Press Briefing by Aisha Farooqui Spokesperson on Thursday, 06 August, 2020

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Bismillah Ir Rehman Nir Rahim,

Assalaam-o-Alaikum,

Islamabad: Yesterday (5 August) marked 365 days of the unprecedented, inhuman military siege and communication blockade since India`s illegal and unilateral actions of 5th August 2019. Eight million Kashmiris have been made prisoners in their own homes. To express solidarity with our Kashmiri brethren, the entire Pakistani nation observed Youm-e- Istehsal yesterday. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi led a huge rally from the Foreign Office. The rally was also joined by Senate Chairman, Minister for Kashmir Affairs, Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Chairman Kashmir Committee, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Security, parliamentarians and senior government officials.  President of Pakistan Dr. Arif Alvi addressed the rally and expressed in unequivocal terms the solidarity of the Pakistani nation with the Kashmir cause and our abiding commitment to the people of Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

Prime Minister Imran Khan addressed the Assembly of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and expressed solidarity with the innocent Kashmiri people on Youm-e-Istehsal. The Prime Minister also announced that eminent Hurriyet leader Syed Ali Gillani would be conferred with Nishan-e-Pakistan on August 14 for his bravery and continued struggle for the Jammu and Kashmir cause.

In his message the Foreign Minister underlined that “the international community must do more and back its words with concrete actions for the innocent Kashmiri people who have been subjected to arbitrary arrests, detentions, torture, corporal punishment, extra-judicial killings, digital lockdown and a military siege in occupied Jammu & Kashmir for over twelve months. For a large part of the global population, to continue to have faith in international justice, it is imperative that India is held accountable for its unconscionable actions since 5 Aug 2019.”

On Pakistan’s request the UNSC in its meeting yesterday, discussed the situation of Jammu and Kashmir for the third time in a year. The Security Council reaffirmed the validity of its resolutions that the final disposition of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute will be made through a free, fair and impartial plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations. The UN Secretariat and UNMOGIP representatives briefed the Council members on the current situation in the occupied Jammu and Kashmir and confirmed that the overall situation is tense. Human rights concerns were also expressed particularly with regard to India’s continued oppression as well its attempts to change the demography of the IOJK. The need to strengthen UNMOGIP which is facing challenges due to India’s non cooperation was also underscored.

We are grateful to all the members of the UNSC and especially China for their support in organizing the meeting in UNSC. The fact that on three occasions in one year the Jammu and Kashmir issue has been discussed in the Security Council completely negates the failed Indian assertions that it is its internal matter.

Voices in support of the Kashmiri people rang across the globe marking one year of the illegal action by India and the continued brutalization and disenfranchisement of the Kashmiri people. China in its statement underscored that Jammu and Kashmir is a dispute left over from history between Pakistan and India. That is an objective fact established by the U.N. Charter, U.N. Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements between Pakistan and India. Any unilateral change to the status quo is illegal and invalid.”

Turkey also reiterated that the dispute of Jammu and Kashmir should be resolved through dialogue, within the framework of the UN Charter and relevant UN resolutions.

OIC in its statement urged again for abstention from changing the demographic composition of Jammu and Kashmir and reaffirmed its solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The OIC Human Rights Commission in its statement yesterday strongly condemned the year-long inhuman security and communication blockade in IIOJK by the Indian security forces and called upon India to ensure the protection of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Kashmiris as well as to ensure implementation of the relevant UN and OIC resolutions on the subject.

The UN human rights experts also called for urgent action to remedy the “alarming” human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir, and stated that “If India will not take any genuine and immediate steps to resolve the situation, meet their obligations to investigate historic and recent cases of human rights violations and prevent future violations, then the international community should step up.” The experts also raised concerns with the Indian government about alleged arbitrary detention and torture and ill-treatment  to which the Government as well as the criminalization of journalists covering the situation and the detention and deteriorating health of a high profile human rights lawyer.

Human Right Watch in its statement yesterday underlined that India’s unwarranted restraints on the rights to free speech, access to information, health care, and education, which have been intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Countries across the world also condemned India’s continued oppression in the Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

Protests and rallies were held in London, Paris, Lisbon, Brussels, Houston, Athens, Oslo, Copenhagen while seminars and exhibitions were held in many capitals of the world. Human rights violations and abuses meted out to Kashmiri men, women and children as a result of the continued oppression by Indian security forces was the subject of scores of articles and Op eds in the international media.

