Foreign Office on Thursday asserted that involvement of “foreign elements” in Quetta terrorist attack cannot be ruled out, saying that the confessional statement by the arrested RAW agent Kulbhushan Yadav vindicates Pakistan’s stance about India’s involvement in terrorist activities in Balochistan and Karachi.
Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria, during his weekly media briefing, said that the investigation into the terror attack in Quetta was underway in which more than 70 people were killed and 100 other injured.
“As you are aware that Indian intelligence agencies have remained involved in subversive and terrorist activities in Pakistan, especially, in Balochistan and Karachi…
The confession statement by a serving naval officer, who was apprehended by our law enforcement agencies, has indeed vindicated Pakistan’s claim,” he added.
He further said that the confession had led to significant success in rounding up elements of the network. However, he said that investigations were continuing and involvement of foreign elements, working in cahoots with their local contacts, in the condemnable terrorist attack in Quetta cannot be ruled out.
To another question, he said that Pakistani authorities have also elaborated on the point of foreign hand and foreign soil being used to perpetrate terrorist activities in Pakistan.
“It’s just not that our government and agencies have asserted this, we have statements on record made by a foreign country’s very high officials who have said that our neighbour has been financing instability in Pakistan from the soil of another neighbour,” he added.
To a query about the Indian allegations of cross-LoC infiltration of terrorists, he categorically rejected the allegations, saying Pakistan has a firm position on it and it will not allow its territory to be used against any other country.
“No nation has suffered more…Loss of human lives runs in tens of thousands, the loss to economy is over $100 billion. We are committed to eradicate terrorism from Pakistan’s soil,” he added.
Referring to the situation in the Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK), he said that Pakistan remains concerned over the continuous human rights violations in IoK and urged the international community to raise its voice against blatant human rights violations in the held valley. He said that there should not be any impunity for the human rights violations.
He said Pakistan has condemned the Indian atrocities at the highest level and also asked the UN Human Rights Commission to send a fact finding mission to the held Jammu and Kashmir.
About the efforts to sensitise the international community over the Indian security forces brutalities in the IoK, he said that several countries including United States, China, Turkey and Azerbaijan as well as human rights organisations like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other NGOs have expressed their serious concerns over the situation in the occupied Kashmir.
He further said that Pakistan was also concerned over the huge presence of Indian forces in the occupied Kashmir.
Commenting on the recent hostile comments by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, the spokesperson described these statements as unfortunate, saying these are not helpful and serve only those who do not want peace in Afghanistan.
He pointed out that Pakistan has the largest border with Afghanistan and it has hosted the Afghan refugees for about 35 years.
He reiterated that Pakistan aspires best relations with all the neighbours especially Afghanistan. He also reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to support intra-Afghan peace and reconciliation process, saying peace in Afghanistan is in the best interest of Pakistan.
To another query about the Pakistani helicopter, which crashed in Afghanistan, he said on August 4, 2016, a helicopter APBGX type MI-17 of the government of Punjab over-flying Afghan aerial territory on its journey through Central Asia disappeared from the flight control system.
This coincided with the reports from the Afghan media that a helicopter crash-landed in Logar province in Afghanistan and that the Pakistani crew members and a Russian navigator were taken into custody by the Taliban insurgents, he said, adding the helicopter had flight clearance for the journey from the Afghan air control authorities as per usual procedure.
He said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs immediately approached the Afghan authorities through Pakistan Embassy in Kabul as well as Afghan Embassy in Islamabad for locating the whereabouts of the missing helicopter and early recovery of the crew.
He said that Pakistan Ambassador in Kabul was in touch with Afghan National Security Adviser and Ministry of Foreign Affairs in this regard.
As informed by the Afghan side, he said that the crew members were safe and the Afghan authorities had assured that they were making efforts through the elders in the area for recovery of all the crew members. The Ministry will continue its efforts for early and safe recovery of the crew members, he added.
Referring to the present media reports of recovery of the crew members, the spokesperson stated “Efforts for the recovery are underway and as soon as there is any tangible development we shall inform media.”
To another question about the arrest of an American national, he said that the visa for Mathew Craig Barrett was issued by our Consulate in Houston, while obviously he was allowed entry by immigration officials at the Islamabad airport.
“The matter is under investigation for fixing responsibility and to prevent such occurrences in future,” he added. -Business Recorder