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India must refrain from meddling in Pak affairs: FO

Says UN Sanctions Committee’s reservations over Lakhvi’s bail have been allayed

By our correspondents
May 08, 2015
ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office (FO) spokesman, while warning India to refrain from interfering in Pakistan’s internal affairs, on Thursday said that the United Nations Sanctions Committee’s reservations on the release of alleged mastermind of the Mumbai terrorist attack Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi had been allayed.
He said that India had moved the UN Sanctions Committee after the alleged mastermind of Mumbai terrorist attack, Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, was given bail and that the Sanctions Committee required an international travel ban, arms embargo and freezing of assets.
“All these measures have been taken and are highlighted during our interaction with our international partners,” he said.On Wednesday, Pakistan’s High Commissioner in India Abdul Basit said in a television interview if the need arose, Pakistan would cooperate with the sanctions committee.
A day after the Pakistan military accused India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) of “whipping up terror in Pakistan”, the Foreign Office during the weekly media briefing said that this particular issue had been taken up with New Delhi, most recently during the visit of the Indian foreign secretary to Islamabad.
The army publicly accused RAW of creating instability inside Pakistan when India the Line of Control (LoC) and Working Border (WB). Later after the terrorist attack on the Army Public School and College, Peshawar, the ISPR blamed India for supporting this terrorist act.
“We have been taking up the issue of Indian involvement in various parts of Pakistan from time to time, particularly when we have talks with them. I would like to recall that after the visit of Indian foreign secretary to Pakistan in March, the foreign secretary had briefed the media about the Indian involvement in Fata and Balochistan,” the newly appointed FO spokesman said while responding to a query.
To another query, the spokesman said that Pakistan had always maintained that it did not know about the whereabouts of Dawood Ibrahim, and finally India had itself admitted that Dawood’s whereabouts were unknown.
In the past, India had accused Pakistan of allowing Dawood to live in Karachi.The spokesman was unaware that Pakistanis traveling on foot to India had to take another dose of polio drops despite having a certificate from Pakistan government which says that the traveler had already taken these drops.
“Thank you for drawing my attention to it. I will find out the factual position and share the information with you”, was the response.He admitted that he had not seen these reports (carried in The News).
“I will find out. You know that we take this issue very seriously. We have also been administering polio drops to those who visit abroad and I will give you my personal example. About two months ago, I had to travel abroad and at the airport polio drops were administered and a certificate to this effect was given to me”, he said.
The spokesman to a query did not respond to whether any Pakistani official was present in Doha when the Afghan Taliban and representatives from the Afghan government held two days talks.He admitted, “We attach importance to peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan. We stand for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process. Pakistan has been supporting peace efforts. We will continue to support these efforts to the extent we can”.
The spokesman’s response comes after reports that the Afghan government is disappointed that Pakistan has been unable to discourage the Afghan Taliban from carrying out a Spring Offensive inside Afghanistan which has seen several militant attacks.
He added that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had a vision of peace in the region and peace with neighboring countries. “In the light of that vision we make all possible efforts to promote our cooperation with Afghanistan that is mutually beneficial. We will continue with this policy”, he added.
The spokesman was again reluctant to give a clear reply if the Foreign Office was in the know and had coordinated Thursday’s visit to Kabul by former president Asif Ali Zardari and former prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani.”We encourage contacts between Pakistan and Afghanistan at all levels because we believe that such contacts are helpful in promoting our bilateral relations,” was the reply.
To a query about a meeting in the Saudi Arabia Embassy where tribal elders committed 50,000 fighters to fight in Yemen which was against the position that Parliament and the government had taken, the spokesman said, “Pakistan’s relations with Saudi Arabia are brotherly, cordial and deep rooted. We share same values. I am not aware of the meeting you have referred to. We conduct our relations with Saudi Arabia through frequent exchange of visits and discuss all issues of mutual interest during such meetings. Pakistan’s policy on Yemen is well-known”.