[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 332nd day of the continued brutalization of innocent people in the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir; latest images of which were flashed across the world yesterday, depicting the level of callousness and inhumanity meted out by Indian occupation forces. The heart wrenching picture of the three year old boy in Sopore will forever remain seared in the imagination of all those who believe in humanity, human rights and fundamental freedoms. India cannot wash away the truth by fake news and turning its propaganda machinery faster.
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 Kayani and Jura sectors of the LoC, on 29th and 30th June 2020, 16 year old Muhammad Tauheed resident of Talwari village embraced shahadat; and 2 year old Azad Ahmed, 6 year old Aneesa Waqas, 28 year old Siraj Din s/o Nizam Din, 16 year old Sarmad Akram and 42 year old Abdul Qayyum sustained serious injuries.
1546 ceasefire violations in the first 6 months of 2020 have occurred, resulting in 14 shahadats and serious injuries to 114 innocent civilians.
Pakistan has categorically rejected the grant of domicile certificates in Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IOJ&K) by the Indian authorities to reportedly 25,000 Indian nationals. The Kashmiri people have also rejected the bogus domicile certificates. The certificates issued to non-Kashmiris including, among others, the Indian government officials under “Jammu and Kashmir Grant of Domicile Certificate (Procedure), 2020” are illegal, void and in complete violation of the relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions, and International law, including the 4th Geneva Convention. The latest action is a vindication of Pakistan’s consistent stance that the major intention behind the Indian Government’s illegal and unilateral actions of 5 August 2019 was to change the demographic structure of IOJ&K and turn Kashmiris into a minority in their own land. This has long been part of the RSS-BJP’s “Hindutva” agenda.
Yesterday, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi received Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation. Ambassador Khalilzad’s visit to Pakistan was part of his regular engagement for consultations and exchange of views on the Afghan peace and reconciliation process. The Foreign Minister highlighted Pakistan’s positive contribution to the U.S.-Taliban direct talks culminating in the Peace Agreement of 29 February 2020 and stressed that the Afghan leaders should seize this historic opportunity and work together to ensure a comprehensive and inclusive political settlement.
Foreign Minister Qureshi welcomed the latest developments including announcements on formation of negotiating team and establishment of High Council of National Reconciliation. He expressed the hope that release of prisoners would be completed soon to pave the way for the earliest commencement of Intra-Afghan negotiations. Foreign Minister Qureshi reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to continue working with regional and international partners to support efforts for a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan. Pakistan remains ready to engage in endeavours to facilitate closer Pakistan-Afghanistan economic partnership and regional connectivity projects.
Towards this end, the meeting between the Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment, Mr. Abdul Razak Dawood and the Chief Executive Officer of U.S International Development Finance Corporation (IDFC), Mr. Adam Boehler, at the Ministry of Commerce yesterday would further strengthen efforts in concretizing important development projects benefitting both Pakistan and Afghanistan and the region as a whole.
During his meeting with Foreign Minister Qureshi, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad also expressed condolences on the loss of lives in the terrorist attack on Pakistan Stock Exchange in Karachi and extended U.S. support. The Foreign Minister praised the bravery of the security personnel and thanked Ambassador Khalilzad for the condolences on the terrorist attack, which was externally supported and was another manifestation of the state-sponsored terrorism being perpetrated against Pakistan, which we condemn in the strongest possible terms. Pakistan has been consistently sensitizing the international community about the Indian leadership’s threatening statements to use terrorism as a tool to destabilize Pakistan. Pakistan has already shared with the international community, incriminating evidence about the Indian Intelligence Agency RAW’s involvement in terrorist activities in Pakistan.
Members of the UN Security Council in their statement yesterday condemned in the strongest terms the heinous and cowardly terrorist attack that took place in Karachi, on 29 June 2020, which resulted in several people killed. The members of the Security Council expressed their deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government of Pakistan. They also underlined the need to bring the perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism to justice and urged all States, in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate actively with the Government of Pakistan and all other relevant authorities in this regard.
Separately, the Foreign Minister also held a telephonic conversation with High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, H.E. Josep Borrell, yesterday. Both leaders exchanged views on a range of subjects related to Pakistan-EU partnership-including trade, the next phase of GSP Plus, and early operationalization of Strategic Engagement Plan (SEP).
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and our Missions continue to facilitate and assist our fellow compatriots all across the world in order to bring them back to Pakistan safely and in a dignified manner. Our Embassies and Consulates are working round the clock in facilitating repatriation of our citizens back home, in accordance with a comprehensive repatriation plan devised in consultation with all stakeholders.
In the past few days, 257 Pakistanis were repatriated from Malaysia, Cambodia, Singapore and Brunei, 9504 from Dubai and Northern Emirates, 1430 from Jeddah, 25 from Dushanbe and 96 from Kazakhstan. So far, 113,154 Pakistani nationals have been repatriated from different parts of the world. We thank all the governments of these countries for their cooperation in facilitation the repatriation of our nationals.
