Islamabad - Pakistan Thursday lodged a protest with the United States over its National Security Agency (NSA) spying of political parties in Pakistan and called upon Washington to stop such activities as such actions are against international law and established diplomatic conduct.
“The US Embassy in Islamabad was conveyed today that such an action against Pakistani government departments or other organisations, entities and individuals is not in accord with international law and recognised diplomatic conduct. The reference to a political party in Pakistan was surprising,” Foreign Office Spokesperson Tasnim Aslam told weekly briefing.
She further said that US side was also conveyed that surveillance was contrary to the spirit of friendly relations between the two countries, Islamabad, therefore “urged the US to stop such activities in the interest of friendly and cooperative ties”.
Commenting on allegations by senior Afghan officials, the spokesperson rejected Afghanistan’s allegations that Pakistani troops are involved in armed clashes in Helmand province, adding that Pakistan has repeatedly said that Afghan allegations are baseless. She said the Afghan authorities have never presented any evidences in this regard to Pakistan despite repeated requests.
The spokesperson said Pakistan had asked Afghan government to take matching steps to ensure that terrorist should not escape during the military operation being launched in North Waziristan. “Afghanistan’s territory should not be used by terrorist to launch activities inside Pakistan and the Afghan government has been asked to take adequate steps.” Tasnim said a military delegation of Afghanistan is visiting Pakistan ‘today’ (Thursday) to discuss the issue of border management with Pakistani officials.
Answering a question regarding the Jammu and Kashmir, the spokesperson said that it is a disputed territory and it’s not an integral part of India as claimed by New Delhi. “We do not accept so called accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India as it is a disputed territory and we do not accept Jammu and Kashmir as integral part of India.” She explained that according to UNSC resolutions the Kashmiris had been ensured their right of plebiscite.
The spokesperson also regretted violation of Line of Control in Kashmir and unprovoked shelling by the Indian forces. She said in a recent incident in Kotli sector a Pakistani soldier was injured due to Indian shelling. She said a meeting between the local commanders from both the sides was held to discuss the issue.
Regarding the issue of Pakistani prisoners in India, Tasnim said, there has been dispute in the number of these prisoners. She said according to Pakistan’s estimate there are 500 Pakistani prisoners in Indian jails. She said under the bilateral agreement, both the countries exchange list of prisoners on July 1 and January 1. She said Pakistan handed over the list of Indian prisoners to Indian authorities and received list of its prisoners from Indian authorities.
Replying to a question about Pakistan’s membership to Nuclear Supply Group, the spokesperson said even-handed and non-discriminatory approach should be adopted in this regard. Highlighting Pakistan’s successful track record of adopting nuclear safety for its nuclear assets and civil nuclear energy production units, she said, Pakistan deserves membership of NSG. The spokesperson said although Pakistan is not signatory to Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), but it is reality that Pakistan and India are nuclear states, therefore, there should not be double standard and dual policy regarding NSG membership.
Expressing concern on the situation in Iraq, the spokesperson said Pakistan wants peaceful resolution of the issue, adding that Pakistan’s embassy in Iraq is functional and the ambassador is in touch with all the Pakistanis living in Iraq. She said Pakistani mission had informed the Pakistanis about the situation before hand and Pakistanis living in Iraq were shifted to safer place.
Regarding the issue of asylum seekers in Australia, the spokesperson clarified that these asylum seekers, including those from Pakistan, have been offered cash so that they could be repatriated to their home countries under a standard policy adopted. About the situation of asylum seekers in Sri Lanka, she said Pakistan mission is in touch with them and with the Sri Lankan government.