We start with a brief round-up of the activities on the foreign policy front: Opening Remarks by Spokesperson
Islamabad: (Asghar Ali Mubarak) Pakistan Day was celebrated on 23 March 2018 in Islamabad and by all our Missions abroad. Our Missions organized flag hoisting ceremonies and receptions as part of the celebrations. Various buildings including the Burj-e- Khalifa and the Bosphorous bridge were lit up as part of the elebrations. His Excellency, Maithripala Sirisena, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka visited Pakistan on the occasion of Pakistan Day from 22nd – 24th March 2018. He was the Guest of Honour at the Pakistan Day parade on 23rd March 2018. Sri Lankan President held a meeting with the President of Pakistan. Prime Minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi also met with the President of Sri Lankan which the entire spectrum of bilateral relations was discussed. The Prime Minister briefed the Sri Lankan President on issues of regional and international importance. It was agreed to further diversify and enhance relations especially in the realm of trade and people to people contacts. The Prime Minister stated that Pakistan was committed to the SAARC process and urged the President of Sri Lanka to play his role for early convening of the SAARC Summit in Islamabad.
The Prime Minister also briefed the President about the continuing atrocities being committed by India in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir against innocent Kashmiris. Three MoUs were signed during the visit to further strengthen the bilateral cooperation for capacity building of diplomats, public policy research and training of civil servants.
Leading the Pakistan delegation to the Tashkent Conference on Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif emphasized the need of a regional approach for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan, and the region. The Foreign Minister said that Pakistan had consistently stressed the early resolution of Afghan conflict through a political settlement. He also stated that bringing Taliban to the table and establishing peace and stability in Afghanistan was a shared responsibility of the international community. Khawaja Asif reiterated Pakistan’s support for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s national peace and reconciliation plan, unveiled during Kabul process meeting on 28February and his offer of peace talks to the Taliban under an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process. He said that there was a need to put collective pressure on Taliban to avail this opportunity to shun violence and join the peace process. The Foreign Minister also expressed concern over the unchecked proliferation of Daesh and the phenomenal increase in drug production in Afghanistan. On the margins of the Tashkent Conference, the Foreign Minister called on the Uzbek President, Shavkat Mirziyoyev. Khawaja Asif also held bilateral meetings with the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cevasoglu, the EU High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, the Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Abdildaev Erlan and the Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Li Baodong.
The Indian occupation forces martyred five innocent Kashmiris including Shafat Hussain Wani in Islamabad, Budgam and Kupwara areas. The miseries of the people in the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir have increased every day, as the Indian occupation forces continue to terrorize the innocent civilians and to damage the properties without any provocation. We condemn the Indian excesses and call upon the world human rights defenders to stand up for the Kashmiris in IOK
We have seen reports regarding the addition of seven Pakistani entities to the Entity List maintained by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the US Department of Commerce. The entities in question are private sector companies. Being added to the Entity List means that these companies will be subject to additional licensing requirements for access to certain US-origin items. We shall be seeking information from the US as well as these companies to better understand the circumstances which led to the listing. Pakistan believes that there should be no undue restrictions on the access to dual-use items and technologies for peaceful and legitimate purposes. Pakistan has always been transparent and willing to engage with the suppliers of the dual-use items, including from the US, to extend guarantees regarding non-diversion through end-user assurances as well as arrangements for post-shipment verifications. Pakistan has arranged for such post-ship verifications by certain other international suppliers of dual-use items to their complete satisfaction. It is well-known that the Entity List maintained by the US Department of Commerce is a dynamic list where entities and businesses from several countries, including from NSG member states, are added and removed based on the national technical determination made by the relevant US authorities. As such, we caution against unnecessarily politicizing the issue. We reject the attempts by Pakistan’s detractors to exploit these listings to cast aspersions on Pakistan’s non-proliferation credentials. Such attempts give rise to doubts about the motivation and timing of these measures which will be seen as being politically-driven.
Pakistan strongly condemns the Houthi ballistic missile attacks on Saudi Arabia on 25 March 2018. Pakistan commends the Government of Saudi Arabia for destroying the missiles and limiting the casualties. The Government and people of Pakistan reiterate their full support and solidarity with the leadership, the government and people of Saudi Arabia against any threats to its territorial integrity and against the Haramain Sharifain.
Pakistan strongly condemns the heinous and reprehensible Suicide attack that targeted innocent worshippers at a Mosque in Herat, 25 March 2018. We are grieved at the loss of precious and innocent lives in this brutal act of terrorism. Such sacrilegious acts that target places of worships including mosques are highly condemnable. We express our heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the bereaved families and pray for the speedy recovery of the injured.
In an impressive ceremony on 25 March 2018, Pakistan handed over state of the art medical equipment for Nishter Kidney Centre, Jalalabad, Afghanistan to Governor of Jalalabad. The ceremony was attended by officials from Afghan Ministry of Public Health and Foreign Office. The Nishter Kidney Center is a modern medical facility that was constructed by Pakistan under the assistance package for development in Afghanistan. This year, Pakistan provided complete medical equipment, worth US $ 5 million to the hospital. In addition, around 75 doctors & technicians were trained in PIMS Hospital Islamabad last year, who will be a great help for Afghanistan in running this hospital. In April, 2018 Pakistan will provide specialized training to another 42 Afghan doctors and technicians at the Institute of Kidney Diseases in Hayatabad Medical Complex, Peshawar.
The Pakistan delegation led by Syed Muhammad Mehar Ali Shah, Pakistan’s Commissioner for Indus Waters (PCIW) is visiting India for the 114th meeting of the PCIW from 29-31 March 2018 to discuss issues related to the Indus Waters Treaty.
The people and Government of Pakistan are deeply grieved to learn about the tragic fire incident in the shopping mall in Kemerovo, Russian Federation, resulting in loss of more than 50 precious lives and injuries to many. We convey our deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families and pray for early recovery of the injured. The people and Government of Pakistan share the grief of the people and the Government of the Russian Federation and stand by them in this moment of grief.
We congratulate the nine Pakistanis, who have made it to the Forbes Asia’s 30 Under 30 list for the year 2018. These include Mr.Muhammad Asad Raza, Mr. Abrahim Ali Shaha, Mr. Muhammad Shaheer Niazi, Mr. Adnan Shaffi, Mr. Adeel Shaffi, Ms. Sadia Bashir, Mr.Hamza Farrukh, Mr. Syed Faizan Hussain and Ms. Momina Mustehsan who have done exceptional work in the fields of Health, Science, Commerce, Engineering, Information Technology and Social Activism.Pakistanis constitute one third of the whole list showcasing the capability and innovation of our youth who shine in a diverse array of fields. The whole nation is proud of them.