ISLAMABAD - The Foreign Office said on Thursday the United States has not yet approached Pakistan for the transfer of Dr Shakil Afridi, the doctor who helped the Central Investigation Agency track al Qaeda head Osama bin Laden.
Washington had not yet approached Islamabad for the transfer of Dr Shakil Afridi, spokesperson for the Foreign Office, Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry, told the weekly press briefing here.
Condemning the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria, the spokesperson said Pakistan as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council was closely monitoring the evolving situation and would evolve its policy response after the UN probe and the guidance provided by the country's leadership.
"Pakistan is closely following the situation in Syria and has urged all sides to pursue the policy of restraint and engage in a comprehensive political dialogue", Chaudhry added.
When his attention was drawn towards the western powers planning to attack Syrian government headed by President Basharul Assad, the spokesperson said that Islamabad stresses the importance of establishing facts by the UN investigation team before any precipitate action is taken.
"We believe the international community should wait for the outcome of investigation before any action is taken. Pakistan believes that sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria must be respected. Use of force must be avoided at all costs as the people of Syria have already suffered enormously," emphasized the spokesperson.
He said that Pakistan's position on these issues has been guided by the widely accepted international principles of inter-state relations, particularly the principles of UN Charter, which include the principle of respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-intervention in internal affairs, and so on.
"We have also expressed concern on fratricidal violence and loss of innocent lives and have always stressed the need for inclusive political dialogue and peaceful resolution of conflict", he added.
On the Pak-India ongoing engagement under the Track-II diplomacy, the spokesperson said India's point person Lambah and Pakistan's point person Shehryar Khan have been in touch with each other. As for the meeting in New York, it has been the position of the government of Pakistan that should an opportunity arises we believe that such a contact between the leadership of two countries will be a useful occasion to discuss the steps required to improve relations between the two countries, he added.
As regards the ceasefire violations by India along the LoC during the past few weeks, he said that Pakistan has conveyed its concern to the Indian government through the diplomatic channels with a clear message to the Indian side that tensions along the LoC undermine the peace initiatives of our leadership. He pointed out that Pakistan has made some concrete proposals to the Indian side to help reduce the tension along the LoC and was still waiting for the Indian response.
Answering a question, the spokesman said visit of the members of Judicial Commission to India regarding investigating in Mumbai attack is on the record but its dates have not been finalized.
On the recent visit of Afghan President to Pakistan, he said it was highly successful visit as it provided a welcome opportunity for the leaders of the two countries to discuss ways of further strengthening relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
In this regard, he noted that Pakistan leadership has assured the Afghan President that Islamabad would extend every possible support that it thinks would help advance the reconciliation process. "We are convinced that peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan will directly benefit not only Afghanistan but also the region itself," he added.
Answering a question about discussion regarding release of Taliban commander Mullah Bradar, he said that he did not have any information in this regard. As a matter of policy, he said Pakistan has committed to support whatever we deem will be helpful to advance the reconciliation process in Afghanistan.
"As a matter of policy Pakistan will assist in whatever manner we can to advance the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan", he said.
On death penalty, he said that Pakistan has been maintaining a moratorium for the past several years, which is likely to continue.
He said that Pakistan and Turkey were working the mutual dates and the details of the proposed visit of Prime Minister Nawz Sharif to Turkey.
On Pakistan and Russia's first strategic dialogue in held in Moscow in which Foreign Secretary represented Pakistan, he said the dialogue entailed besides discussions on issues of regional and international importance both sides discussed strengthening bilateral relations in political, economic, defence and other fields. It also provided an opportunity for discussions on a wide range of regional and international issues of mutual concern. The dialogue provides an institutional framework for building closer relations between Pakistan and Russia.
The spokesman said the Advisor of National Security Sartaj Aziz will take the Parliament into confidence over the situation in Syria and the Line of Control.
Referring to the approval by the federal cabinet the signing of Council of Europe Convention on the transfer of sentenced persons to facilitate the repatriation of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the spokesman said the government is making sincere effort to transfer Dr Siddiqui, to complete her sentence in Pakistan.
He said Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Interior jointly pursue the signing of Council of Europe Convention with United States and other countries.