ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Thursday said it would not sign a new agreement with Iran on gas pipeline and the issue is not going to be specifically on the agenda of US-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue review meeting likely to be held in Washington later this month.
“There may be an adjustment of the timeline, but that does not require a new agreement. The progress on the pipeline has been slow because of the funding issues and not because of the US,” Foreign Office Spokesperson Tasneem Aslam said while responding to a questioner at the weekly press briefing.
Answering a question, the spokesperson said Pakistan’s position has always been that there is no military solution to the Iranian nuclear issue. “We have all along urged all the interlocutors that a settlement of this issue should be found through dialogue and this settlement has vindicated Pakistan’s position. We hope it will be implemented in letter and spirit,” she added.
Answering a question about the recent statement made by the Indian army chief regarding LoC violations, the spokesperson said it is provocative and unfortunate and the ISPR DG has already pointed out that such statements and claims tend to deteriorate the situation.
“We have always tried to maintain tranquility on the Line of Control. It was with this in view that our military operations DG had invited his Indian counterpart for talks. They had a constructive meeting and they agreed on a number of measures. “We expect India to abide by the agreement,” she asserted.
She recalled there have been incessant violations of the Line of Control (LoC) from the Indian side since January last year. In these incidents, some soldiers and some civilians were martyred, she added.
Responding to a question about Pak-India trade talks, she clarified that there was a Saarc business conclave at which the commerce minister and the commerce secretary were participating along with a delegation. This conclave would offer an opportunity to them to have meetings with their Indian counterparts.
“There was a road map previously agreed by the two countries. At these meetings they will sort out what has been achieved and what needs to be done for more liberalised trade in which both the sides have equal opportunities,” she added.
She said Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz had left for Morocco where he would be participating in 20the meeting of Al-Quds Committee which was scheduled to take place on the 17th of January. She said Pakistan had been an active member of the Al-Quds Committee since its establishment in 1975.
Tasneem Aslam said: Our position on Palestine was clear,” adding Pakistan at the meeting in Morocco would speak in favour of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem its capital.
The spokesperson said Pakistan was against Israel’s continued construction of illegal settlements in occupied territories and added that Jerusalem should be liberated from Israeli occupation.
He refuted a report which appeared in a daily newspaper that in Italy two boats were intercepted carrying illegal immigrants and majority of them were Pakistanis.
She said, “Our mission has pointed out that there were 25 to 30 Pakistanis on the two boats carrying 1050 passengers. However, after police interviews, it was found that their mother tongue was written in the documents as Arabic. Lately, the Italian authorities have informed Pakistan Mission that 65 of them appear to be Pakistanis.” Tasneem Aslam said they did not have any legal documents and their nationalities would be ascertained after further investigations. She said there was need to be careful as illegal immigration was happening around the world and governments were cooperating with one another on the issue because it entailed exploitation of innocent people who were actually economic migrants.
She said: “We should not exaggerate the number of Pakistanis involved as in more than 1,000 people, 50 or 60 turn out to be Pakistanis, which is not a very high number though our preference will be that no Pakistani should be caught in these unfortunate situations.” Answering a question on beheading of Pakistani drug traffickers in Saudi Arabia, she said a very strong lobby emerging around the world was against death penalty. She said a drug trafficker played with the lives of the people while drug addicts were a burden on the society. She added many countries like Saudi Arabia and China had very stern punishments and drug trafficking carried death penalty there.