ISIS not operating on Pakistani soil: FO

| Says no Nawaz-Modi meeting on the cards during UNGA session

ISLAMABAD - Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam, during her weekly press briefing on Thursday, rejected media reports about presence of terrorist outfit ISIS or DAISH on Pakistani territory saying armed forces were taking decisive action against terrorists across the board.
She said there were reports about various countries' citizens including western countries who were part of DAISH, however, Pakistan did not have any specific details about its citizens.
On Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline project, she said both the countries had been continuing discussions to work out different modalities as various proposals regarding the project were under consideration.
Commenting on reports about closure of foreign embassies in Islamabad, the spokesperson said the media had to be more vigilant while reporting.
On new dates regarding Pakistan-India foreign secretary level talks, she said no, adding that there was nothing on cards so far regarding any meeting between Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the upcoming UN General Assembly.
The spokesperson said due to ongoing political standoff, visit of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to Islamabad was postponed on Pakistan's advice. On US sanctions on Iran, she said Pakistan had a clear stance that sanctions did not resolve issues, rather dialogue does.
"We hope that path of dialogue will be preferred to resolve remaining issues between Iran and the West," she said. Commenting on evacuation of stranded Pakistanis from Libya, she said special chartered flight had arrived in Lahore this afternoon with 260 Pakistanis on board. She said special operation was in progress aimed at bringing back thousands of stranded Pakistanis in Libya.
She said Pakistani mission in Libya facilitated the exit of around 4,500 compatriots through third countries before the deteriorating security situation closed the option for land-based evacuation.
Tasnim said despite massive evacuation endeavour, thousands of Pakistanis were still stranded in Libya with around 3,000 accommodated in the relief camps set up by Pakistani embassy.
She said regular special flights were scheduled for the coming weeks to ensure that all those Pakistani nationals wishing to evacuate could be brought back to the motherland as per prime minister's directive.
She said Islamabad and Beijing were in touch to salvage three-day crucial visit of President Xi Jinping to Pakistan expected from 14-16 September.
"Both the countries are in touch," said Tasnim Aslam amid media reports that the visit had been cancelled while Chinese Embassy in Islamabad said it had no information to offer. Instead the Chinese Embassy quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry's spokesperson as saying, "China and Pakistan enjoy very good relations and maintain very close high level exchanges".
On the other hand, Tasnim Aslam at the weekly press briefing on early Thursday said dates for the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping were being worked out.
She said a number of agreements and MoUs were to be signed between Pakistan and China during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping and dates for this visit were being worked out. "Pakistan and China are time-tested friends," she added.
Meanwhile, credible government sources told The Nation that the visit of Chinese President will not be cancelled but it could be postponed. Pakistan and China on August 27 held third session of Pak-China Joint Working Group in Beijing that reviewed progress on the proposed mega development project in Pakistan.
Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal led Pakistani side while Chinese Vice President for Reforms Commission for National Development Xu Shaoshi represented his country.   Ahsan Iqbal had said that Pakistan wanted to finalise financial aspects of Pak-China corridor by the end of this year so that physical work on the project could be launched.
He said Pakistan appreciated Chinese assistance for economic development and hoped that the forthcoming visit of Chinese President to Islamabad would help expedite pace of economic progress.
Iqbal reiterated his government's special interest in completion of mega projects in energy, transport and infrastructure development sectors by 2018. China had promised to make investment up to 40 billion US dollars in Pakistan by 2025.

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