Documents - January-June 2019.
1. Visit of Prime Minister to China, 25-28 April 2019
At the invitation of President Xi Jinping, Prime Minister Imran Khan is visiting China from April 25-28, 2019, to attend the 2nd Belt and Road Forum in Beijing. The Prime Minster will deliver a keynote speech in the opening ceremony of the Forum on 26 April.
The Prime Minister will also attend Leaders' Roundtable with leaders from around 38 countries. He will speak in the first session of Leaders' Roundtable. The Prime Minister would also hold meetings with several Heads of State/Government and corporate and business leaders on the sidelines of 2nd BRF.
In addition to participating in the Belt and Road Forum, the Prime Minister would hold bilateral meetings with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. Pakistan and China will also sign several MoUs and Agreements to enhance bilateral cooperation in diverse areas.
Following the Forum, the Prime Minister will address a Pakistan Business and Investment Forum on 28th April, which will be attended by prominent Pakistani and Chinese businessmen.
The Prime Minister will also participate in Beijing International Horticultural Exhibition along with President Xi Jinping and other world leaders.
Pakistan and China are "All Weather Strategic Cooperative Partners". Our friendship is based on mutual confidence and commonality of interests. The two countries have always stood by each other through the tests of time. The leadership of both countries is committed to further strengthen this friendship by enhancing mutually beneficial economic and commercial relations. The visit of the Prime Minister will be instrumental in taking Pakistan-China bilateral relations to new heights.
Islamabad, 25 April 2019.
2. Prime Minister Imran Khan concludes visit to China
Prime Minister Imran Khan has concluded his official visit to China from 25-28 April 2019. The Prime Minister was visiting China at the invitation of President Xi Jinping to attend the Second Belt and Road Forum (BRF) and the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing International Horticulture Exhibition 2019.
The Prime Minister delivered a keynote speech at the Opening Ceremony of the BRF on 26 April 2019. He attended a banquet hosted by President Xi Jinping for the world leaders the same evening. The Prime Minister also delivered remarks at the first session of the Leaders' Roundtable on 27 April 2019. The theme of the Roundtable was: "Boosting Connectivity to Explore New Sources of Growth." In his statements, the Prime Minister inter alia proposed four new areas for Belt and Road cooperation: (i) digital connectivity; (ii) mobility of labour; (iii) cultural connectivity; and (iv) sharing best practices in knowledge and innovation.
The Prime Minister, accompanied by Ministers and Senior Officials delegation, separately met President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang on 28 April 2019. Earlier, the Prime Minister and his delegation were hosted to a banquet by Vice President Wang Qishan on the evening of 27 April 2019. During these meetings, the two sides reviewed the entire range of bilateral relations including CPEC. They reaffirmed the resolve to further strengthen the All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership in all dimensions.
Both sides discussed important regional and international issues, including peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and peace and stability in South Asia and agreed to deepen cooperation at the multilateral fora. Following the meeting with Premier Li, a ceremony was held to sign a number of MoUs/Agreements between the two sides, including the conclusion of the 2nd Phase of the China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement and an agreement on ML-1. On the sidelines of the BRF, the Prime Minister had meetings/interactions with other world leaders including from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Egypt, Malaysia, Ethiopia and Kyrghyz Republic. He also held meetings with Managing Director of IMF and the CEO of the World Bank as well as corporate and business representatives attending the BRF.
Another important highlight of the visit was the opening ceremony of the Beijing Horticultural Expo 2019, where the Prime Minister interacted with President Xi Jinping and other participating world leaders. The Prime Minister visited the Pakistan Pavilion set up to showcase the country's plant biodiversity. The Horticulture Exhibition will continue over the next five months.
The Prime Minister attended a luncheon hosted in his honour by the China International Cultural Communication Center and the China-Pakistan Friendship Association. On 28 April 2019, he addressed a China-Pakistan Trade and Investment Forum bringing together a large number of Pakistani and Chinese entrepreneurs. The Forum, which was attended by Vice Chairman of National People's Congress Mr. Zhang Chunxian, provided a platform for the participants to explore the immense business and investment potential of Pakistan. The business-to-business meetings on the sidelines of the Forum resulted in signing of 14 agreements/contracts.
The Prime Minister was accompanied by a high-powered Ministerial delegation which included the Foreign Minister, Minister for Planning, Development and Reform, Minister for Energy, Minister for Railways, and Advisors on Commerce and Finance as well as Chairman BOI. These Ministers and Advisors represented Pakistan at the Belt and Road Thematic Forums on 25 April 2019. They also interacted with their Chinese counterparts and Ministers from the BRF participating countries.
