Foreign Office said Thursday that Pakistan is looking forward to closely work with the new US administration in pursuit of common ideals of freedom, democracy and prosperity, as Donald Trump will take the oath of his office today (Friday) as 45th President of the United States.
Responding to media queries during his weekly briefing, Foreign Office Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria referred to State Department’s statement that no heads of state / government or foreign ministers have been officially invited to participate in the presidential inauguration on 20th January, 2017.
As for the incoming US administration, he stated that Pakistan is looking forward to closely working with it in pursuit of Pak-US common ideals of freedom, democracy and prosperity.
“We also firmly believe that given the imperatives of peace, stability and security in the region, continued close co-operation between Pakistan and the US is important to successfully fight terrorism and to attain the shared objectives of regional peace, security and prosperity,” he said.
“Pakistan and the US are longstanding friends and partners and we do engage extensively and on regular basis with each other to share our positions on issues of mutual interest and concern,” he added.
Commenting on US Vice President Joe Biden’s statement that Pakistan “made counterproductive moves that have increased the risk that nuclear weapons could be used in a regional conflict,” Zakaria said that any assessment pinning blame on Pakistan for nuclearising South Asia is obviously neither fair nor accurate, adding it was India, which introduced the nuclear factor in South Asia. Obviously, Pakistan had no option but to follow suit to avoid nuclear blackmailing, he added.
“Those worried about the risk of nuclear weapons in South Asia should impress upon India to positively respond to Pakistan’s proposal of Strategic Restraint Regime (SRR),” he said.
He pointed out that last year India conducted 120 tests of various missile systems including SLBM, ICBM and it is rapidly enhancing its conventional and nuclear arsenals quantitatively and qualitatively. On the other hand, he said that Pakistan is committed to avoidance of arms race in South Asia and had demonstrated utmost restraint while taking necessary steps for the maintenance of credible minimum deterrence.
On the US Foreign Policy Magazine’s recent report that India has built two top-secret facilities in Challakere, Karnataka, to enrich uranium in pursuit of its hydrogen bomb plans, Zakaria said that Pakistan has consistently maintained that both India and Pakistan should agree on meaningful measures for restraint and avoidance of nuclear or conventional arms race in the region.
He said that India’s expansion of its conventional and nuclear capabilities goes against the objective of strategic stability in South Asia. He said that international reports about new nuclear facilities being built in India only confirm the concerns expressed by Pakistan in 2008 that without appropriate non-proliferation safeguards, the NSG exemption would lead to expansion in the Indian capacity to produce fissile material for military use.
On the recent statement of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the spokesperson stated that no nation has done more than Pakistan to defeat the menace of terrorism. “Our successes in counterterrorism are well-demonstrated and have been widely acknowledged. The salutary effect on our economy is also visible,” he said.
Unfortunately, he added that Pakistan is also a victim of terrorism, especially Indian state-sponsored terrorism, adding the confession statement of a serving Indian Naval officer, Kulbhushan Yadav has proved that Indian state agencies are continuously involved in subversive and terrorist activities in Pakistan.
He said that Pakistan has repeatedly called on the Indian government to pursue the path of dialogue and engagement, rather than confrontation, violence and terrorism. “India has always shirked from dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues, including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute,” he said, adding Pakistan believes that the just resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute is essential for normalisation of relations between the two countries and the peace and development in the region.
To another query about the statement of Indian Minister of State, who rejected Pakistan’s claims that RSS is a terrorist organisation, Zakaria said that the statement should be seen in the backdrop of public confession by the RSS activist, Swami Aseemanand, one of the masterminds of Samjhauta Express terrorist attack in February 2007, in which mostly Pakistanis were killed.
He said that Swami had also identified other terrorists involved in the terror incident belong to Abhinav Bharat, headed by a then serving Indian Army Colonel, Parohit. “RSS was instrumental in the genocide of more than 500,000 Kashmiri Muslims during November 1947,” he said, adding Pakistan in a letter to the Chair UNCIP had also reflected on RSS gruesome activities.
He said that the rising incidents of intolerance against minorities, especially Muslims, Dalits and Christians in India are a testimony that RSS is a terrorist organisation.
About the dossier recently submitted to the UN on Kulbhushan Yadav’s activities, he said that the dossier is based on the confessions and revelation made by Yadav. “What we had submitted earlier was the evidence and information that reflected on Indian involvement in terrorism, which had gathered,” he added.
To another query, he rejected the Afghan government’s baseless allegations, adding the ‘accusatory approach’ is unhelpful towards efforts for peace. “Pakistan has suffered from the menace of terrorism and has made unparalleled sacrifices. We have done more than any other nation in the world in the fight against terrorism,” he said.
He further said Pakistan has highest stakes in the peace and stability in Afghanistan, adding no country gets affected more than Pakistan due to instability in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s commitment to peace and stability in Afghanistan is, therefore, beyond any doubt, he added.
He stated that it was disappointing that some elements, which have no interest in peace in Afghanistan and want to damage Afghan-Pakistan relations, have been maligning Pakistan for their own agenda.
On its part, he added that Pakistan remains committed to a meaningful engagement with Afghanistan to address the common challenge of terrorism. “We are willing to extend all possible co-operation to Afghanistan, particularly for sharing our achievements and experience in the field of counterterrorism and border management,” he added.
He said that the increasing foothold of terrorist organisations in Afghanistan is a matter of concern not only for Pakistan but other countries as well.
About Prime Minister’s engagements in Davos, he said that the Premier had held bilateral meetings with various leaders on the sidelines during which he highlighted human rights violations of defenceless Kashmiris in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IoK) at the hands of Indian occupation forces.