Pakistan on Thursday said it has been pursuing a comprehensive policy against terrorism which combines political, socioeconomic and military elements.
Foreign Office Spokesman Muhammad Sadiq in his weekly briefing said, “The government believes that the military action alone will not be effective in permanently ending the menace of terrorism.”
He said political engagement is an essential part of the policy but it is possible only with those who renounce militancy and violence; do not allow the use of Pakistan’s territory against any other country; and do not help foreign terrorist elements to find hideouts in the country.
The spokesman said, “The security requirements will not be abandoned or ignored under the policy.” “Negotiations with tribal leaders and notables are aimed at supporting military efforts with political ones,” he added.
Replying to a question about Pakistan’s foreign policy to solve Kashmir issue, the spokesman said Pakistan is still committed to the peaceful solution to the issue in accordance with UN resolutions through mutual consultation.—APP
Mariana Baabar adds: The foreign ministry is in the process to collaborate with other ministries and departments to work out modalities for constituting an international commission to probe into the tragic assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
In this regard, he added, all concerned are in touch with the ministry of foreign affairs. “The content of the resolution unanimously adopted by the National Assembly are explicit.
The modalities for constituting the international commission are being worked out by the foreign ministry in consultation with all the concerned,” the spokesman said.
The government hopes to address the matter of the posting of Gen Jay Hood to Pakistan as one, which is of public interest in the best possible manner. To a query why Hood was not being declared a persona-non-grata, the spokesman replied that the foreign affairs ministry is fully cognizant of the public sentiments and sensitivities regarding the reported transfer of General Hood to Islamabad.
“We hope to address this matter of public interest in the best possible manner,” he replied. The spokesman played down fears expressed during the visit by the Japanese foreign minister about Pakistan’s nuclear policy and its continued testing of ballistic missiles.
To a query in this regard, the spokesman replied, “The Japanese foreign minister’s visit to Pakistan was important and useful. Progress was made in a number of areas. The media was kept fully informed of the discussions between the two sides. Japan’s policy on non-proliferation of nuclear and strategic weapons is longstanding since the Second World War. Pakistan shares the objectives of this policy.”
To another query about how Japan felt about Pakistan’s new policy about engaging with militants, the spokesman said that Japan has shown understanding for Pakistan’s policy on the war on terror.
“The Japanese foreign minister in this regard announced that he would brief the G-8 members on Pakistan’s policy,” he added. To a query about changes in the foreign policy from that under Pervez Musharraf the spokesman said the basic objective of foreign policy is protection of the national interest.
“Thus any change or adjustment in foreign policy is dictated by the requirements of national interest and aspiration of the people. The foreign minister will be leading a debate on Pakistan’s foreign policy in the Senate today and tomorrow. The debate will provide a complete round up of the foreign policy”, he added.
Giving details about the late Mohammad Akram who was an under trial Pakistani prisoner in India, the spokesman said that he was held at Central Jail Amritsar and died in Guru Nanak Dev Hospital on 26 April 2008.
“The information about his death was conveyed to the officials of Pakistan High Commission, New Delhi when they visited the Amritsar Jail for consular access to some other Pakistani prisoners. Our Mission has asked the Indian Ministry of External Affairs for details of the circumstances leading to the death of Mohammad Akram, and has sought the early repatriation of his dead body. The Foreign Office is also in contact with the Indian High Commission in Islamabad on this issue”, he added.
He said that on 31st March 2008, Pakistan and India exchanged lists of prisoners in accordance with the recommendations of the first meeting of Pakistan-India Judicial Committee on Prisoners held in New Delhi on February 26, 2008. The Indian side had informed us that 133 Pakistani civil prisoners and 14 fishermen were held in India. At that time Indian side had mentioned that further names would be communicated to us when they received the same from various jail authorities. Additional information from Indian side is still awaited.
To a query about the captured Pakistanis in Spain, the spokesman said that on January 18, 2008, the Spanish police took into custody 12 Pakistanis in Barcelona on the suspicion of planning terror attacks in Spain and other European countries.
“The Spanish authorities claimed to have recovered bomb-making material and timing devices from them. Apparently, the detainees belonged to the Tablighi Jamaat and some of them had been residing in the country for many years. Three were reported to be illegal migrants. Finally, nine individuals were produced in the Madrid Anti-terrorist Court for hearing on 23 January 2008 while others were released for insufficient evidence. The next date of hearing is yet to be fixed,” he added.