On 4 August, 2020, Pakistan issued a political map depicting our long standing and consistent position on Jammu and Kashmir, anchored in the UNSC resolutions and stipulating that the accession of the state will be through a UN-supervised plebiscite. Pakistan’s political map firmly rejects the political map issued by India after 5 August, 2019, making false territorial claims including on AJK and GB.

Pakistan categorically rejects the statement made by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Pakistan’s political map. India cannot create a smokescreen for its illegal and unacceptable actions in Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir, including those taken since 5 August 2019. It is preposterous for a country that is compulsively expansionist, and a brazen practitioner of state-terrorism, to level charges against others.

Pakistan also reiterates its strong condemnation of construction of ‘Ram Mandir’ on the site where historic Babri Masjid stood for around five centuries. The flawed judgment of the Indian Supreme Court paving the way for construction of the temple not only reflects the preponderance of faith over justice but also the growing majoritarianism in today’s India, where minorities, particularly Muslims and their places of worship, are increasingly under attack.

We extend our deep condolences to the Government and people of Lebanon over the loss of precious lives in the explosion that took place in Beirut day before and pray for the innocent lives lost in the blast and for a speedy and full recovery of those injured.

Our Prime Minister and Foreign Minister have expressed their grief and sorrow over the loss of precious lives in Beirut, conveyed their deep condolences to the government and the people of Lebanon. They also expressed our solidarity with our Lebanese brethren in their difficult time.

During the recent explosion, a Pakistani family living near the port, was severely affected and injured. A teenager boy could not sustain injuries and expired yesterday. His father and sister are also critical. Another Pakistani family was affected; however, they have been accommodated in hotel as their apartment was demolished.

Pakistan Embassy in Beirut has quickly responded to the situation and circulated contact details and email addresses. Any Pakistanis affected by the blasts or their relatives in Pakistan can contact Embassy officials to inquire about the well-being of their relatives. Emergency contact numbers of our Mission in Beirut have been shared on our official twitter handle.

Question:   Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that the meeting of   OIC Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) was Pakistan’s expectation. If it is not convened, he will be compelled to ask Prime Minister Imran Khan to call a meeting of the OIC countries that are ready to stand with Pakistan on the dispute of Jammu and Kashmir.  Was the comment of Foreign Minister not against diplomatic norms?

Secondly, Pakistan has always maintained that Kashmiris themselves can only decide their destiny. However, Pakistan has made unilateral change in its map, which is in contradiction of its position. How do you comment on it?

 (Adeel Bashir, Roze TV)

Supplementary Question:         Was the comment made by the Foreign Minister yesterday not against the norm of diplomacy? Secondly, what will be its impact on our relationship with Saudi Arabia and Arab countries? (Aijaz Ahmad, GNN)

Supplementary Question:                   What are Pakistan’s expectations or demands from the OIC, apart from meeting of OIC Council of Foreign Ministers on the dispute of Jammu & Kashmir? Would you please share the details in the matter?

 (Anwar Abbas, BOL News)

Supplementary Question:         There have always been questions on OIC’s role regarding the disputes of Jammu & Kashmir and Palestine. How does Pakistan see OIC’s role on the dispute of Jammu & Kashmir, especially when it has observed Youm-e-Istehsal yesterday? (Khawaja Nayyar, Media Today)

Answer:      Pakistan is a founding member of the OIC. We have had longstanding fraternal and cooperative relations with the OIC member states. Jammu and Kashmir dispute and Palestine are two key issues on the agenda of the OIC since its inception. The OIC has consistently supported Pakistan on Jammu and Kashmir dispute. The OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir established in 1994, is a manifestation of this consistent support and has actively contributed to the advancement of the Kashmir cause.

Since 5th August 2019, Pakistan has closely worked with the OIC Secretary General and other brotherly countries of OIC. Three meetings of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu & Kashmir have been convened during the last one year, two of which were at Ministerial level and issued strong Ministerial Communiqués deploring the grave violations of the human rights in IIOJK, demanding from Indian to rescind its illegal and unilateral actions of 5 August 2019, and calling for the resolution of the Jammu & Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN Security Council’s Resolutions.

The people of Pakistan have more expectations from the OIC and would like it to play a leading role in raising the Jammu & Kashmir issue internationally. In this regard, our efforts will continue and we hope there will be further forward movement.

Regarding our relations with Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have strong historic and fraternal relations. The people of Pakistan have deep respect for the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. Pakistan remains deeply committed to the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Saudi Arabia. The landmark visit of Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman in February 2019 further cemented our close brotherly relations and charted new avenues of cooperation in trade, investment and other fields.

With regard to your question on political map, I hope you have followed the statements made by the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister. I also made detailed remarks in my opening statement. There is nothing further to add to it.

