ISLAMABAD -  Pakistan Thursday said that conditionality related to action against the Haqqani Network for reimbursement of $700 million to Pakistan under the Coalition Support Fund was ‘not new.’

Speaking at a weekly news briefing here, Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal said the US Congress recently passed the National Defence Authorisation Bill for fiscal year 2018 which included provisions for reimbursement of $700 million to the Pakistan under the CSF .

“The conditionality with regard to the Haqqani network is not new and was also part of previous authorizations. Efforts to stretch this conditionality by adding other organizations did not succeed,” he said.

Faisal added: “Pakistan and the US are engaged in discussing all issues of mutual interest, including advancing peace and stability in the region. More than 43 per cent of Afghan territory is ungoverned, which created space for sanctuaries and safe havens for terrorist outfits.”

Asked to comment on US President Donald Trump’s declaration that North Korea was a state sponsor of terrorism, he said Pakistan was monitoring the situation in the Korean Peninsula and shared the concerns over the tensions in the region.

He said Pakistan supported the resolution of the issue through peaceful means. “Pakistan also supports the resumption of Six-Party Talks process at an early date to reduce the tensions,” he mentioned.

To a question, the spokesperson said the US defence secretary was expected to visit Pakistan in the next few weeks. “Dates are being worked out. Pakistan and the US are engaged in discussing all issues including those relating to regional peace and security,” he maintained.

Faisal said the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, Daesh and Jamaatul Ahrar groups were using Afghan soil for terrorist activities against Pakistan.

The spokesperson said there was also network of Indian intelligence agency – the Research and Analysis Wing - in Afghanistan which was involved in terrorist activities.

“Pakistan has shared evidence with Afghanistan in this regard. Mullah Fazlullah and mastermind of terrorist attack on Army Public School in Peshawar also took refuge in Afghanistan,” he said.

Faisal said the issue of opium cultivation and drug production posed a serious threat to the socio economic development, security and stability of Afghanistan but the surrounding region also.

To a question, the spokesperson said Pakistan offered a meeting to convicted India spy Kulbushan Jadhav’s wife, the next of kin, on purely humanitarian grounds. “India has requested that the mother may be allowed to accompany the wife. The Indian request is under consideration,” he added.

About Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj’s statement that New Delhi had confirmed medical visa to a Pakistani woman for treatment, Failsal said it was regrettable that India continued to politicise humanitarian issues, including provision of medical visas for Pakistani patients since May 2017. 

“It is all more reprehensible as these patients, many of whom have been consulting Indian doctors for a long time are seeking treatment, often lifesaving, on their own expense without any special discount from India - I repeat on their own expense.  No one is fooled by Indian gimmickry. This is not a gesture of compassion but cold blooded politicking under which individuals are picked at will for political mileage,” he remarked.

Asked to comment on the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime report that the production of opium in Afghanistan had increased by 87 per cent in 2017, as compared to the year 2016, he said Pakistan had consistently raised concerns about the increase in cultivation and production of opium in Afghanistan.

“We are especially concerned about the links between narco-trade and terrorism, as narco-trafficking is considered to be one of the major sources of terror financing in Afghanistan. The issue of opium cultivation and drug production poses a serious threat to the socio-economic development, security and stability not only of Afghanistan, but also in the surrounding region,” he said.

The Afghanistan government, he said, needed to take urgent steps for eradication, law enforcement, provision of alternative livelihoods, and public information campaigns to end this menace, consistent with the International Drug Conventions.

To a question about denial of visa by Swiss embassy to a retired Justice and Speaker of Balochistan Assembly, who were part of a delegation that was proceeding to Geneva, the spokesperson said initially there was some miscommunication about visa applications of Pakistani senior officials, who were scheduled to travel to Geneva for official meetings.

To another question, he said it was being misreported in the media that the High Commission for Pakistan, London had awarded visa facilitation service contract to an inexperienced firm.

About Switzerland government’s decision to prohibit the entry of Baloch nationalist Mehran Marri and denial of asylum to Brahumdagh Bugti, the spokesperson said: “We continue to impress upon friendly countries to deny space to all those who directly or indirectly threaten sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan. We are determined to redouble our efforts in this regard,” he said.

Commenting on sentencing of six people to death in Bangladesh, who were involved in the ‘freedom struggle’ during 1971, he said Pakistan was deeply concerned over this development.

Asked why Pakistan was not taking the issue of Kashmir to the International Court of Justice if India can move the ICJ on Jadhav’s conviction, he said Pakistan had held numerous conferences with reference to the Kashmir dispute, particularly since the July 8 killing of Burhan Muzaffar Wani.

He said Pakistan had sent special envoys to all major capitals of the world to raise awareness about the gravity of situation in Kashmir and urged the international community to call upon India to immediately halt the bloodshed of innocent Kashmiris.