Weekly Press Briefing by Dr Faisal Spokesperson.

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This is a rush transcript. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated]

 

Bismillah Ir Rehman Nir Rahim,

Assalaam-o-Alaikum,

Since, our last Press Briefing four (4) Kashmiris have embraced shahadat in the so-called cordon and search operations by the Indian occupation forcesincluding Mohammad Ayub, Momin Ahmed Goojri, Usiab Ahmad and a woman named Fehmeeda, in Srinagar, Baramulla and Bandipore districts, while hundreds are injured by the atrocious actions of the occupying Indian Forces. There is news of more deaths but due to complete communication blackout the exact news is not coming out of the region.

 

Today is the 19th day of the total blackout and curfew in the Indian Occupied Valley, creating a famine-like situation for the entire besieged population. The Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir has been converted into the largest prison in the history of mankind. More than 14 million humans are incarcerated in their homes. The Indian government has stationed 9 lakh troops and the Kashmiris are denied access to any form of communication: cellular and internet services have been blocked. We cannot imagine the psychological and physical trauma through which the Kashmiris are going through, as decisions regarding their fate are being taken and they are denied access to any sort of information. Furthermore, the region is awaiting a looming humanitarian crisis as there is a shortage of food and medicines, which risks the lives of people, especially elderly, women and children. Kashmiris are being denied access to basic healthcare facilities, which violates their most fundamental right to life and well-being.

 

We impress upon the international community to take cognizance of the continuing blatant human rights violations by the Indian authorities in the Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir.

 

As Director General (SA & SAARC), I summoned the Indian Deputy High Commissioner Mr. Gaurav Ahluwalia on 13th, 15th, 18th, and 20th August and condemned the unprovoked ceasefire violations by the Indian occupation forces along the Line of Control (LoC). These violations were committed in the sectors of Hot Spring, Chirikot, Lipa, and Battal, which led to many shahadats on our side.

 

As part of the Prime Minister’s outreach to sensitize the world leaders about the grave situation in the Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir, Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke with the President of the United States (on 16th& 19th August 2019), President of Indonesia (on 11th August 2019), President of Iran (on 11th August 2019), and King of Bahrain (on 9thAugust 2019) and briefed them on the current situation. This is in addition to the calls I enlisted the last time.

 

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi held telephonic conversations with the Russian Foreign Minister (on 14th August 2019), Foreign Minister of Netherlands (16th August 2019), Foreign Minister of Spain (16th August 2019), Foreign Minister of Canada (17th August 2019), Foreign Minister of France (20th August 2019), and with the Foreign Minister of Norway, Foreign Minister of Denmark, Foreign Minister of Ivory Coast and the Foreign Minister of Sweden on 21st August 2019.

 

Foreign Minister Qureshi briefed his counterparts on India’s illegal and unilateral actions to change the disputed status of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and its demographic structure. He apprised the Foreign Ministers of the deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation, including severe shortages of basic necessities of life such as food and medicines, and complete communications blackout. He added that Pakistan was always committed to resolving issues through peaceful means and our peace overtures and offers of dialogue had been rebuffed by India. The Foreign Minister urged his counterparts to play their role and impress upon India to lift the curfew and ameliorate the hardships and suffering of the people in IoK. And move towards the resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir Dispute as per the UNSC Resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people.

 

Separately, in response to the comments made by the Indian Defence Minister, Foreign Minister Qureshi said that these were reflective of the predicament that India finds itself in, after its illegal and unilateral actions imperiling peace and security in the region and beyond. Equally condemnable is the completely indefensible lock-down of the entire population in Occupied Jammu & Kashmir, which has gone on for two weeks, and continues to deepen the dire humanitarian tragedy as reported by the international human rights organizations and the international media. The world community, including the United Nations Security Council, has taken cognizance of this utterly untenable situation. As for the Jammu & Kashmir dispute, Pakistan’s position is based on UN Charter principles and international law and remains unchanged. The Jammu & Kashmir dispute is to be decided on the basis of the UN Security Council Resolutions and in accordance with the wishes of the Kashmiri people.

 

On 19th August, Pakistan strongly condemned the multiple terrorist bomb attacks in Jalalabad. Pakistan remains a steadfast partner of Afghanistan, in the joint efforts to defeat all designs aimed at perpetuating instability in the region. We continue to firmly stand together with the Afghan nation in these testing times.

 

Lastly, on 18th August, Pakistan categorically rejected reports in a section of the media, based on a reported ISIS claim of responsibility for the heinous terrorist attack on a wedding party in Kabul, and implicating a Pakistani national. Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. We have proactively and successfully taken action to uproot the scourge of terrorism. Pakistan will continue its efforts in the same spirit, in coordination with the regional and international partners.

Question     Ever since President Trump offered mediation between Pakistan and India, on Jammu and Kashmir the tensions have been rising. What is the priority of Pakistan when it speaks to international leadership including President Trump: Is it ameliorating the human rights situation, reinstatement of Articles 35A and 370 or scuttling the process of demographic shift taking place? (Mr. Zahid Farooq Malik – Daily Metro Watch)

 

Answer:       Prime Minister’s telephone conversations (16 & 19 August) with President Trump were aimed at apprising the US leadership of the current situation in the Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir following India’s unilateral and illegal actions. President Trump’s consistent engagement is a manifestation of his interest in the resolution of the Jammu &Kashmir dispute.

 

Question     President Trump has recently given a statement on the Taliban groups. How do you see this statement? Secondly, Prime Minister Modi is embarking on a tour to France. Various groups of Kashmiris and Sikhs are planning to stage massive protests during his visit. Do you think these protests will have any impact on his policies? (Khawaja Nayyer Iqbal – Media Online Today)

 

Supplementary Question      President Trump recently in a statement said that Russia and China should act against Daesh. Also, Pakistan and India are not doing much in this regard. Can you please comment? (Mr. Muhammad Jaleel – VoA)

 

Answer:       There is no organized presence of Daesh in Pakistan.

Regarding the first question, Kashmiri diaspora all across Europe has been condemning and protesting against the unilateral and illegal actions of India in the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir. These protests will continue, as there are families of Kashmiris who have settled all across the globe and they have outrightly rejected Indian actions.

 

Question     How many Pakistanis are stranded in India as a result of the suspension of Samjhota Express? (Mr. Naveed Akbar – Aaj News)

 

Answer:       As per my knowledge no Pakistani is stranded in India.

 

Question     As per my information, around thirty Indians are stuck in Lahore due to suspension of Samjhota Express and the bus services. How will they cross over? (Mr. Naveed Siddiqui – Dawn News)

 

Answer:       Wagah Border is open and to the best of my knowledge people are crossing over from both sides.

 

Question     Recently in a TV talk show, a senior Minister had made claims about Pakistan’s victory in Afghanistan. What are your views in this regard?

 

Secondly, India has refused to share hydrological data with Pakistan, as agreed in the 1989 Agreement.They have stated that only extraordinary discharges will be informed. Your comments please? (Mr. Anas Mallick – WION)

 

Answer:       Regarding your first question, I would reiterate the government of Pakistan’s clear vision and approach about the peace and reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan. Pakistan has sincerely supported these international efforts, as part of a shared responsibility. We believe that a final and durable solution in Afghanistan, which would be a victory for the Afghans, the regional countries and the international community, has to be fully Afghan-led and Afghan-owned. It would also require a strong and consistent support in the medium to long run, of the international community, of which Pakistan would remain a part.

 

With regard to your second question, I just spoke to Pakistan Commissioner for Indus Waters. He conveyed that, indeed, there was an agreement between Pakistan and India for sharing of flood data, which was signed in 1989. According to this agreement, India is supposed to share data from 01 July till 10 October, every year, of flood waters. This agreement was renewed annually but this year India has refused to do so and henceforth flood data was not conveyed to Pakistan. However, they have shared some data under Article IV(8) of IWT, which is related to extraordinary discharges and is distinct from the 1989 Agreement. We have taken it up with the Indian side. Further technical details can be sought from the Pakistan Commissioner for Indus Waters.

 

Question     It is feared that India might prolong the curfew for another six months in the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir. There are also reports that young women are kidnapped from their homes and are abused. In lieu of these massive human rights violations, when will Pakistan approach the Human Rights Council or the International Court of Justice? (Ms. Rashida Sial – AbbTakk)

 

Answer:       We are exploring all options and active consultations between all stakeholders are underway. We will share the details very soon regarding the steps that Pakistan is planning to take. The incidents that you have quoted are highly condemnable and are being reported in the international media. India cannot besiege the Kashmiris and impose an indefinite curfew in the Indian occupied valley. This dispute needs to be resolved as per UN Security Council Resolutions and India must immediately stop its grave violations of human rights.

 

Question     When it was decided by Pakistan that diplomatic relations with India will be downgraded, it was also decided that bilateral arrangements with India will be reviewed. What is the update on that? (Mr. Zargoon Shah – Geo News)

 

Answer:       The process is underway and some steps have been taken. We will update you, as and when,more decisions are taken. 