The Prime Minister's second visit to China provided an important opportunity to exchange views with the Chinese leadership on bilateral and regional issues; to coordinate on the implementation of Phase-II of CPEC that includes industrial cooperation and socio-economic development; and to invite Chinese businessmen and investors to explore the immense potential of Pakistani market. The Prime Minister's visit and his extensive exchange of views with the Chinese leadership, once again, affirmed the vitality of the time-tested, all-weather strategic cooperative partnership, which remains unaffected by any adverse regional and international development, and continues to move from strength to strength.
Islamabad, 29 April 2019. Source: www.mofa.gov.pk
1. 7th Round of Pakistan - Japan Bilateral Consultations on Disarmament
The 7th Round of Pakistan-Japan Bilateral Consultations on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation was held in Tokyo on 28th February, 2019. The Japanese delegation was headed by Ambassador Kazutoshi Aikawa, Director General, Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Science Department of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Pakistan side was led by Mr. Mohammad Kamran Akhtar, Director General, Arms Control and Disarmament Division.
Both sides held a detailed exchange of views on the entire range of disarmament and non-proliferation issues, covering the state of play at the multilateral disarmament fora, emerging trends in a global disarmament discourse and on the threats posed to security and strategic stability in their respective regions as well as at the global level.
Tokyo, 28th February 2019
2. Pakistan express deep concern at ASAT Test by India.
Pakistan has noted with deep concern the assessment of relevant organizations and international experts on the threats resulting from space debris generated by the recently conducted Anti-Satellite weapon (ASAT) test by India. The reports that some of the space debris created by this test has been pushed above the apogee of the International Space Station (ISS) increasing the risk of collision are deeply worrying.
As such, this ASAT test should be a matter of grave concern for the international community not only in terms of generation of space debris but also because of its ramifications for long term sustainability of peaceful space activities. It would also be amiss to ignore the military dimension of such actions and its implications on the global and regional peace, stability and security.
Pakistan remains a strong proponent of non-militarization of outer space. We will continue to work with like-minded countries to address gaps in the international legal regime governing the exploration and use of outer space with a view to ensuring that no one threatens peaceful activities and applications of space technologies for socio-economic development. In the absence of strong legal instruments, other states could also follow suit by demonstrating such capabilities.
Islamabad, 2 April 2019.
3. Pakistan and Russia sign Joint Statement on No First Placement of Weapons in Outer Space
Pakistan and Russia signed a Joint Statement on No First Placement of Weapons in Outer Space on 22 May 2019 in Bishkek. The Joint Statement was signed by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Outer space is being used by an increasing number of States. Pakistan has been consistently highlighting the risks of weaponization of Outer Space, which threaten the long term sustainability of peaceful space activities. The use of force against space based objects, the development and deployment of Anti Ballistic Missile (ABM) systems and their integration into space assets have added worrying dimensions to the issues relating to Outer Space. There is an urgent need to address gaps in the international legal regime governing the exploration and use of outer space with a view to ensuring that no one threatens peaceful activities and applications of space technologies for socio-economic development.
Pakistan and Russia share a common position on the prevention of arms race in outer space and work collectively in various international fora towards that goal. The signing of today's Joint Statement on No First Placement of Weapons in Outer Space is a reflection of convergence of views between the two sides. Pakistan and Russia have reiterated their commitment to refrain from the threat or use of force in Outer Space activities. We encourage other responsible space-faring nations to follow this example.
Islamabad, 22 May 2019.
4. Text of Joint Statement by the Russian Federation and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan
The Russian Federation and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,
Noting the significance of Outer Space activities as an important factor of social, economic, scientific and technological development of States, as well as their role in maintaining national and global security,
Believe that Outer Space should be used in compliance with international law for the benefit of all Nations, regardless of the level of their economic, scientific or technological development,
Reiterate their commitment to the principle enshrined in Article 2 of the United Nations Charter - to refrain in international relations from the threat or use of force, including in Outer Space activities - and proceed from the assumption that all States will strictly adhere to that policy,
Emphasize that the achievement of an international treaty preventing the arms race in Outer Space as well as banning the placement or use of weapons therein is a priority for the international community,
Declare that they will not in any way be the first to place weapons of any kind in Outer Space, that they will make all possible efforts to prevent Outer Space from becoming an arena for military confrontation and to ensure security in Outer Space activities. The Russian Federation and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan call upon Space-faring Nations to follow their example.
