Office of the Spokesperson
Transcript of the Press Briefing by Spokesperson on Thursday, 25 June, 2020
[This is a rush transcript. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated]
Bismillah Ir Rehman Nir Rahim,
Today is the 326th day of the continued oppression, deliberate acts of terrorizing, inhuman lockdown and military siege faced by the innocent people in the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
In recent act of state terrorism, the Indian occupation forces during their continued so-called cordon and search operations, fake encounters martyred fourteen (14) Kashmiris, including Irshad Ahmad Dar, Syed Shakir, Nadeem Zaman, Jahangir Ahmad, Aadil Hussain, Muhsin Ahmad, Shahnawaz Ahmad, Faisal Mushtaq, Shakoor Farooq ,Shahid Ahmad , Mohsin Nabi ,Owais Ahmad and Azaj Ahmad in Srinagar, Shopian, Pulwama and Kulgam areas of IOJ&K.
Pakistan strongly condemns the unabated extra-judicial killings of Kashmiri youth by the Indian occupation forces in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K). The Indian occupation forces have martyred more than 110 innocent Kashmiris during the past 5 months. The BJP leadership must realize that it is directly responsible for these politically motivated, arbitrary killings of Kashmiris by the Indian security forces. International law prohibits the arbitrary deprivation of life and extra-judicial killings. This norm is codified in every major human rights treaty and convention. No illegal Act, such as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), can sanctify or provide legal cover to a crime recognized as such by international law.
On the Line of Control, ceasefire violations by Indian security forces continue unabated. As a result of recent violations and mortar and artillery shelling on the LoC in Hajipir and Bedori sectors, 13 year old Iqra Shabbir embraced shahadat; while Zahida Bano and 12 year old Saddam Rafique, sustained serious injuries, all are residents of Mensar village.
India has committed 1440 ceasefire violations in these six months, resulting in 13 shahadats and serious injuries to 104 innocent civilians. We condemn the targeting of innocent civilians by the Indian occupation forces, which are in clear violation of the 2003 Ceasefire Understanding and in complete disregard for international human rights and international norms.
Pakistan also categorically rejects and strongly condemns the baseless allegations made by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs as a pretext to seek 50% reduction in the staff strength of the High Commission for Pakistan in New Delhi. Pakistan completely dismisses allegations of any violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations by the officials of the High Commission for Pakistan in New Delhi. Our diplomats and officials have always functioned within the parameters of international law and diplomatic norms.
The latest Indian action is a part of India’s desperate attempts to divert attention from its state-terrorism and worst human rights violations in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IoJ&K). India would be better advised to focus on its internal and external issues, rather than creating diversions at the cost of peace and stability in South Asia. Pakistan has been consistently sensitizing the world community that irresponsible policies of the BJP government are increasingly imperiling regional peace and stability.
Separately, On Pakistan’s call, an Emergency virtual meeting of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu & Kashmir was held on 22 June which, focused on the worsening situation in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K).
In his statement at the emergency meeting, Foreign Minister Qureshi apprised the OIC Contact group members on India’s illegal and unilateral steps of 5 August 2019. He stated that the RSS-BJP dispensation in India was bent upon perpetuating India’s illegal occupation of IOJ&K to pursue its Hindutva agenda. The Foreign Minister welcomed the important pronouncements made by OIC and its human rights body, IPHRC, which rejected India’s illegal actions in IOJ&K. He highlighted that the adoption of the Ministerial Communiqué by the Contact Group further manifests the OIC’s commitment to the Kashmir cause.
In the unanimously adopted Communiqué, the Contact Group:
- Reaffirmed its support for the legitimate struggle of the Kashmiri people for realization of their inalienable right to self-determination and freedom from Indian occupation;
- Rejected the newly-notified “Jammu & Kashmir Reorganization Order 2020” and “Jammu & Kashmir Grant of Domicile Certificate Rules 2020” aimed at changing the demographic structure of IOJ&K; and
- Expressed concern over India’s intensified ceasefire violations on the Line of Control (LoC).
- The Contact Group demanded from India to:
- Rescind its unilateral and illegal actions, and allow the Kashmiri people to freely exercise their right to self-determination through a UN-supervised plebiscite;
- Halt its human rights violations; stop indiscriminate use of force; lift the unabated military siege and inhuman lockdown; repeal its draconian emergency laws; allow exercise of fundamental freedoms; and release all illegal detainees;
- Stop any moves towards changing the demographic structure of IOJ&K, as they are illegal and in violation of international law, particularly the 4th Geneva Convention;
- Provide unhindered access to the OIC, IPHRC and UN Fact Finding Missions, OIC Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Jammu and Kashmir, and international media to investigate into human rights violations in IOJ&K; and
- Agree to the call made in the OHCHR’s report to establish a Commission of Inquiry to conduct comprehensive independent international investigations on human rights violations.
Separately, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and our Missions abroad continue to facilitate and assist overseas Pakistanis across the world and facilitate their repatriation, in accordance with a comprehensive repatriation plan devised in consultation with all stakeholders.
