ISLAMABAD - Pakistan said Thursday that Indian ‘falsified claims’ and ‘belligerent statements’ were motivated by an exaggerated view of its capabilities and hegemonic designs.

Addressing a weekly news briefing here, Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal said India’s confrontational attitude and huge arms buildup was a threat to regional peace and stability and may lead to strategic miscalculation.

He said Indian army chief Bipin Rawat’s provocative and irresponsible statements reflected the jingoistic mindset of India which can further exacerbate the already volatile strategic environment. He clarified Pakistan was not desirous of escalation and has reacted with restraint but Indian mistaken belief and irresponsible rhetoric was fraught with unforeseen danger.

Faisal also said Pakistan was fully capable of giving a befitting response in case of any misadventure. He said the ongoing spree of ceasefire violations along the Line of Control and Working boundary were aimed at diverting world attention from Indian forces’ atrocities in occupied Kashmir.

He said as Director General South Asia he had summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner J P Singh earlier in the day to lodge a protest against the unprovoked ceasefire violations by the Indian forces along the Working Boundary.

On the foreign policy front, Faisal said US Acting Assistant Secretary of State Ambassador Alice Wells visited Pakistan. He said there were no demands from either side during the Pak-US talks. “There were no demands, but negotiations, which are ongoing and outside public domain,” he added.

The purpose of the recent visit of Alice Wells, he said, was to find common ground between both sides “for which continuous communication is essential, which is ongoing.”

He said Pakistan’s position was very clear and consistent. “We want an early repatriation of Afghan refugees with dignity, check on the flourishing narcotics and drug trade in Afghanistan that is a major source of funding for terrorist elements, strengthening border fencing mechanisms and curb the use of Afghan soil by regional countries and terrorist organizations to launch deadly attacks on Pakistan,” he elaborated.

He said Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua underscored during the meeting with Wells that the relationship with the US needed to move forward in an environment of mutual trust and respect.

The US delegation, he said, was appraised of the recent counter-terrorism actions taken by Pakistan’s law enforcement agencies that contributed to a visible improvement in the security situation of Pakistan. The foreign secretary expressed concerns on the continued use of Afghan soil by elements hostile to Pakistan’s stability, he said.

About Wells’ India visit after holding talks in Pakistan, he said: “Foreign policy is not based on hopes, but on the situation on the ground and matters of fact. We have raised all these issues with the US. Let us wait and see.” Faisal reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to continue its efforts for promoting peace and stability in the region.

On Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to India, he said: “Pakistan does not interfere in bilateral relations of other countries, however, the belligerent Indian posture and huge arms buildup pose a serious threat to the peace and tranquillity of the region.”

He said terrorism was a universal menace. “Pakistan’s contributions in combating terrorism are unmatched and universally acknowledged. We have paid in blood and treasure to counter this menace. “The reach of Al-Qaeda in the sub-continent and designation of the Indian national as its chief are worrying developments, as they indicate an extension of the AQ network in India and the likelihood of increased Indian recruitment,” he maintained.  On Pak-Iran ties, Faisal said Pakistan and Iran were two ‘brotherly countries’ who have always enjoyed cordial relations.

To a question, the spokesperson said Russia, along with many other regional countries, had expressed repeated concerns on the presence and rise of Daesh and other terrorist groups along Pakistan-Afghanistan border, as well as with those of Central Asia, which was extremely worrying.

To another question, Faisal said Pakistan had repeatedly raised the matter of safety and security of Pakistani professionals working in Afghanistan with the Afghan government. “We urge them to give full protection to our nationals, who are facing numerous problems,” he added.

He said Pakistan had undertaken successful military actions to root this enemy out from our territory. Reportedly, he said, more than 43 percent of Afghan territory was either out of Kabul’s control or contested.  Faisal said such vast tracts of ungoverned and contested spaces had been instrumental in providing safe havens to terrorist groups including Daesh and also attracted international terrorists to relocate to Afghanistan. 

Daesh, he said, was concentrated along Afghan borders with Pakistan, Iran, China and the Central Asian republics. Asked about the arrest of Chinese nationals in Karachi in connection with skimming incidents, he said Pakistan and China have close bilateral relations and both countries have facilitative visa regimes in place for each other’s nationals.

“We do not intend to restrict the entry of Chinese nationals into Pakistan on the basis of a few unsavory incidents. Further details regarding the apprehension of the Chinese nationals may be ascertained from the concerned law enforcement agencies,” he said. Faisal said Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had held talks with Dr Majed Abdullah Al-Qasabi, Minister of Commerce and Investment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, who is visiting Pakistan as a head of a 35-member Saudi delegation to participate in the 11th Session of Pak-Saudi Joint Ministerial Commission.

In the context of export of Pakistani manpower to Saudi Arabia, the Saudi side agreed to set up a training institute in Pakistan to help meet its human resource requirements, he said.

The prime minister underscored that relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were not only important for the government of Pakistan but the people of Pakistan also had a special affection for the Kingdom due to the holy sites in the country.