­ISLAMABAD  – Pakistan has said drone attack by the US on Wednesday was a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty which cannot be condoned and also dismissed former President Pervez Musharraf’s suggestion that the country should consider establishing relations with Israel.
Foreign Office Spokesperson Abdul Basit in his weekly press briefing here at Foreign Office Thursday also said country’s High Commission in London or any other consulate has not yet received visa application from Mansoor Ijaz, the main witness in the memo case. “We have not received visa application by Mansoor Ijaz either at the High Commission in London or any other consulate,” said Abdul Basit.
Ijaz is an important witness in the memo case and a commission constituted by the Supreme Court under the leadership of Balochistan High Court Chief Justice Qazi Faez Issa has been conducting enquiry into the case. During the last hearing by the panel, Ijaz’s lawyer Akram Shaikh told the commission that his client was not being issued visa for Pakistan. The commission directed the embassies in Switzerland and United Kingdom to issue multiple visa to Mansoor Ijaz upon the receipt of his passport and application without other conditions.
Responding to the queries of media persons, the spokesman said Islamabad’s position on drone attacks is clear and “we are of the view that winning the hearts and minds of the people is crucial” in the fight against violent extremism and he stressed avoiding collateral damage to win the hearts and minds of the people in the war against terrorism. Abdul Basit said at present the Parliamentary Committee on National Security is reviewing the contours of relations with the United States. He said Pakistan’s New Ambassador to Washington called on US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and discussed the present state of relations.
About the MFN status to India, the spokesperson said a decision in principle has already been taken to enhance trade ties with New Delhi. At present the commerce ministry is engaged in the consultation process with all the stakeholders for improved trade ties with India. He said, “We are not back tracking on the matter and the whole process vis-a-vis granting of Most Favoured Nation status to India will be completed by October this year.”
Regarding the suggestion of Musharraf that the country should be open to the idea of establishing relations with Israel, the spokesperson outrightly rejected the idea, saying that such a move could not be considered as the country do not recognise the Jewish state. “We do not have any relationship with Israel because we do not recognise Israel. Nor is this under consideration,” Abdul Basit said.
Musharraf had further contended that such a move would help influence the “pro-India” stand usually adopted by Israel on key issues like the Kashmir. The issue of relations with the Jewish state is a sensitive subject in Muslim-majority Pakistan, which has viewed India’s growing relations with Israel with concern. To a question regarding the Pakistani prisoners languishing in Saudi jails, the spokesman said our missions there have made vigorous efforts for the release of Pakistani prisoners and pointed out that there are issues of domestic rules and regulations. Answering a question regarding the visit of a British delegation to Islamabad, Abdul Basit said both the countries want to enhance strategic dialogue for promotion of trade and economic ties.  In response to a query about a possible US and Israel attack on Iran, Basit said Pakistan had “always advised restraint and emphasised that issues surrounding Iran’s nuclear programme should be resolved peacefully and through dialogue”.