Question:   The Foreign Minister in an interview yesterday stated that Pakistan would move forward with or without Saudi Arabia on the dispute of Jammu and Kashmir. He added that he knew that Foreign Office would also be uneasy with his statement. Should we consider this as a political statement of the Foreign Minister or Pakistan’s position? (Aun Sheerazi, Such TV)

Answer:      I have already given a comprehensive response on this. I have also said that Pakistan and its people have more expectations from the OIC than from any other international organization because of our deep rooted and fraternal ties with OIC member states and OIC itself. So the statement made by the Foreign Minister was a reflection of people’s aspirations and expectations from the OIC to take forward the dispute of Jammu & Kashmir internationally.

Question:   India is spending billions of dollars on its defence and in this connection it has purchased Rafale which pose a serious challenge peace and security of the region particularly that of Pakistan.  Voices are coming from New Delhi publically that these Rafale will be used against Pakistan. How do you comment on it?  (Mateen Haider, G News)

Answer:      Let me remind you of my remarks in the last briefing, I made a very comprehensive statement on purchase of fighter jets Rafael and the implication of acquisition of such defence systems for peace and security in South Asia. So I would like to refer you to my statement made last week.

Question:   Islamabad High Court in Commander Kulbhushan case has directed the Federal Government to give another chance to India and Commander Jadhav to appoint a counsel for his case. Has the Government of Pakistan contacted India in this regard?  (Adeel Waraich, Dunya News)

Answer:      We have been briefing you on Pakistan’s position on the issue time and again from this platform. The developments you are referring to and after the directions of the Islamabad High Court of 3rd August we have contacted the Indian side through diplomatic channels and conveyed the same.

Question:   What was the level of discussion in the UNSC meeting held last night? Can Pakistan request UNSC for its own hearing on the dispute of Jammu & Kashmir? (Khalid Mahmood, Express TV)

Supplementary Question:  Indian Permanent Representative to New York said in a tweet that during a close-door an informal meeting of the UNSC, 14 members underscored that Jammu & Kashmir is a bilateral dispute between Pakistan and India, therefore it does not warrant a discussion in the Council.(Zahid Farooq Malik, Daily Metro Watch)

Answer:      The fact remains that in one year the Security Council discussed the Jammu & Kashmir dispute on three occasions and received briefings from UNMOGIP representative and UN Secretariat’s Political Affairs representatives is a clear testimony that it is neither an internal issue of India nor a bilateral issue between Pakistan and India but an internationally recognized dispute that awaits the final settlement in accordance with UNSC resolutions.

Question:   As you mentioned that Pakistan has contacted the Indian side as per the direction of the Islamabad High Court, has the Indian side responded in the matter? (Zulqarnain, ARY News)

Supplementary Question:    Islamabad High Court has also directed to seek the consent of Commander Jadhav for appointing a consul. Was the consent of Commander Jadhav sought as well? (Adeel Warraich, Dunya News)

Answer:      We are awaiting Indian response. As I mentioned earlier, we are implementing the directions of the Islamabad High Court regarding Kulbhushan case.

Question:   This year has been very hectic for Pakistan specially last night also our security forces personnel were martyred on both the eastern and the western border. Don’t you think that these acts of aggression are being done by Afghanistan and RAW to sabotage Pakistan’s internal situation and specially Kashmir issue which has been projected by Pakistan internationally on Youm-e-Istehsal? (Asghar Ali Mubarak, Pakistan Press Agency)

Supplementary Question:         Meeting of the APAPPS is long-due. Could you share any details on this as the situation is tense on our western border as there was a firing incident yesterday also? Could you share any details on the long-due meeting of the Pakistan Afghanistan action plan and when is when is it expected? (Jaleel Akhtar, VOA Urdu)

Answer:      Pakistan’s role in facilitating and taking forward the Afghan peace process and reconciliation is evident. Pakistan has raised this matter several times with all interlocutors also that spoilers would try to obstruct the peace process should there be any delay in implementation of the peace agreement. We are fully cognizant of this and have kept all stakeholders and interlocutors aware of the fact that time is of essence in this. Regarding APAPPS, this is very much a part of the conversation as I have also mentioned earlier in my briefings. This is a bilateral framework that gives content and substance to strengthening our bilateral relations across different fields and we hope that an early meeting on this will be convened. Both sides are working on finalizing the dates for this.