Question: U.S. special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad visited Pakistan on Wednesday. Could you please tell us what the US wants Pakistan to do when the Taliban and the US have signed the Peace Agreement? (Tahir Khan, NNI News Agency)
Supplementary Question: We always hear from officials that Pakistan will play the role of facilitator in the Afghan peace process, please let us know how Pakistan can facilitate? (Tahir Khan, NNI News Agency)
Answer: The U.S. Special Envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad visited Pakistan on 1 July 2020. Ambassador Khalilzad’s visit to Pakistan is part of his regular engagement for consultations and exchange of views on the Afghan peace and reconciliation process. Pakistan remains committed to continue working with regional and international partners to support efforts for a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan. Pakistan remains ready to engage in endeavours to facilitate closer Pakistan-Afghanistan economic partnership and regional connectivity projects.
Question: The State Department says Ambassador Khalilzad is joined by US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) CEO Adam Boehler, do you think the visit focused on economic cooperation? Please give an update on Pak-US economic cooperation, US investment in Pakistan? (Tahir Khan, NNI News Agency)
Answer: Ambassador Khalilzad was accompanied by Mr. Adam Boehler, CEO of U.S. International Development Finance Corporation during his recent visit. The visit of Mr. Boehler is part of Pakistan-U.S. economic engagement in line with the decision of the leadership last July to intensify trade and economic cooperation between the two countries. You would recall that in February this year, U.S. Secretary Commerce Mr. Wilbur Ross had also visited Pakistan.
Mr. Boehler met with Pakistan’s economic team under the leadership of the Adviser on Commerce to discuss specific areas of cooperation for U.S. investments. There have also been several virtual meetings between the two sides on matters related to economy, trade and finance.
Question: Can you comment on Pak-US trust level as Islamabad has helped the US achieve much on the Afghan peace despite challenges. ( Shafqat Ali, The Nation)
Answer: There has been a marked improvement in our bilateral ties since August 2018. Pakistan has been extending support and facilitation, in good faith, to seek a political solution to the prolonged Afghan conflict. This is in line with the consistent advocacy and stance of Prime Minister Imran Khan that there is no military solution to the Afghan problem.
Recently, there have been positive strides in the ongoing peace process including the historic Agreement between U.S. and Taliban. The relevant Afghan stakeholders are now moving forward towards starting the Intra-Afghan dialogue, which we hope would lead to a comprehensive and inclusive political settlement.
Question: On Monday, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister accused India of operating “sleeper cells” in Pakistan and of direct sponsorship of the attack on the Pakistan Stock Exchange. Pakistan’s Special Assistant to the PM on National Security repeated the same allegations, with the FO saying it has shared with the international community “incriminating evidence about the Indian Intelligence Agency RAW’s involvement in terrorist activities in Pakistan.” What evidence specifically does Pakistan have in this regard, and will this evidence linking India to terrorism in Pakistan be made public? (Asad Hashim, Online Correspondent / Al Jazeera English)
Supplementary Question: Terrorism in Pakistan has intensified once again. It is being said that foreign agencies have a hand in this. What would you like to say about it? (Khawaja Hamza Iqbal, Media Today)
Supplementary Question: Pakistan top officials including the foreign ministry accused India was behind the Karachi recent terror attack on Stock Exchange compound, Pakistan has any plan to take India to the UNSC for its support to terror organization in Pakistan and reportedly some Indian spies were arrested in GB who entered in the area from Indian Kashmir side, is it true? (Islamuddin Sajid, Anadolu Agency)
Answer: Pakistan has strongly condemned the externally supported, cowardly terrorist attack on Pakistan Stock Exchange on 29 June 2010 which was foiled by our valiant security forces. This terrorist attack is another manifestation of state-sponsored terrorism by India perpetrated against Pakistan.
Pakistan has been consistently sensitizing the international community regarding Indian leadership’s threatening statements to use terrorism as a tool to destabilize Pakistan. Pakistan has already shared with the international community, incriminating evidence regarding Indian Intelligence Agency RAW’s involvement in terrorist activities in Pakistan. The international community must take immediate cognizance of India’s use of state-terrorism to destabilize neighboring countries.
Question: India has crossed all limits in Occupied Jammu & Kashmir with killing, torture, rape, assault of innocent Kashmiris, ban on media, suspension of Internet and illegal issuing of domicile. What are your Comments on the horrible situation in the Valley? (Khawaja Nayyar Iqbal, Media Today)
Answer: More than 110 innocent Kashmiris have been martyred by the Indian occupation forces during the past 6 months in fake “encounters” and so-called “cordon-and-search” operations.
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.
The international community must take immediate cognizance of the persistent reports of arbitrary and extra-judicial killings in IOJ&K.
Question: India is constantly violating the Line of Control and targeting unarmed Kashmiris and Pakistani military forces shot down nine drones sent by India which were sent to spy inside Pakistan. What would you like to say? (Khawaja Hamza Iqbal, Media Today)
Answer: Indian occupation forces along the LoC and the Working Boundary (WB) have been continuously targeting civilian populated areas with artillery fire, heavy-caliber mortars and automatic weapons. This year, India has committed 1546 ceasefire violations to date, resulting in 14 shahadats and serious injuries to 114 innocent civilians. These senseless acts are in clear violation of the 2003 Ceasefire Understanding, and are also against all established humanitarian norms and professional military conduct. These egregious violations of international law reflect consistent Indian attempts to escalate the situation along the LoC and are a threat to regional peace and security.
We call upon Indian side to respect the 2003 Ceasefire Understanding and allow the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) to play its mandated role as per the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions.