[This is a rush transcript. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated]
Bismillah Ir Rehman Nir Rahim,
Let me begin by giving a brief round-up of the events on the foreign policy front;
The Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IOJ&K) remains under siege and cut off from the rest of the world for the 25th consecutive day, today as the Indian occupation forces continue to impose an unprecedented military lock down and total clampdown of both road networks and all means of communications, which risk lives of the people. These inhuman and unilateral actions by India are continuing without any respite, despite international condemnation and censure.
Due to severe blockade, the residents are facing acute shortage of essential commodities including baby food and life-saving medicines and the valley represents a humanitarian crisis. All internet and communication services and TV channels are closed in the Jammu and Kashmir valley. Local newspapers could not update their online editions, while majority of them could not print due to restrictions.
The Indian authorities have converted the Indian occupied Kashmir valley particularly Srinagar into a military garrison by deploying Indian troops and paramilitary personnel in every nook and corner to prevent people from staging demonstrations against the move. However, people have been repeatedly flouting the curfew and other restrictions and staging protests to show their resentment against the Indian occupation and nefarious move.
We condemn the unprecedented communication blockade and clampdown in IOJ&K and impress upon the international community to take cognizance of the continuing blatant human rights violations by the Indian authorities.
We also remain gravely concerned over continued illegal detention, despite deteriorating health, of senior Hurriyat and thousands of other Kashmiris including political leaders and workers. The crackdown is so massive that jails and police stations have run out of space and many detainees have been lodged in makeshift detention centers.
India should stop misleading the international community and accept the ground realities and aspirations of the people of Kashmir instead of continuing with its policy of obduracy in the territory.
As Director General (SA & SAARC), I summoned the Indian Deputy High Commissioner Mr. Gaurav Ahluwalia yesterday and condemned the unprovoked ceasefire violations by the Indian occupation forces along the Line of Control (LoC). These violations were committed in Nekrun Sector of LoC, two innocent civilians Abdul Jalil and 3 years old girl Nausheen were martyred and three others sustained serious injuries. Moreover, in Chirikot Sector of LoC, a 4 years old boy has sustained serious injuries.
The Indian occupation forces along the LoC and Working boundary have continuously been targeting civilian populated areas with artillery fire, heavy-caliber mortars, and automatic weapons, which still continues.
As part of continuing diplomatic outreach, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi held telephonic conversations with the Foreign Minister of Swiss Federation (22 August, 2019) Foreign Minister of Nepal (22 August 2019), Foreign Minister of Maldives (23 August), Foreign Minister of Japan (23 August), United Nations Secretary General (24 August), Secretary General OIC (26 August), Foreign Minister of Turkey (27 August), Foreign Minister of Belgium (27 August), Foreign Minister of Kuwait (28 August) and Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan (28 August). The Foreign Minister also wrote letter to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Yesterday, Foreign Minister addressed another letter to the President of the UN Security Council underscoring the continuation of troubling developments in IOJ&K. The detailed press releases in this regard are available on the Ministry’s website.
Moving forward, a 5-member delegation of British Parliamentarians, led by MP Khalid Mahmood and comprising MP Imran Hussain and Rt. Hon. Stephen Timms, called on the Foreign Minister on 27 August and discussed the current deteriorating human rights situation in IOJ&K. The Foreign Minister apprised the delegation of the illegal and unilateral actions by India in IOJ&K and the continuing siege of the valley and reiterated that Pakistan will go to every forum to ensure that Indian atrocities in IOJ&K are halted and the dispute is resolved in line with the aspirations of the Kashmiris and the UNSC resolutions.
The members of the UK parliamentary delegation recognized Pakistan’s concerns regarding the latest developments in IOJ&K and stated that the continued curfew as well as potentially serious human rights abuses not being reported due to the blanket media blackout deserve the attention of the international community.
Pakistan regretted the Afghanistan government’s twisting of facts about some recent incidents of firing along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. As a matter of policy, Pakistan does not fire across Pak-Afghan Border. Cross border attacks by terrorists on Army/FC posts are responded to in self-defense only. Pakistan has formally shared location of these terrorist camps in the areas mentioned and has requested Government of Afghanistan to deploy its forces in these areas to bring it under their effective control. We hope Afghanistan will do the needful in line with the mutual understanding on these issues.
Finally, I would like to inform you that the Ministry has created a special section on the latest developments in IOJ&K on its website. There, you may find global reactions, media reports, video and tweets, letters written by the Foreign Minister to the important organizations, which indicate that how international community and the media has reacted to the unilateral and illegal acts of India in IOJ&K. We would request you to go through readily available data and disseminate this information. We would continue to improve and update the material.
Question: During the recent meeting between President Trump and Prime Minister Modi in Paris, the Indian Prime Minister has stated that the Jammu and Kashmir dispute is an internal matter of India. Your comments please? Secondly, what are the updates on US and Taliban talks in Qatar? (Khawaja Nayyer Iqbal – Media Online Today)
Answer: The Indian hypocrisy is evident in its oscillating comments.On the one hand, it says that IOJ&K is an internal matter of India, on the other it states that it would discuss it bilaterally with Pakistan. Previously it used to say that Jammu and Kashmir dispute is a multilateral issue. There is no consistency or principle involved in the Indian position.
Regarding your second question, Pakistan has been making sincere efforts to facilitate the Afghan peace process. The next round of talks between the Taliban and the US has started. A Peace Agreement between US and the Taliban is in final phases and we are hopeful to see its early positive conclusion leading to peace and stability in Afghanistan. Pakistan will continue to work to help take peace efforts in Afghanistan to their logical conclusion.
Question:As it has been mentioned that the only way forward regarding the resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute is under the United Nations resolutions. Does it mean that the resolution of the dispute bilaterally is not on the table anymore? (Mr. Ali Hussain – Business Recorder)
Answer: Pakistan has always supported bilateral talks with India on all issues including IOJ&K but it is India, which is not willing to resolve it through bilateral means. As you know, Prime Minister of Pakistan and the Foreign Minister have repeatedly supported resolution of IOJ&K through negotiations. Contrarily, the Indian side is claiming the disputed territory of IOJ&K as its integral part and bringing about a material change in IOJ&K, hence Prime Minister and Foreign Minister have stated that it is no longer possible for us to talk to India bilaterally.
Question: The Foreign Minister of Pakistan has written four letters to UN regarding the current situation in IOJ&K. Has the UNSC responded to any of the letters written by the Foreign Minister?
Secondly, Prime Minister of Pakistan has recently spoken to the President of France Mr. Macron and afterwards France has issued a press release requesting Pakistan to stop terrorists emanating from its territory.
Thirdly, Rajnath Singh has recently tweeted that all part of Jammu and Kashmir including Azad Jammu & Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan are parts of India and Pakistan has illegally occupied both the areas? Your comments please? (Mr. Anas Mallick – WION)
Answer: It is important to note that it was in response to the letter by the Foreign Minister, the UNSC held a landmark meeting on Jammu and Kashmir dispute, after more than 50 years, despite Indian efforts to prevent the meeting. Pakistan will actively play its role till the resolution of Jammu and Kashmir dispute through UNSC resolutions and as per wishes of the people of Kashmir.
Regarding your second question, please refer to our press release and also the press release issued by France. There is no ambiguity on the telephonic conversation between the Prime Minister of Pakistan and the President of France.
As for your last question, our position is very clear. We do not agree with Indian claims as these are not based on ground realities. The problem is not Azad Jammu and Kashmir or Gilgit-Baltistan but Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir. India has already taken illegal action on 5th August 2019. As a result, India is facing censure and pressure domestically and internationally.
Question: The Foreign Minister has said that Pakistan will take up the issue of Indian abrogation of Articles 35A and 370 in IOJ&K to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).Would you please update us in this regard?
Secondly, would you please confirm that the Foreign Minister of Pakistan will attend the UN Human Rights Council meeting scheduled to be held next month in Geneva? Finally, former Foreign Secretary Ms. Tehmina Janjua is also in Geneva at the moment. What is her role in UN Human Rights Council meeting? (Mr. Mateen Haider – G-News)
Answer: Regarding your first question, consultations among the concerned stakeholders are underway. It is a very delicate issue. As and when there is any decision, I will update you accordingly.
Regarding your second question, the visit of the Foreign Minister to the UN Human Rights Council is on the cards. Former Foreign Secretary, Tehmina Janjua is also in Geneva as a Special Envoy of the Prime Minister for an extensive outreach and interaction with international community, including the OIC member states, especially focusing on the human rights violations being perpetrated by Indian occupation forces in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
Question: Would you please update us regarding Pakistan’s decision to suspend its airspace for the Indian planes?
Secondly, there are reports that Pakistan and India will hold technical talks on Kartarpur Sahab Corridor. Is there any chance of bilateral engagement with India despite the recent India illegal action in IOJ&K? (Mr. Shaukat Piracha – Aap News)
Answer: The issue of closure of air space has been discussed at the highest level. It is one of the many options that are being considered. We can exercise it at a time of our choosing. No decision has been taken yet.
As for your second question, India concurred with Pakistan’s proposal and the Technical meeting on Kartarpur Sahib Corridor is being held on 30 August 2019 at Zero Point. Pakistan remains committed to complete and inaugurate the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor as announced by our Prime Minister and as planned.
Question: India has abrogated Articles 35A and 370, which were adopted at the time of accession. What is the legal status of IOJ&K now? (Mr. Amjad Ali – PTV News)
Answer: Our position is very clear and consistent that Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed and it should be resolved as per the resolutions of the UNSC and wishes of the people of Jammu &Kashmir.
Question: In the recent joint press conference between US and French leaders, President Trump mentioned that PM Modi had expressed his intentions to get in touch with Pakistan. Has there been any contact from Indian side thereafter? Do you think that India is willing to have any sort of contact with Pakistan? (Mr. Saleem Nawaz – PTV World)
Answer: So far, there has been no contact in this regard, to the best of my knowledge.
Question: Is the government of Pakistan in contact with India regarding the provision of consular access to Commander Jadhav? Is there any update in this regard? (Ghulam Murtaza – Bol News)
Answer: We remain engaged with the Indian government on this point. Their reply is awaited.
Question: Pakistan has received lukewarm response from the Muslim world and the international community on the happenings in IOJ&K. Do you think it is a failure of Pakistan’s policy? Secondly, there have been suggestions that Pakistan should have diplomatic ties with Israel. Are you considering any such move? (Sib Kaifee – Arab News)
Answer: Our policy on Israel is very clear and well known. There is no change in it.
Regarding your second question, I do not agree that the response of the international community and the Muslim world was lukewarm on IOJ&K. The issue of IOJ&K has been discussed extensively in the UNSC after 50 years. Importantly, the issue continues to remain on the agenda of the UNSC. Moreover, OIC Secretary General has issued many statements and similar statements have been issued by Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission of OIC. Let me also inform you that Emergency Session of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu & Kashmir was also held in Jeddah and now a Ministerial Level meeting of the Contact Group on Jammu & Kashmir is also expected to take place on the sidelines of UN General Assembly Session in New York. The Foreign Minister will lead the Pakistan delegation.
Question: Pakistan’s major stance on IOJ&K and the UN Security Council resolutions are based on Chapter-VI of the UN Charter. Prime Minister Imran Khan in his recent statement has mentioned about UN Peace Keeping troops within the valley of IOJ&K? Is Pakistan preparing a case under Chapter VII? (Mr. Faisal Raza Khan – 92 News)
Answer: UNMOGIP is already present and monitoring at our side of LOC. It is moving freely on our side; whereas on the Indian side, it has very restricted mobility. The government of Pakistan is considering all possible options in this regard. Let me reiterate that the resolution of Jammu and Kashmir dispute has to be as per wishes of the people and the UN Security Council Resolutions and this is the corner stone of our foreign policy.