 

Question     Has Pakistan raised the issue of conferring the highest civilian award on Prime Minister Modi by our brotherly Islamic country, UAE? Secondly, how has Pakistan responded to the Norwegian offer of mediation between Pakistan and India? (Ms. Kausar Lodhi – Prime News)

 

Answer:       Regarding your first question, I cannot comment on the bilateral matters between two countries.

In response to your second question, I can state that many countries have offered mediation between Pakistan and India. However, we cannot move forward unless India agrees to accept these offers.

 

Question     Do you think Prime Minister Modi deserves the highest civilian award, to be conferred by the UAE government?(Mr. Ali Hussain – BusinessRecorder)

 

Answer:       I have already replied to this question.

 

Question     If India accepts the offer of mediation by any state,will Pakistan accept if the decision is given against us? (Mr. Shakeel Kilyana – Duna Numa Newspaper)

 

Answer:       I cannot conjecture on speculative questions. 

 

Question     Will the Kartarpur Sahab Corridor be inaugurated as per schedule? (Mr. Khalid Mehmood – Express News)

 

Answer:       We are planning to open Kartarpur Sahab Corridor as per schedule.

 

Question     How do you see Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatullah Khamenei’s statement on Jammu and Kashmir? Secondly, America has been trying to undermine Iranian interests. Has Pakistan been approached by the US in this regard? (Mr. Afzal Raza – IRNA)

 

Answer:       Regarding your second question, no such information is in my notice.

Regarding the comments of Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatullah Khamenei, I would state that he has previously spoken on this issue as well and has been a vocal proponent and supporter of the Kashmiri people and the Kashmir cause. We are very thankful for his continued support.

 

Question     Prime Minister Imran Khan has stated that he no longer seeks a dialogue with India. Can we say that the doors of dialogue have been closed by Pakistan as well? Secondly, US Special Representative on Afghanistan, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad is visiting Afghanistan and Qatar for the crucial talks. How do you see this? (Ms. Rabia Peer – VoA Dewa Radio)

 

Answer:       Pakistan believes in an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process and we hope that something positive comes out as a result of these talks. Pakistan remains supportive of the Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process.

 

Regarding your first question, the Prime Minister’s statement is self evident.

 

Question     What is the update on technical and delegation level talks between Pakistan and India on the Kartarpur Sahab Corridor? Reportedly, there is a conflict of opinion between Ministry of Law and the Foreign Office on the matter of approaching the International Court of Justice on the human rights atrocities in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir. Your comments please? (Mr. Khalid Azeem Chaudhary – Samaa TV)

 

Answer:       We are hopeful that the meetings take place soon so that agreement on Kartarpur Sahab Corridor may be finalized, at the earliest.

 

In response to your second question, I would reiterate that active consultations among all stakeholders are underway and we will update you soon regarding the decisions taken. I would categorically state that there is no conflict between any stakeholders.

 

Question     Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke to the Saudi Crown Prince on Monday evening. Can you please apprise us regarding the details? Secondly, US has recently imposed sanctions against Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. What are your views about this development? (Mr. Sib Kaifee – Arab News)

 

Answer:       Regarding your second question, Pakistan has noted this development with concern. Pakistan has always maintained a principled opposition to unilateral sanctions. The Prime Minister of Pakistan has repeatedly urged the need to resolve all issues through peaceful means and negotiations for easing of tensions in the Gulf Region. We believe that there should be room for diplomacy and dialogue and for those pursuing solutions through peaceful means.

 

In response to your first question. I will check the details and revert to you.

 

Question     The Governor of Kunar Province, Afghanistan has alleged that around 200 missiles were fired from Pakistan into Afghanistan. Secondly, when Pakistan downgraded its diplomatic relations with India, they requested that this should be reviewed by Pakistan. Is there any backdoor diplomacy undergoing on this issue? (Mr. Waqas Ahmed –Capital TV)

 

Answer:   I am not aware of this statement by the Governor of Kunar Province. I will check the details and will revert to you.

 

Regarding your second question, no backdoor diplomacy is taking place with India.   

 

Question     Various social media websites have suspended accounts of users who upload any footage from the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir on the request of the Indian government. Has Foreign Office raised this issue with these websites as these actions violate user’s rights as well? (Mr. AunSherazi – Such News)

 

Answer:       This is a matter of great concern for us. We have taken this issue up as this is not fair and violates the fundamental right of freedom of expression. We will update you on this soon.

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