Bishkek, 22nd May 2019. Source: www.mofa.gov.pk
C. FOREIGN POLICY
1. Pakistan Oman Sign MOU Between Defense Institutions
Ambassador of Pakistan HE Ali Javed and Major General Salim bin Musallam Qatan, Commandant National Defense College (NDC) have inked the 'MoU for Academic Cooperation and Scientific Research' between NDC and NDU (Nat'l Defense University, Islamabad) in an impressive ceremony witnessed by Their Excellencies General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) and Lt. Gen Ahmed bin Harith al Nabhani, Chief of Staff, Sultan's Armed Forces (COSSAF).
The elegant and impressive 'signing ceremony' broadcast Live on Oman TV from premises of NDC yesterday was hosted by Brigadier Mohammed bin Ya'arub Al Saifi, Assistant Commandant NDC. Brigadier Sulaiman bin Khalid al-Zakwani, DG Studies and Academic Affairs Captain Rizwan Defense Attache had coordinated further. Directing Staff of NDC and delegates accompanying Hon'ble CJCSC also viewed the proceedings. NDU and NDC have formalized institutional linkages thorough singing the accord yesterday, however, mutual cooperation has been solidly ongoing between the two premier institutes for Defense and War Studies for decades.
NDU next "Foreign Study Tour' to brotherly Sultanate is slated for April 15-19, 2019.
When viewed together with recently concluded accords for Parliamentary, Literary and Manpower and Training cooperation, the MoU between NDUand NDC is a robust addition to the existing spectrum of bilateral frameworks and is deemed as a tangible outcome of the ongoing bilateral visit to Oman by HE General Hayat to Sultanate from Feb 2-5, 2019.
Lt. General Aamer Riaz, President NDU since December 15, 2018, sent his felicitations adding that he looked forward to cooperating with Commandant NDC to furthering mutual cooperation and exchanges under the established framework for collective benefit.
Tonight, Chairman JCSC shall interact with Omani Civil Society and Pakistanis at an Event hosted by the Ambassador with over 75 salient participants including DG External Affairs Ministry of Information, Chairmen 'Al Roya Forum' and 'Muscat Media Group', President Omani Society for Writers and Literati, Indus Valley Civilization Expert, CEO Salam Air, Businessmen, Historians, Intellectuals, Authors, Poets and Columnists. Pakistan Embassy Muscat,
February 5, 2019.
H.E. Ali Javed and General Qatan signing the MOU between NDC and NDU
2. MOU - Agreement between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia signed seven MOUs/Agreements/Executive Programs today at a signing ceremony witnessed by the Prime Minister and Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
The MOUs/Agreements cover areas such as Standard Specifications, Mineral Resources, Investment in Refining and Petro Chemical Sectors, power generation, development of renewable energy projects, and cooperation in the Field of Youth and Sports.
The documents were signed by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Finance, Power Division, Inter Provincial Coordination, and Petroleum Division.
These agreements will lay the foundation for enhanced economic cooperation between Pakistan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Islamabad, 17 February 2019.
3. HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman concludes successful visit to Pakistan
HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who visited Pakistan on 17-18 February 2019 at the invitation of Prime Minister Imran Khan, concluded a highly successful visit today.
The visit laid the foundation for a new chapter in Pakistan-Saudi relationship, marked by high level institutional framework to guide future direction of political, diplomatic, economic, investment, trade, people-to-people, defence, security and cultural aspects. The establishment of Supreme Coordination Council, its subsidiary mechanism and the Council's inaugural session in Islamabad were one of the key steps in shaping the new trajectory in the bilateral relationship.
Investment and trade relations received high priority during the visit as demonstrated by the Saudi announcement of investments US $ 20 billion. The two sides signed a range of Agreements and MoUs in several areas.
The Prime Minister expressed gratitude to the Crown Prince for his immediate consent to release 2107 prisoners from Saudi jails.
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia issued a joint statement which is being issued separately.
The joint statement, while reaffirming the historic relationship between the two brotherly countries, applauds the growing momentum in bilateral ties in all areas. The Saudi side praised Prime Minister Imran Khan's dialogue offer to India including the initiative on opening of Kartarpur corridor.
Both sides stressed that dialogue is the only way to ensure peace and stability in the region and to resolve the outstanding issues. Both sides strongly condemned the atrocities and human rights violations committed against Muslims around the world.
The Prime Minister briefed the Crown Prince on the grave human rights violations in IOK and the need for resolution of Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions and wishes of the Kashmiri people.
