Islamabad, October 18, 2012 (PPI-OT): This is a rush transcript. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
There are no opening remarks to make. But I look forward to your questions.
Questions and Answers:
Reportedly, Mr. Mark Grossman, US Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, will visit Pakistan this current week. You definitely have a calculated story to share with us about the visit but the timing of his visit pre-empts that he may be visiting Pakistan to discuss modalities of possible operation in North Waziristan. Do you have anything to contradict this impression or you confirm it?
Yes, we are expecting Mr. Grossman’s visit to Pakistan but I cannot tell you exactly when. The visit is part of the ongoing engagements between the two countries and when he comes, the two sides will discuss all issues of mutual interest as well as concern. But I am not in a position to tell you what exactly will be discussed.
My question is regarding a story carried by Bangladeshi media regarding affair of Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. Is Foreign Office going to take any legal action or to lodge a protest against the Bangladeshi weekly newspaper for damaging the honour of Foreign Minister? My second question is who is going to be the next Pakistan’s new Ambassador to China.
There was a story in a newspaper that all three names sent to Presidency by Foreign Office have been turned down by the President and reportedly the President is backing a junior diplomat in Ministry of Foreign Affairs right against rules and merit. Would you please throw light that who is going to be the next Ambassador to China?
If there is a story in a newspaper and there is no rebuttal or clarification from the other side regarding that story then the story is taken as correct. Why there was no rebuttal of the story regarding the Hon’ble Foreign Minister?
Regarding your first question, I think the whole story was sickening and it was not even worth-commenting on. Regarding your second question, let me tell you that basically this is an administrative matter and there is a process involved for the selection of Ambassadors.
Proposals are prepared and submitted to the leadership, and at the end of the day it is the prerogative of the leadership to select whosoever they find suitable for the position. Since, it is an administrative matter, I am not in a position to discuss or say anything about it. Let me also tell you that as a normal practice until/unless the host government conveys its agreement we do not make any appointment public.
When the Russian Foreign Minister Mr. Lavrov visited Pakistan there were extensive discussions reportedly between the Government of Pakistan and the Government of Russia at the ministerial level. Were there any discussions regarding the security arrangements in Afghanistan or US withdrawal from Afghanistan?
The two sides did discuss Afghanistan and that there was a convergence of views on Afghanistan. Both sides attach great importance to peace and stability in Afghanistan. It is difficult to go into the details of various aspects of the discussions but I can tell you that the two sides did discuss Afghanistan and various related issues.
This is being discussed in various political quarters and social circles that Malala’s issue is being exploited by US authorities and to some extent by British and security forces of Pakistan as a justification for operation in North Waziristan. Your comments please?
I think it will be very unfortunate if we think this way. I think we need to think about what happened and what happened was extremely condemnable, reprehensible and there is no justification whatsoever. People will keep coming up with all sorts of stories and conspiracy theories, but I think we only need to focus or be concerned about the fact that she was attacked and it was a reprehensible act.
You have not denied about Mark Grossman’s visit to Pakistan that the two sides will discuss operation in North Waziristan. So, should it be taken as a correct news?
I have already responded to this question and I don’t have anything to add to that.
Please tell us in “Yes” or “No” that has the Foreign Office received any letter from the Government that is meant for the Swiss authorities?
I am not aware of that.
Were the matters of Afghan interference into Pakistan and the statement by Afghan President discussed during the recent meeting of President Zardari with the Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Baku?
My understanding is that there was no formal meeting between President Karzai and President Zardari in Baku. However, the President did meet with the Presidents of Iran and Azerbaijan and the Prime Minister of Turkey in Baku.
For more information, contact:
Syed Haider Ali Jafri
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Government of Pakistan
Tel: +9251 921 0335 and 9056604