ISLAMABAD - Welcoming the remarks of US President Barack Obama about limiting drones programme, the Foreign Office said on Thursday that the statement has vindicated Pakistan’s point of view that drone attacks are counterproductive.
“It is an acknowledgment by the US President that drones cannot always produce positive results. This seems to be an acknowledgment of Pakistan’s point of view that we have been conveying to the US and the International community at multilateral forums,” spokesperson Tasneem Aslam told a weekly press briefing.
Answering a question about suspension of intra-Kashmir trade, the spokesperson said Pakistan wants early solution to the problem so that the trade on this sector could continue.
She said the issue was under discussion between the two countries and expressed the hope that it would be resolved very soon so that the trade between the two parts of Kashmir could be resumed without delay. The spokesperson said investigations into presence of narcotics in one of the trucks, being used for intra-Kashmir trade, were underway, adding the driver might be innocent. The spokesperson said such incidents should not be repeated in future so that the trade could not be disrupted.
Answering a question, she said the Indian minister for trade would be visiting Pakistan from February 16-18 and this would be part of India Trade Show, being held in Lahore during these dates.
Welcoming the statement of the Indian minister for external affairs to resolve the issue through bilateral discussion, the spokesperson said Pakistan had repeatedly said that both the countries needed to resume the dialogue process without any delay for meaningful and result-oriented talks to resolve bilateral issues, including Kashmir.
Regarding options to resolve the Kashmir issue, she said there were many options being discussed between the two countries and the most important was implementation on the resolution of the Security Council of the United Nations.
Replying to a question on the recent Pak-US strategic dialogue, the spokesperson said both the countries had agreed on a number of things to further enhance cooperation in different areas, including energy and trade.
She said both the countries had agreed on enhanced economic growth, trade and investment, and a meeting in this regard, would be held in Washington in March.
The spokesperson said a meeting of joint business and economic forum would also be held very soon in Islamabad as the last one was held in Dubai. She said both the countries had also agreed to hold meetings of the remaining two groups on finance and counterterrorism very soon.
Replying to a question, she clarified that the issue of Dr Shakeel Afridi was not discussed at the strategic dialogue as it was an internal issue of Pakistan and would be dealt with in accordance with Pakistani laws. She said the issue of cross border was also not discussed at the strategic dialogue between Pakistan and the United States.
Referring to talks of Afghanistan with any other country, the spokesperson said Afghanistan was an independent country and could talk to any other state for development, “but our concern is that Pakistan’s soil should not be used against the country,” she said, adding this concern had been conveyed by Pakistan to all stakeholders.
Answering a question on Pak-Saudi relations, the spokesperson said during the recent visit of KSA Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal to Pakistan, he showed interest in many fields to promote bilateral ties, including defence cooperation. She said there was a desire from both the sides to enhance and strengthen bilateral ties in all fields.
The spokesperson said though some high-profile visits from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan were on the cards, but there was no plan yet for the visit of the Saudi king in near future.
The spokesperson revealed that some visits of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to various important capitals of the world were in the pipeline, but gave no details.