ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday said the statement of the Indian defence minister about sponsoring terrorism confirmed Pakistan’s stance about Indian involvement in terrorism.
In the face of continuous verbal attacks and threats from New Delhi, Pakistan says that it will take all steps to protect the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) while, at the same time, warning important world capitals that the recent remarks of the Indian defence minister should be a matter of concern not just for Pakistan but also others in the region and beyond.
The weekly media briefing at the Foreign Office (FO) saw a flurry of questions regarding Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s recent statement in which he had threatened to launch terrorist activities inside Pakistan. Also worrisome were Indian media reports that India had formally registered a strong protest with China against the CPEC with some reports suggesting that New Delhi would make attempts to sabotage this mega project.
“I wish to reiterate our commitment to the realisation of the CPEC projects, which will benefit the entire region.“As regards the steps taken by Pakistan to highlight this at the international fora, I have said that we will take all appropriate measures that are required to protect Pakistan’s national interests,” the spokesman remarked.
Responding to a series of questions regarding the recent statements made by the Indian minister about sponsoring terrorism to counter terrorism, he said: “The Indian defence minister’s statements have confirmed Pakistan’s apprehensions regarding India’s involvement in terrorist activities in the country.”
However, the Foreign Office has decided not to summon the Indian high commissioner over these two issues and instead pointed to the strong statement from Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs. He added that there were various options available to the Foreign Office, but this was the one chosen.
However, till date there has been no reaction by any foreign government related to Parrikar’s remarks.Also, he said that Pakistan was committed to good neighbourly relations with all the neigbouring countries, including India.
“The Senate’s Defence Committee has also condemned the statement of Indian defence minister and expressed concern. Pakistan is a victim of terrorism and has suffered more than any other country in the world. We have lost more than sixty thousand lives of our citizens and suffered economic losses of more than $100 billion. Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. The statement of the Indian defence minister should be a matter of concern to not just Pakistan but also others in the region and beyond,” the spokesman added.
He also pointed to an earlier statement “of even more grave nature” made by the Indian National Security Adviser, Ajit Doval which also confirmed Pakistan’s apprehensions about India’s involvement in terrorism in Pakistan. However, the spokesman refrained from stating what Doval had said at the time.
Commenting on the ongoing investigations against Axact, the spokesman to a query said that a number of US entities and educational institutions had allegedly been named in the Axact scandal.
“Therefore, on the request of the investigating authorities concerned, we have approached the US side for assistance in the ongoing investigation against Axact in Pakistan,” he said.A week after he was asked about the reason why Declan Walsh from New York Times was asked to leave Pakistan, the spokesman realised that it was for the Ministry of Information to respond.
Regarding reports that there was a presence of the Islamic State in Pakistan, the spokesman did not agree.“There is no footprint of ISIL in Pakistan. The people of Pakistan have no ideological, ethnic or linguistic affinities with the organisation and its members. However, we have seen some pamphlets and wall-chalking. That is no proof of the presence of ISIL in Pakistan. Nevertheless, we are cognizant of the threat the ISIL poses. Our security agencies are aware of this threat and will take appropriate measures, if needed,” he responded.
Regarding Pakistan’s statement on the death sentence given to the former Egyptian president which had annoyed Cairo, the spokesman said that this was based on internationally-recognised principles.
“However, I would like to underscore that the relations between the people of Pakistan and the people of Egypt are deep rooted in history, culture and shared values. We are confident that the fraternal bonds existing between the peoples of Pakistan and Egypt would be further strengthened in the days to come,” he added.
To an earlier question about the Afghan refugees who are expected to leave Pakistan by the end of the year, the spokesman commented, “Pakistan, Afghanistan and UNHCR are working closely to devise modalities and realistic timelines for the return of Afghan refugees. Efforts are also being made for mobilising international support and resources for creating necessary pull factors inside Afghanistan to incentivise the return of refugees.”