored in Haripur. What do you think for how long this process of new explorations about Osama will continue while a year has elapsed since Osama’s death?

Answer

I have no comments to make.

Question

What is the international law regarding the announcement of bounty. Do you think the US has violated international law by announcing bounty on Hafiz Saeed and Abdur Rehman Makki?

Answer

I am not aware if there is any provision under international law regarding bounty on foreign nationals. This needs to be checked. The US has been making such announcements. In any case, it is only the state which has the sole jurisdiction over its nationals on its soil.

Question

We heard yesterday that the US respects Pakistan’s sovereignty but at the same time there is no hint from Washington or anywhere else that there would be an end to the drone strikes. Your comments please.

Answer

We are still waiting for our parliamentary process to complete. Meanwhile, we are in discussion with the US about drone strikes. We will see what final guidelines we get from the parliament and we would proceed accordingly.

Question

I have three questions; (i) President Zardari is going to visit India on Sunday and he will be having lunch with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. What particular discussions are being planned from our side, (ii) United Nations Special Rapporteur Christof Hynes has come up with certain views on the human rights situation in Kashmir, what is the perspective of Pakistan; and (iii) both President Obama and Deputy secretary of State Thomas Nides talked about the respect for Pakistan’s sovereignty along with US security interests. When diplomats talk about the security interest in the meetings, what exactly do they want to convey under the cover of “security interests”?

Answer

About your first question; we are of the view that the upcoming meeting between President Zardari and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over lunch will contribute towards achieving the President’s vision to promote intra-regional peace and prosperity in this part of the world and we are looking forward for a constructive engagement between the two leaders.

Obviously during the lunch the issues, which continue to take priority in our bilateral relations, will be discussed. Regarding your second question about the United Nations Special Rapporteur Christof Hynes conclusions we cannot agree more with him.

It is encouraging that the international community is increasing focusing on the serious human rights situation in Indian occupied Kashmir. There cannot be two views on the need to revoke the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act and other such acts which have brought nothing but misery to Kashmirs. Needless to say that the people of Jammu and Kashmir have been struggling for their right to self-determination and no amount of repression can take this fundamental right away from them.

On your third question related to security interests of the US, suffice it to say that both the countries share the objective of eliminating the scourge of terrorism. Both of us have been working together to achieve this shared objective. And we hope once our parliamentary process completes, our two countries will be able to work more effectively towards eradicating the menace of terrorism.

Question

We do hear in Washington and Kabul about the good Taliban and the bad Taliban. Do we also have this differentiation between good and bad Taliban in Pakistan.

Answer

It is not really for us to get into this. Our position was clearly reflected in our Prime Minister’s statement of 24th February, which called for an intra-Afghan dialogue. We believe that unless we have that dialogue it will continue to be very difficult to realise genuine and authentic reconciliation in Afghanistan.

Question

It has been reported that Pakistan and the US are working on a framework agreement which will basically address two key issues; (i) the compensation that will be made to our military to fight war on terror; and (ii) the charges to be paid by NATO to Pakistan for shipment of containers to Afghanistan. Are there any discussions on this framework agreement?

Answer

As I said earlier we are discussing all these matters, but the final outcome would hinge on what final policy guidelines we get from our parliament. We will not pre-empt the parliamentary review. Different ideas are being discussed but nothing is final yet.

Question

After Pakistan has officially defended Hafiz Saeed and we know that since the Defence of Pakistan Council has appeared as the pressure group against the reopening of the NATO supply routes, I want to know whether the US has taken Pakistan into confidence before announcing the bounty on Hafiz Saeed? So, the statement about defending Hafiz Saeed by the Government of Pakistan is for public consumption only or we really mean it?

Answer

No, we really mean it when we say that we don’t have any concrete evidence to proceed legally. The Government of Pakistan cannot proceed against any individual without undeniable and maintainable evidence.

Question

Do you have any update about the Russian support on the IP Gas Pipeline, My second question is about the invitation by North Korea to several states as it is launching its satellite. Has Pakistan received any such invitation and will Pakistan attend the event?

Answer

We have been discussing with Russia about bilateral cooperation in the energy sector. As I mentioned last week, a technical delegation was to visit Moscow to carry forward those discussions, but I do not yet have feedback on the visit. As for your second question, I don’t think we have received on invitation from North Korea.

Question

If Pakistan does not have any proof against Hafiz Saeed, why the Government of Pakistan banned Lashkar e Tayyeba and Jamaat ud Dawah and Hafiz Saeed’s entry into Islamabad capital territory and why there was action against his organizations during the Musharraf regime? Was that done under US pressure?

Answer

You are talking about two different things organizations and individuals. I think a parallel cannot be drawn between the two.

Question

Osama was on the most wanted list of America, they launched an operation against him. Now, Hafiz Saeed is on their most wanted list, so, can we foresee an operation against him?

Answer

I think the US has clarified it position yesterday by saying that the announcement of bounty is for information or evidence against Hafiz Saeed, and Hafiz Makki, meaning that there is not enough evidence yet against them. We find it somewhat strange.

Question

There is a report that Afghan President Karzai has invited Prime Minister Yusuf Reza Gilani to visit Afghanistan. What do you say about it. Are there dates for the visit?

Answer

There is no date yet for a visit.

Question

Is there any pressure from the US to expedite the parliamentary process currently going on in Pakistan for restoration of NATO supply routes?

Answer

I am not aware of any such pressure. The US respects our parliamentary process and our parliamentary process has its own timeframe and dynamics. There is no present as I know.

Question

There is a proposition that US is trying to bypass Pakistan’s demands on bringing the Salala attackers to justice. Is this a valid proposition and what your assessment is after the recent Pak-US talks.

Answer

There is no gainsaying that the Salalah incident has setback our relations. We have our own position on the Salalah incident, including demand that action should be taken against those who committed the Salalah attack or who were involved in the incident. There is no change in our position.

Question

We are developing good relations with Russia. At the same time you know that yesterday, a nuclear attack submarine, supplied by Russia, establishes India’s second strike capability in the Indian Ocean and most probably against Pakistan because we are the regional adversary for them. Is Pakistan doing anything to counter that and secondly, we are trying to be friends with India despite the core issue of Kashmir. Don’t you think that the President’s trip to Ajmer can overshadow lots of critical problems?

Answer

Pakistan is cognizant of requirement to maintain the credibility of its deterrence. So, there is no question of being oblivious to developments taking place in our region. What I can tell you is that Pakistan, under all circumstances will maintain credibility of its strategic deterrence.

On your second question, we attach importance to high level interaction between Pakistan and India that does not mean that Pakistan is budging from its principled position on Jammu and Kashmir dispute. We are of the view that just and fair settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute is a sine qua non for viable and lasting peace in South Asia.

Question

Bruce Riedel who is a US expert on Pakistan and terrorism has said in an interview just two days back that Osama bin Laden had communication links with Hafiz Saeed. What is your take on it and has US officially communicated this link before announcing bounty on Hafiz Saeed and Abdur Rehman Makki?

Answer

He may be an expert on terrorism but it is not mandatory for us to agree with whatever he says or writes: As I said earlier, no government can function on the basis of speculation and hearsay when it comes to legal matters. We will need concrete evidence to take further action.

For more information, contact:
Syed Haider Ali Jafri
Personal Secretary
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Government of Pakistan
Tel: +9251 921 0335 and 9056604

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