ISLAMABAD: Following a series of statements by military and civilian leaders regarding Indian involvement in terrorist activities in Pakistan, Foreign Office spokesperson Qazi Khalilullah said Thursday that Pakistan is “well aware of India’s alleged plans to sabotage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project and its campaign against the corridor”.
Responding to a series of questions regarding the recent statements made by Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar about sponsoring terrorism to counter terrorism, he said: “The Indian defence minister’s statements have confirmed Pakistan’s apprehensions regarding India’s involvement in terrorist activities in the country.”
“Parrikar’s statements are a matter of concern for not only Pakistan but the entire region and the whole world,” he said, adding that, “Pakistan is taking appropriate steps and measures to protect its national interests.”
Qazi Khalilullah further said that Pakistan has been the worst victim of terrorism with more than 50,000 lives lost and the country’s economy incurring losses of more than $100 billion.
Senate’s Standing Committee on Defence, Federal Defence Minister Khawaja Asif and Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz had also taken strong exception to the statement made by Parrikar.
Responding to a question regarding the presence of the self-styled Islamic State (IS) group’s footprints in Pakistan, the foreign office spokesperson said no such footprints existed in Pakistan.
He added that, “Presence of wall-chalkings and banners in support of the group at a few isolated places does not prove that Daesh is present in the country.”
“Pakistan does not share the language or culture of the IS militants, and the country’s agencies are fully cognisant of the threat and are alerted to it,” Khalilullah said.
Answering a question about the arrest of Pakistani national Khalid Mehmmod in Dhaka over espionage charges, the Foreign Office spokesperson said that the arrested man was working as an electrical engineer in a textile firm in the capital city of Bangladesh.
He added that Mehmood, who has 15 years experience in the field of textiles, was in Bangladesh on a valid visa since 2014.
Khalilullah added that Pakistan’s High Commissioner in Dhaka Mian Afrasiab Mehdi Hashmi Qureshi had contacted the Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali and had sought counsellor access to the engineer.
The Pakistani high commissioner was assured by the foreign minister of Bangladesh that counsellor access would be granted to Khalid Mehmood, according to the foreign office spokesperson.
Responding to a question about the Axact fake degree scandal, the FO spokesperson said that the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is probing the matter as per the request of the Interior Ministry of Pakistan
He said that the government of Pakistan was also cooperating with the FBI in the ongoing investigation.
Answering a question about the expulsion of Declan Walsh, The New York Times’ Islamabad bureau chief, Qazi Khalilullah said that the matter came under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and not the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Walsh, a longtime foreign correspondent who had been covering the country for the Times since January 2012, was expelled from Pakistan on the eve of the May 11 elections in 2013. He was handed a two-sentence letter early Thursday ordering him to leave and accusing him of unspecified ”undesirable activities”.
Speaking about the repatriation of Afghan refugees from Pakistan, Khalilullah said Pakistan and Afghanistan have not entered into any agreement regarding the extension of the refugees’ stay.
“However Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) are in touch with each other for the respectful return of the refugees.”
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The 68th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China.
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