Pakistan condemns drone strike, terms these strikes violation of territorial integrity

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday strongly condemned the recent drone attack in South Waziristan and said that such attacks are violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Foreign Office Spokesperson Ms. Tasnim Aslam in her weekly briefing here at Foreign Office said Pakistan has consistently maintained that these strikes amount to violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

She pointed out that Pakistan is already taking decisive action against the terrorist elements, therefore, these strikes are unnecessary and should be stopped.

The spokesperson said Pakistan always discussed the issue of drone attacks with United Sates at all levels.

Regarding stranded Pakistanis in Libya the spokesperson said 180 Pakistanis arrived home yesterday through a special flight.
She said so far the government has evacuated 6680 stranded Pakistanis from Libya through special flights, 3000 of them were evacuated by chartered flights.

The spokesperson said still 360 Pakistanis are in camps in Libya and assured that government is making sincere efforts to bring them home soon. She said two ailing Pakistani’s died in Libya and their bodies will be brought home soon.

Commenting on a report, the spokesperson said foreign policy is being formulated with consultation by all stakeholders and it is reflective of national interest.

Referring to reports of arms purchase by India, the spokesperson said Pakistan always said, “We don’t want arms race, conventional or non-conventional, in the region.”

She said the South Asian region is poor, therefore, the countries in the region should concentrate on development of the region instead of indulging in an arms race.

Referring to the ‘heat of asia’ conference being held in China, the spokesperson said Pakistan wants that no country of the region or beyond should interfere in Afghanistan.

She said,”We call upon all the countries not to interfere in Afghanistan’s internal affairs.”

The spokesperson said Afghanistan should be allowed to identify it’s own needs. She said,”We believe and follow strictly the policy of non-interference in internal matters of Afghanistan.”

Replying to a question the spokesperson said verified figure of Pakistanis who crossed border into Afghanistan precisely is 67120 and not 200,000. She said out of them, 38000 came back within a week or so while the remaining, a large number of them keep coming and going due to easement rights.

She said Pakistan has still more than three million Afghan refugees in the country and would be happy for their honorable return to Afghanistan. She said the agreement to keep these refugees in Pakistan with United Nations Human Right Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) will expire in 2015, therefore Pakistan appeals to Afghanistan to make its country suitable for the honorable and safe return of these refugees.

Replying to question about the recent visit of Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister to Pakistan, she said, it was to discuss bilateral issues and not for discussing border disputes between Pakistan and Iran.
She said Pakistan and Iran have border management which is an appropriate forum to discuss border disputes between the two countries.

Answering a question about Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, the spokesperson said both the countries are consistent that they had to complete the project as it is important to meet the energy requirements of Pakistan.

She said Minister for Natural Resources from Pakistan recently visited Iran and held detailed discussion on Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project and the discussion remained very positive.

Answering a question about reported threats to Iranian ambassador in Pakistan from the terrorists, the spokesperson said the foreign office had not received any such report from the Ministry of Interior. She however said that providing security to foreign diplomats is the duty of the government and ensured that if there is any threat to the Iranian or any other ambassador, their security would be increased.

Replying to another question, the spokesperson said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will visit China in the first week of November on the invitation of President Xi Jinping to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Informal Leaders meeting being held in Beijing.

An annual APEC Economic Leaders Meeting is also being attended by the heads of other government of all APEC members.