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  • Apr 20th, 2018
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Pakistan Thursday laughed off the claims made by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that New Delhi informed Islamabad about the September 26, 2016 alleged surgical strikes before making it public to Indian audience. Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal, while commenting on Prime Minister Modi's latest claims, told his weekly media briefing that Pakistan has already categorically dismissed the farcical allegations of the so-called surgical strike "which is nothing but a figment of Indian imagination and a tenuous relationship with truth."

"Constant repetition of a fallacious claim does not make it real. The Indian government is increasingly sounding like a 'broken record'," he added. Prime Minister Modi during an event in London on Wednesday claimed: "I said before India gets to know we should call Pakistan and tell them what we did [surgical strikes], so they can come and collect the bodies if they have time. We were calling them since 11:00am but they were scared to answer the phone. At 12:00pm we spoke to them and then told the Indian media."

Responding yet to another provocative statement by Prime Minister Modi about "exporting terrorists," Dr Faisal said that history is replete with instances of Pakistan being backstabbed by India, rather than the other way around. "It is India which continues to sponsor the acts of terrorism in Pakistan. Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav in Pakistan's custody is the living proof of who exports terror," he said, adding, "We have repeatedly seen attempts in India to externalize internal problems or dragging in Pakistan for electoral gains."

"Baseless Indian allegations are just sad political gimmickry, an absurd attempt to put on a show to divert attention from such heinous incidents [atrocities in Held Kashmir and rape cases] and its abject failure. India should take care of the skeleton in its closet and not drag other countries in ploys to secure votes," he added.

He asserted that Indian government has come under immense criticism about the brutal Kathua rape of 8-year-old Asifa who was kidnapped, held in a temple, repeatedly raped and then bludgeoned to death. On Indian Air Force's increasing the number of fighter jets, he said that Indian hegemonic designs are an open secret and have subjected the region to a compulsive arms race.

He said that Pakistan believes in mutual respect and a policy of peaceful coexistence, but "our armed forces are well prepared and vigilant to respond befittingly to any threat to the motherland." Responding to another question about the US government's travel restrictions on Pakistani diplomats, the spokesperson confirmed that the restrictions to be applied from May 01. "Yes, we have received official communication regarding certain measures that the US intends to implement, wef, May 1, 2018," he said.

"The issue is primarily of reciprocity. Both sides are in touch and we are hopeful that the matter will be resolved. We have nothing more to add to this at the moment," he added. On the traffic accident involving a US Embassy Defense and Air Attaché Colonel Joseph, he said: "We are awaiting the outcome of preliminary investigations from Islamabad Police, based on which further actions would be initiated."

He also referred to the Articles 31 and 32 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961 which inter alia deal with diplomatic immunity, adding the US diplomat be treated under Pakistan's Diplomatic and Consular Privileges Act 1972, which gives effect to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961 and Vienna Convention on Consular Relations 1963.

About the Trump administration warning that it could cut Pakistan's civilian aid if it did not do enough to combat human trafficking, he said that human trafficking is a curse and the government is taking all measures to curb this. During the past years, he said that the government has made significant efforts in all relevant areas to meet the standards for the elimination of trafficking by increasing investigations, prosecutions, and convictions.

"We have also made some progress recently, in enacting antihuman smuggling legislation," he said, adding a detailed report in the context of Trafficking in Persons Report 2018, prepared by the Ministry of Interior (FIA) on the measures undertaken during the past year, has been shared with the US side. We hope that Pakistan's efforts would be acknowledged in this regard," he added.

To another query, the spokesperson said Pakistan appreciates Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's recent statement in which he supported the resistance of Kashmiri people. "We understand, the Iranian Supreme Leader in his statement has stressed on Iran's support to the resistance shown by Muslims wherever they face tyranny, including in Jammu and Kashmir, where they struggle for realization of the right to self-determination. We appreciate the Iranian Supreme Leader's enunciation of support to the people of Jammu and Kashmir," he said.

After the recent surge of Indian state terrorism in Indian-held Kashmir, he said that Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif talked with his Iranian counterpart and Iran has condemned the Indian brutalities in Kashmir. On the recent clashes on Pak-Afghan border, he said Pakistan sincerely believes that all outstanding issues and differences can be achieved through sustained and meaningful dialogue with the Afghan authorities.

The recent visit of the Prime Minister was a reflection of this spirit, he said, adding that Pakistan constantly raises its concerns of Afghan territory being used for terrorist activities in Pakistan, Afghan refugees' early repatriation, rise in drug/poppy cultivation in Afghanistan and its direct linkage with war economy etc with the Afghan officials on a regular basis.

"We believe that under APAPPS [Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity] framework, a sustainable and long-lasting solution to the problems can be achieved by both sides," he said. Last Sunday, he said that Pakistan's FC troops deployed along Pak-Afghan border at Kurram Agency came under attack from the Afghan side, while they were on routine patrolling and fencing activity on the border.

He said that the Afghan border security forces, assisted by Afghan tribesmen, fired on Pakistani troops, resulting in martyrdom of five soldiers. He said that the Afghan border forces and tribesmen also got hold of the bodies of Pakistani troops and detained one soldier. As there were a large number of tribesmen on Afghan side, he said that Pakistani troops exercised utmost restraint to avoid civilian casualties.

"Our side, via diplomatic and military channels immediately engaged the Afghan authorities to hold border flag meeting to help resolve the situation," he said, adding that a border flag meeting was held between the commanders of the two forces and situation was amicably defused. He said that Afghan side handed over bodies of five Pakistani FC personnel and the detained sepoy to Pakistan. In their engagement, the two sides emphasized the need for further enhancing border co-ordination to avoid recurrence of such incidents in the future, he added.

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