Pakistan on Friday said that it would not like any ‘extraneous conditions’ by the US in a proposed new law and declared that it does not expect to be judged by anyone particularly when the country rendered countless sacrifices in terms of human lives and material losses.
Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam, while responding to a query about the proposed law to fiscally squeeze Pakistan, if the blockade to the US/Nato ground supply route through Pakistan continues, she said the US authorities have not contacted Pakistan on the law at any level. She pointed out that the US had a number of internal procedures and said that she does not feel to comment on them as long as they are at the discussion stage. “But certainly we are engaged with the US and we would not like any extraneous conditions particularly when Pakistan has sacrificed so much, both in terms of human lives and material losses,” she declared, adding that “we do not expect to be judged by anyone.”
The proposed law seeks certification from US defence secretary prior to any reimbursement to testify that Pakistan is taking demonstrable actions against al-Qaeda and other militant groups active along Pak-Afghan border and that Pakistan is maintaining security and is not through its actions or inactions at any level of government limiting or otherwise restricting the movement of the US equipment and supply along GLOCs through Pakistan to Afghanistan.
The new law also proposed reduction in amount available for reimbursement to Pakistan from $1.65 billion in 2013 to $1.5 billion in 2014. About relations with the US, she said that Strategic Dialogue has resumed with the US and there had been meetings of various working groups while the working groups on Finance and Counter-terrorism are going to meet in near future. She said that once the process of the meetings between the five working groups is completed it will be followed by ministerial level meeting.
Regarding the situation in Bangladesh, the spokesperson said that “what is happening in Bangladesh, is essentially its internal matter,” adding that Pakistan and Bangladesh share a long history which goes back to even before 1947. As Muslims of South Asia, she said that both have struggled together for independence from the British rule. Till 1971, we were one nation and by passing a resolution, our Parliament did not mean to interfere in the internal affairs of another country, she added.
Regarding the difference between the position of the Foreign Office and the Parliament, she said that it must be noted that the Parliament is a sovereign and supreme legislative body, adding that the parliamentarians represent the sentiments of the people and have the right to make every statement they deem appropriate.
“Certainly the purpose was not to interfere but it reflected our desire to look towards a brighter future in the spirit of 1974 Tripartite Agreement between Pakistan, India and Bangladesh where it was agreed that we would let ‘bygones be bygones’ and focus on a better future for peace and stability of the region,” she said.
She further said that Pakistan High Commissioner was called to the Bangladeshi Foreign Office and was handed over an aide-memoire. “We would not like to get into responding to everything that may have been said in the public demonstrations because we do not want our response to be construed as recriminations,” she said, however, she called upon the brotherly and friendly country of Bangladesh to adopt the spirit of reconciliation and cordiality in keeping with the tripartite agreement of 1974. The spokesperson said that Pakistan wishes the people of Bangladesh peace, stability and progress.
About Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, she said that Pakistan does not have any sanctions on the project, but we do hope that there is progress in the negotiations between E3+3 [comprising the UK, France, Germany, US, Russia, and China] and Pakistan. “We wish to have more propitious climate to focus on building the pipeline… Obviously funds are a constraint but we are looking at different options,” she added.
Regarding LoC situation, she remarked that “Line of Control is under control”. About DGMOs next week meeting on LoC, she said that Pakistan has expressed the desire to include the two Foreign Offices in the DGMOs meeting to make it broad-based, but the stand is not acceptable to India. For the time being, this meeting will be between the DGMOs but our proposal is still on the table, she added.
Commenting on the Prime Minister’s statement on friendship with India, she said that the premier was not talking about any particular trilateral mechanism but called for better relationship with our neighbours in general. The spokesperson also welcomed the UN General Assembly’s resolution against drone attacks‚ terming it a big step forward. She said that the resolution reflects the international public opinion and also speaks of legality and illegality of the use of drones.
She reiterated Pakistan’s position on the drone attacks‚ saying these strikes violate sovereignty and cause collateral damage. She said the next move is to approach the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva against drone attacks. On the release of Taliban leader Mullah Baradar‚ she said that the release was made at the request of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and it was aimed at facilitating the Afghan reconciliation process.
She said that Pakistan had facilitated meeting between Mullah Baradar and Afghan High Peace Council as Islamabad desires peace‚ stability and prosperity in Afghanistan and the region. On the Turkish Prime Minister’s next week visit to Pakistan‚ she said that the two brotherly countries enjoy close relations. She said that the two countries have convergence of opinion on various issues. She said that a number of MOUs would be signed between the two countries during the visit of the Turkish Prime Minister the dates for which are being worked out.
Tasnim Aslam also denied killing of any Pakistani pilgrims in Iraq, adding that neither the Iraqi authorities nor the Pakistani Mission have confirmed the reports of the killing of three Pakistani pilgrims. To another query she also confirmed that decision on appointment of Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry as the new Foreign Secretary.
Source: Business Recorder