Friday, 10 October 2014

Foreign Affairs Press Briefing on 10th OCT 2014






Inline image 1 
Record of the Press Briefing by Spokesperson on 10th October 2014



Opening Remarks
In the last briefing there was a question about UN Resolutions and bilateralism between Pakistan and India. One news paper next day had the headline “Bilateral dialogue on Kashmir undermines UN Security Council Resolutions: Foreign Office”

This is just the opposite of what was said. My request to you would be to be careful and scrupulously adhere to what has been said.  

Now the floor is now open for Questions

Question
I would like to have your comment on recent LoC and Working Boundary violations by India and also the reported hacking of Pakistan Peoples Party’s website by Indian hackers. (Syed Musharaf Kazmi, Daily Masawat)

Supplementary Question 1:
Please refer to the Times of India report which quotes the Indian BSF Chief as saying that the only way to bring Pakistan to the negotiating table is intense fire. How do you see this statement?

Also, do you have any update on the UNMOGIP investigations that were taking place on the LoC?(Zarghoon Shah, Geo News)

Supplementary Question 2:
There is a growing sense especially in India that Pakistan is going to insist on UN or third party mediation on the LoC situation. India alleges that Pakistan is indulging in heavy shelling to attract international attention to Kashmir problem. How do you see this? (Waqas, Capital TV)

Supplementary Question 3:
The situation on the LoC is a signal of a much a larger problem. India has been indicating the generation of a debate on article 370 of their own constitution. How do you assess the overall policy of India on Kashmir now that PM Modi has taken over?

Also Pakistan is already in the midst of an operation at its western border. Do you see some changes in our deployment pattern now that the eastern border with India is also volatile? (Wajahat Ali, Channel News Asia)

Answer
The last question is not a Foreign Policy question. Perhaps ISPR may be able to respond to your questions about deployment of troops.

On the question of escalation of violations by India on the Line of Control, we issued a statement last week and subsequently, there was also a statement by Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs. Today, the National Security Committee meeting is taking place as we speak and there likely will be a statement on the deliberations in the NSC.

As regards the motives, I don’t think any motives can be ascribed to Pakistan. We are simply responding to a situation that has been created on the line of control and the working boundary. We did not start the violation of the ceasefire, we have not escalated the situation and our response has been strong but measured. You may keep in mind that on the other side of the LoC, there are Kashmiris who are our own brothers and sisters. They are our own people. So, we are exercising great care to avoid civilian casualties to the extent possible.

As regards the involvement of UNMOGIP, you would recall that some days back, the UN observers were taken to the LoC and the Working Boundary to show them the damage and the pattern of fire from the other side. They would have compiled their report and sent it to the UN as per their SOPs. UMMOGIP is a neutral observer. They are here to monitor the situation .So, the best option would be for India to allow them visit the LoC as we facilitate their visit to our side of the Line of Control and working boundary. They can then come up with their own findings and recommendations. That should be acceptable to India if indeed it believes that LoC violations were started by Pakistan.

Zarghoon! I would not like to comment on statements given by different Indian officials. Pakistan is a sovereign country. Pakistan is a strong country. By firing on the LoC or by escalating the situation on the LoC, Pakistan cannot be brought to the negotiating table. In fact, Pakistan has done all it could to promote peace and for resumption of the dialogue process with India. It was India which cancelled the scheduled Foreign Secretary level talks in August this year. This argument, therefore, makes no sense.

Question
Do you think that the unprovoked firing of India along the LOC and Working Boundary can be a reaction to the strong speech made by our Prime Minister in United Nations General Assembly, where he very powerfully raised the issue of Kashmir? 
Secondly, you referred to UNMOGIP and also said that India should allow them but there are on- record statements from Indian leaders that they do not attach any importance to this group. The group has also given their observations and findings on a number of times but India did not honor or comply with these. Your comments please.  (Mateen Haider, Dawn News)

Answer
Well, the UNMOGIP observers have a UN mandate. They are present in India as well. They have an office in Delhi. We do not speculate about the reasons why India is doing it.

As regards the Prime Minister’s statement at the UNGA, as he himself said, advocacy of the right of self-determination of people of Kashmir is Pakistan’s historic responsibility and a commitment. That should be understood. I will not guess the reasons.


Question
My first question is about the total loss due to the recent cross border violations. Secondly, is there any possibility that the Foreign Secretaries of Pakistan and India can meet before the upcoming SAARC Conference, what is the latest on this? (Fayyaz Chaudhery, APP)
Answer
Well, on the talks, I have nothing to share.

About the loss, both in terms of human life and damage to the property and livestock, I think more accurate figures would be available with the military channels, the Rangers or the DG ISPR.

Question
There has been escalation in the frequency of drone strikes .What is the reason behind it? (Khawaja Nayyar Iqbal, Kashmir Post)

Answer
This question should be addressed to the US Administration. Our position, that we have reiterated a number of times, remains unchanged.

Question
In the past we have seen that whenever any country showed any aggression towards Pakistan, its Ambassador was called and protest was officially lodged but this time we have not seen that. What is the reason behind it?    
Secondly, why Pakistan delayed so much its response to these cross border violations? (Fida Hussain, Radio News Channel FM 99
Answer
Our reaction was timely. We issued a statement and in that statement we clearly stated that we have lodged a protest with India through diplomatic channels. Please visit our website.

Question
Few days ago some Iranian Security personnel were killed by terrorists near Pakistan border. Iranian police Chief has said that terrorists have safe heavens on Pakistani soil. So, what practical measures Pakistan has taken so far to stop these terrorist attacks and to make the border more secure? (Abdul Reza Manafi, IRNA)

Answer
The border between Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan, because of the circumstances and the events in the region, has seen undesirable activities. This is something on which we need to work together. It is in the interest of both countries to share intelligence. We have several mechanisms like the border management committee which meets quiet frequently or as and when required. These issues of better border management should be taken to that committee. They would not be resolved through public statements.
I do not share the view that the miscreants who create problems inside Iran have safe havens inside Pakistan. Your question in itself contains the response- that the event you cited took place near Pakistan border but inside Iran.


Question
Now the cease fire violation by India is not only taking place on LOC but also on the International border. Pakistani citizens have been killed. Do we still go by the routine process through UNMOGIP or are we going to take further steps. We have international mechanisms if the situation is not solved. Are we going to take this matter to the international forums? (Tariq Mehmood, News One TV)

Answer
The matter of escalation and violations of ceasefire by India was taken up by our Permanent Representative to the UN in New York during the General Assembly debate. Naturally, the international community is also watching. There have been statements expressing concern and calling for the need of resumption of dialogue to resolve the disputes between Pakistan and India.

Question
During the last week there have been at least six drone strikes in which 28 people have been martyred. Similarly, there have been 17 casualties from the cross border violation from India along the LOC and Working Boundary. While Foreign office has condemned these cross border violations and has called the Indian High Commissioner but our Prime Minister did not raise the issue of drone strikes in UN General Assembly. Should it be considered that Foreign Office has made a compromise on the casualties from drone strikes and it condemns only the killing of people from Indian firing? (Rana Ibrar, INP)

Answer
We repeatedly, from this forum and at every forum, have explained our position. We condemn drone strikes for violation of our territorial integrity and collateral damage. We have done detailed briefings about how we are proceeding on this issue and how far we have succeeded in building international public opinion and a legal body of opinion on this issue.  

Compiled and Edited by:

KANWAL ABIDI  
*Politcal Analyst 
*Pakistan / GCC Journalist