Kerry to visit Pakistan this month for Pak-US strategic dialogue process

  • FO spokesperson says Pakistan has registered strong protest with India over killing of Pakistani soldiers on Working Boundary


Pakistan and United States will hold strategic dialogues in the current month. US Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Pakistan as the lead of the American delegation.

Foreign office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam, while addressing the weekly press briefing on Thursday, said that the dates and agenda for the Pak-American strategic dialogue were being finalized.

Replying to a question about the Indian firing in Shakargarh, the spokesperson said that Pakistan has lodged a strong protest with the Indian government and the Indian deputy high commissioner was summoned to the Foreign Office on Wednesday to hand over a protest note containing details of the incident.

She said, “Our soldiers were asked for a flag meeting from the other side. When they approached with white flags, they were ambushed.” The spokesperson said this was sheer violation of international laws, bilateral agreements and understandings.

She said Pakistan had demanded that India investigate the incident and give exemplary punishment to those responsible for this unprovoked firing.

Replying to a question about the case of Mumbai attack’s main accused, Zakur Rehman Lakhvi, the spokesperson regretted the unnecessary hype that had been created around the issue. She said the case was progressing well but the media trial would not serve any purpose. She pointed out that the Samjhota Express terror attack took place two years before the Mumbai attack but no progress had been made in that case.

Furthermore, she pointed out that those accused in the Samjhota Express attack, including Aseem Anand, who had confessed to his involvement, along with the military officers and prominent leaders that were a part of the attack, were all released on bail. The spokesperson said it was disappointing that India had not shared any findings from the terrorist attack with Pakistan, despite all assurances coming from the highest levels.

Replying to a question, the spokesperson reiterated Pakistan’s resolve against terrorism. She said, “We are working with the international community, including Afghanistan and the United States, to face this menace.”

“We have undertaken a comprehensive operation against the terrorists, and it is successfully being carried out across the board, against all terrorists,” she added. Replying to a question about future prospects of the Pak-India relations, the spokesperson said the Indian side cancelled the scheduled foreign secretary level talks and now the onus lies with India to take the initiative to resume the dialogue process between the two countries.

Answering a question about the Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline project, the spokesperson categorically stated that Pakistan remained committed to the pipeline project, which was important for Pakistan’s energy requirements.

She said both the sides were committed to taking the project forward. Replying to a question about the draw down effect of international forces stemming from Afghanistan, the spokesperson said Pakistan had consistently supported the idea of a peaceful and responsible Afghanistan. She expressed confidence that the transition in Afghanistan would be completed in an orderly and successful manner.

Replying to a question about the achievements and challenges of foreign policy during 2014, she said that Pakistan has witnessed great success and progress in its relations with Afghanistan and Iran. She further added that, “We hope to build on these relations in the New Year.”

She also commented on Pakistan’s relations with other countries. New vistas were being opened with Russia, while more engagements had been seen with Muslim countries in 2014. She further added that the relations with the European Union started with a good note with Pakistan attaining the status of GSP plus.