Question:   Regarding yesterday’s incident in Dir on which you issued a Press release late night, whether the Afghan Charge D Affairs or their Ambassador has been called to the Foreign Office or any protest has been recorded because this is not the first time. Such incidents of firing and terrorism from across the Afghan border are constantly occurring in which our soldiers, civilians and police personnel have embraced martyrdom. DGISPR has shared details on this but what is the Foreign Office doing on this? (Naveed Akbar, Aaj News)

Answer:      As you have mentioned the press release issued last night in which details of the incident were shared with you. Pakistan had condemned the previous incident also where Pakistan had to respond in self-defense. For now, I do not have any further detail on this, when I do I will share with you.

Question:   My question is regarding the OIC. What is the process of setting the agenda for the OIC meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers? Pakistan has demanded a special meeting. Pakistan is a founding member of the OIC. Common people and the analysts are of the view that Contact group meeting will not be as effective as the ministerial meetings. What is the update on our pending request for the special ministerial meeting? (Ali Hussain, Business Recorder)

Answer:      I have already responded to this from various aspects earlier also. We have mentioned the efforts of the OIC contact group regarding Jammu and Kashmir and we are deeply appreciative of the efforts made by the OIC and the OIC contact group on Jammu and Kashmir with whom we work very closely raising it in the international community. We have expectations and we hope that there will be progress on the question of the CFM meeting.

Question:   The map that has been released by Pakistan on 4th of August has been named as Political map. For 72 years, Jammu and Kashmir was called a disputed territory and three UN Security Council meeting have taken place this year. Now this map shows Jammu and Kashmir as a part of Pakistan so isn’t it contradiction in our policy? (Zaheer, Samaa TV)

Answer:      No, this is not a contradiction at all. The leadership has made statements in detail on this at the Foreign Minister and Prime Minister’s level. This is a political map as opposed to the administrative map that we are more familiar with. There was a need for the political map which has been fulfilled on the 4th of August. Pakistan’s stance on the Jammu and Kashmir is anchored in the UN Security Council resolutions under which we await the final settlement of this dispute in accordance with UNSC resolutions and the aspirations of the Kashmiri people. There is no change in our principled position.

Question:   In November 2019, Pakistan and Beijing has signed an agreement for exchange of sentenced prisoners. Under this agreement, how many sentenced persons have been released by both countries? Further, a few months back there was a scam related to PIA pilots which was revealed by the Aviation minister. Resultantly, many European countries and America banned PIA to operate its flights in its territory. A task force was also established in this regard. What role has Pakistan played and what is the Foreign Office doing to get the flights resumed resulting from the ban imposed? (Waqas Ahmed, Capital TV)

Answer:      Regarding aviation and the issue of pilots’ licenses, the aviation division can share details on the matter. Wherever, there is a need to take up this issue diplomatically with different countries, Pakistan’s missions and the Foreign Ministry are playing their role in the best possible manner.

Regarding sentenced prisoners and the MOU signed with China, I just want to update you that both Pakistan and China have ratified the treaty on transfer of sentenced persons. The transfer of sentenced persons will take place after the instrument of ratification has been exchanged between both sides and we have started that process for the exchange of instrument of ratification.

Question:   Last week some meeting has taken place in Doha where Zalmay Khalilzad and Pakistan’s Ambassador Sadiq were also present. What is the progress regarding Afghanistan in these meetings? Secondly yesterday Chinese Foreign Ministry has said that India and Pakistan are neighbors and will have to engage. Is there any possibility that relations/contact be restored from Backchannel/Back door ? (Rashida Sial, Abb Takk TV)

Answer:      Not at all. Not in the circumstances that we are observing. Not in the face of the brutality that the Indian security forces have unleashed on the innocent people of Jammu and Kashmir. Regarding Afghanistan, As you are aware, the PM has appointed Ambassador Sadiq as the special envoy for Afghanistan. This is part of his outreach and Pakistan’s commitment to facilitate peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan and for this he has held these meetings in Doha. All these meetings are centered on playing a role for lasting peace in Afghanistan and these meetings are also a part of these efforts.

Question:   As per Pakistan’s law it is banned that any foreign advocate and come to Pakistan to please any case at High Court or Supreme Court level but is it under discussion that any Indian lawyer can come to Pakistan. Is Pakistan thinking on these lines? Secondly, the political map that Pakistan has released on which PM Khan’s interview was published in a Kashmiri newspaper also, there is an impression about inclination towards a third option with regards to Kashmir? (Aijaz Ahmad, GNN)

Answer:      As I have said earlier also that details on further legal issues regarding Commander Kalbhushan Yadav will be shared with you. For now, the details on the question that you have raised are not clear. Regarding Kashmir, we have reiterated our stance that the final settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute will be in line with the UN Security Council Resolutions and in line with the aspirations of the Kashmiri people.

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