During the past few days, 3,976 nationals returned from Saudi Arabia, 2,231 from U.A.E. and 263 from Iraq. As of 24 June 2020, 97,393 Pakistani nationals have been repatriated from more than 73 countries from across the world.
Question: There are no signs yet of any real progress to start intra-Afghan negotiations at a time when Afghan Government claims spike in attacks. Taliban are in defensive position and retaliate to operations by the Government forces. How does Pakistan view the current situation for the Afghan peace process? (Tahir Khan, NNI News Agency)
Supplementary Question: After Peace Agreement between the Taliban and the US, the direct engagement regarding the peace process between Afghan citizens and the Taliban has been minimal to the extent of two sessions which held in Moscow, which ended in gridlock without substantial progress. Has Pakistan sent a special message to Afghanistan to start Intra-Afghan Conference for Peace? What is your comment, please? (Asghar Ali Mubarak)
Answer: Pakistan believes that the peace process has reached a critical stage following signing of the U.S.-Taliban Peace Agreement. We hope that the release of prisoners will be completed as agreed in the U.S.-Taliban Peace Agreement at the earliest to pave the way for the start of Intra-Afghan Negotiations.
Question: Several countries have offered to host intra Afghan dialogue. Will Pakistan also offer to host the negotiations? (Tahir Khan, NNI News Agency)
Answer: It is up to the Afghan parties to decide the venue for Intra-Afghan Negotiations
Question: Any follow up activity following the Army Chief-led delegation’s visit to Kabul? (Tahir Khan, NNI News Agency)
Answer: The Chief of Army Staff visited Afghanistan on 9th June. During the visit, he met President Ashraf Ghani and Chairman High Council for National Reconciliation of Afghanistan Dr. Abdullah Abdullah. Talks were held on a wide range of issues of mutual interest, which are being closely followed up.
Question: My question is about last week meeting of Pakistan’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Mr. Sadiq with Afghan Taliban leader’s at Doha especially Mulla Barader; can you brief media about that meeting how it was fruitful for Pakistan? What Sadiq and Barader discuss in that consultative meeting? (Tariq Wardak, Daily Times)
Supplementary Question: PM’s Special Representative on Afghanistan Affairs Mohammad Sadiq met the Taliban political representatives in Qatar last week and also spoke to his Uzbek Counterpart, has Pakistan floated any proposal to bring the peace process on track? (Tahir Khan, NNI News Agency)
Answer: Ambassador (R) Mohammad Sadiq, Special Representative for Afghanistan visited Doha on 16-17 June 2020. During his visit, Ambassador (R) Mohammad Sadiq met Taliban leaders to discuss peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan. The Ministry shared the outcome of the visit through a press release. In his capacity as the Special Representative, he also had a discussion with his counterpart from Uzbekistan. Pakistan supports strengthening of regional perspective for the ultimate aim of establishing peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Question: Afghan Ambassador Atif Mashal met with Razzaq Dawood and invite him to visit Kabul with trade delegation. How do you comment on it? (Tariq Wardak, Daily Times)
Answer: Adviser for Commerce, Textile and Investment Razzaq Dawood received Afghan Ambassador and discussed ways to strengthen trade between the two countries. For further details, you may like to approach Ministry of Commerce.
Question: How many borders are recently opened for trade with neighboring countries? What is the security situation on the borders? Did Pakistan complete fencing at the entire border or still in process? (Tariq Wardak, Daily Times)
Answer: At the request of the Afghan government and based on humanitarian considerations, Pakistan has opened its borders for trade with Afghanistan. Pakistan looks forward to early resumption of the trade at its maximum potential. The process of fencing as part of our efforts for effective border management remains a priority.
Question: Kindly comment on Pakistan’s stance on the US role in brokering “deal of the century”. What’s going to be our foreign policy for U.S. afterwards? Should we expect diplomatic response against United States or as usual just a formal superficial advocacy statements to follow international laws and will of the people in this matter? (Ali Jaswal, XInhua News Agency)
Answer: Pakistan has consistently supported a two-state solution, as enshrined in the relevant United Nations Security Council and General Assembly Resolutions.
Pakistan continues to support a just and lasting solution of the Palestinian issue, through dialogue and negotiations, that leads to the realization of the legitimate rights of the Palestinians, including the right of self-determination.
We renew our call for the establishment of a viable, independent and contiguous State of Palestine, on the basis of internationally-agreed parameters, the pre-1967 borders, and with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.
Question: U.S. has recently signed so called “Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020”, China condemned the move saying the issues in Xinjiang are nothing about human rights, ethnicity or religion, but combating violence, terrorism and separatism and that the move flagrantly interfered in China’s internal affairs. How would you respond to the development please? (Regards Raheela Nazir Xinhua News Agency)
Answer: Pakistan’s position is clear and consistent. We believe matters related to Xinjiang are China’s internal affairs.
Question: Can you please share reaction on Saudi government’s announcement on Hajj? It said the Saudi government will allow a very limited number of pilgrims of various nationalities, who already reside in the Kingdom to perform Hajj this year. Do you have any number, that how many Pakistanis will be able to perform Hajj this year? (Shumaila Jaffery Team Leader/ Pakistan Correspondent Indian Languages Service Islamabad)
Answer: The Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony has already spoken on this matter.
Question: Two Indian High Commission employees Dwimu Brahma and Selvadas Paul, who were briefly detained for being involved in a hit-and-run accident in Islamabad, triggering a diplomatic spat between India and Pakistan, returned to India through the Wagah-Attari border on Monday, 22 June 2020. Is their return follow up of Indian Ministry of External Affairs demarche? (Nuaman Ishfaq Mughal, Parliament Times)
Answer: Two officials of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad, Dwimu Brahma and Selvadas Paul were over-speeding and crashed their car into a pedestrian on 15 June 2020. During the course of investigation, fake currency was also recovered from these officials. After it was confirmed that they were officials of the Indian High Commission, they were released and handed over to a senior diplomat from the Indian High Commission. At the Indian High Commission’s request they returned to India on 22 June 2020.
Such illegal actions and reckless conduct by the officials of the Indian High Commission are against the law and established diplomatic norms. Indian High Commission personnel should not engage in illegal activities and adhere to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961.
Question: India has been elected as non-permanent member of the UNSC in a time when it has ongoing conflicts/disputes with its neighbouring countries i.e. China, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Do you think election of India as a non-permanent member of the UNSC will be harmful for India’s neighboring countries and regional peace and stability? Your comments please? (Asghar Ali Mubarak, The Daily Mail)?
Answer: The election of India raises fundamental questions. India stands in flagrant violation of several resolutions of the Security Council that mandate a UN-supervised plebiscite to enable the people of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K) to exercise their fundamental right to self-determination. Furthermore, India has border disputes with all its neighboring countries.
India’s gross and systematic violations of human rights in IOJ&K and the deteriorating situation for minorities in India have been extensively documented by international human rights and humanitarian organizations as well as the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in its successive reports. Indian actions in IOJ&K and beyond are a fundamental negation of the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.
Question: Indian government targeting Kashmiri youth in the Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IOJ&K) under the garb of so-called cordon and search operations. Voices around the world condemn the increasing wave of BJP-inspired hate crimes against Muslims. Is Pakistan planning to raise this issue at relevant international forums? (Asghar Ali Mubarak, The Daily Mail)
Answer: Pakistan has consistently raised this issue at all international forums and in all bilateral interactions at the leadership level. Recent statements condemning these gross human rights violations by OIC, UN Secretary General and UN Human Rights High Commissioner as well as other human rights organizations and the wider international community is a testimony to our efforts.
Question: Does Pakistan cooperate with India to contain the COVID-19 and locusts despite tensions? (Tahir Khan, NNI News Agency)
Answer: The global pandemic is a common challenge demanding international cooperation among all the countries.
At Pakistan’s request, under the aegis of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), a decision was made at the ministerial level meeting of Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Iran, to revive communication between the regional countries through FAO’s Commission for Controlling the Desert Locust in South-West Asia (SWAC) in March 2020. In response, each country, through SWAC, agreed to constitute a Technical and Operational Coordination (ToC) Team to exchange information; enhance coordination at the border areas; and increase synchronization to combat Desert Locust outbreak in the region.
Pakistan has been participating in SWAC meetings on weekly basis which are fruitful in exchanging information in the bordering areas of Pakistan and India. We believe that the respective Technical Teams have been coordinating appropriately through FAO.
Question: Is there a chance of total diplomatic cut down between Pakistan and India, since the situation between the two countries is further deteriorating? (Shafqat Ali, The Nation)
Answer: Pakistan has no desire to escalate the situation. We have always reacted with restraint. However, violation of diplomatic norms by Indian officials in Islamabad and India’s continued belligerent attitude is a threat to regional peace and security.
The latest Indian action to reduce the Pakistani High Commission’s staff strength by 50% is a part of India’s desperate attempts to divert attention from its state-terrorism and worst human rights violations in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IoJ&K). Pakistan has been consistently sensitizing the world community that irresponsible policies of the BJP government are increasingly imperiling regional peace and stability.
Question: What is Pakistan response to the US State Department’s country reports on terrorism? (Ms. Diaa Hadid, NPR)
Answer: We are disappointed with the U.S. State Department’s Annual Country Report on Terrorism for 2019, which is self-contradictory and selective in its characterization of Pakistan’s efforts for countering terrorism and terrorist financing.
While the Report recognizes that Al Qaeda has been seriously degraded in the region, it neglects to mention Pakistan’s crucial role in decimating Al Qaeda, thereby diminishing the threat that the terrorist group once posed to the world. Similarly, the Report acknowledges the sharp decrease in the incidence of terrorist attacks in Pakistan. However, it neglects to explain that this was only possible because Pakistan’s resolute counter-terrorism operations have targeted proscribed groups and outfits without discrimination.
Pakistan is fully aware of its responsibilities as a sovereign state. We reject any insinuation about any safe haven. Pakistan will not allow any group or entity to use its territory against any country. On the contrary, it is Pakistan that faces the threat of terrorism from externally based and foreign sponsored groups, like the TTP, ISIS-K and others. The Report is again either silent or vague on the origins and locations of these terrorist groups.