The statement also articulates the common positions of the two countries on a range of regional peace and security and international issues including inter alia challenges faced by the Islamic Ummah, interfaith harmony, counter terrorism, among others.
The Prime Minister and the Crown Prince spoke to the media at the airport.
Islamabad, 18 February 2019.
4. Joint statement between Malaysia and Pakistan on the occasion of the official visit of Yab Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to Pakistan (21-23 march 2019)
1. At the invitation of His Excellency Imran Khan, Prime Minister of Islamic Republic Pakistan, the Honourable Tun. Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia undertook an Official Visit to Pakistan from 21-23 March 2019. He is the guest of honour at the Pakistan Day Parade.
2. During the visit, Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the Prime Minister's House, Islamabad. After the welcoming ceremony, Prime Minister Imran Khan held a restricted meeting with Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. Both leaders held fruitful and in-depth discussions, which took place in a warm and cordial atmosphere. The discussion covered a wide range of bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interests.
3. Both sides took note of the exchange of notes and the ratification of the MoU on the Partial Abolition of Visa Requirement for Diplomatic and Official Passport holders, signed between the two countries during visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan from 20-21 November 2018.
4. The two Leaders took note that the 1st Bilateral Consultations between the Foreign Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan and the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia, as a mechanism to intensify the engagements between both sides, was successfully held on 25 February 2019 in Islamabad, Pakistan. The 1st Bilateral Consultations between both countries had covered various issues of mutual concerns such as debt management and anti-corruption, defence cooperation, labour matters, consular matters, as well as, regional and international dynamics.
5. Both Leaders acknowledged the successful convening of the 13th Joint Committee on Defence Cooperation (JCDC) which was held from 26-27 February 2019 in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia invited Pakistan to participate in the upcoming Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA) from 26-30 March 2019.
6. Prime Minister Tun. Dr. Mahathir Mohamad expressed his sincere appreciation to the President of Pakistan, His Excellency Dr. Arif Alwi for hosting a State Banquet and bestowing him with the Nishan-e-Pakistan (Order of Pakistan), Pakistan's highest civil award.
7. Both Leaders agreed that the existing relations between Pakistan-Malaysia be elevated to a Strategic Partnership. It marked a new level of the bilateral cooperation between both countries in various fields, namely trade in palm oil, agricultural products, food retail, halal products, automotive parts, energy, science and technology, and telecommunication investment. This new level of partnership will entail further engagement and enhance cooperation between the two countries. Both sides reaffirmed their shared desire to maintain close high-level contacts, deepen friendly exchanges of Malaysia relations.
8. In a landmark cooperation in the automotive industry between Pakistan-Malaysia, Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and Prime Minister Imran Khan jointly officiated the Symbolic Ground-Breaking Ceremony of PROTON plant in Islamabad, Pakistan which will boost the manufacturing and services industry for both countries.
9. Pakistan and Malaysia reaffirmed the importance of the cooperation between the private sectors of both countries. Both Leaders witnessed the signing of Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding in the field of investment and cooperation, particularly in the telecommunication sector. They also acknowledged that this investment would serves to promote and strengthen the economic ties between both countries.
10. Both Leaders underpinned their shared desire to strengthen bilateral economic ties, expand trade and investment, create favourable conditions for commerce and business in both countries. Malaysia expressed hope that Pakistan would continue to import more Malaysian palm oil and palm oil-based products, as well as, remove any non-tariff barriers on Malaysian goods and products.
11. Both sides reaffirmed the Malaysia-Pakistan Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (MPCEPA) signed on 8 November 2007 and welcomed the growing momentum in the bilateral economic relations. They stressed on the need to convene the next MPCEPA Joint Committee Meeting as soon as possible.
12. Malaysia took note of the massive counter-terrorism efforts that Pakistan has successfully undertaken in an effort to eliminate terrorism.
13. The two Leaders agreed on the need to enhance educational ties particularly in the institutions of higher learning, technical and vocational training between Malaysia and Pakistan. They agreed that close cooperation in higher education and vocational training are critical elements to the next phase of relationship.
14. Tourism and youth exchanges have also been identified as key drivers in promoting greater people-to-people contact and sustainable socio-economic growth, and in fostering mutual understanding between the two countries.
15. Both Leaders noted the growing momentum for halal products among consumers worldwide. Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad conveyed his readiness to share Malaysia's experience and expertise in the halal industry with Pakistan.
16. As two peace-loving Islamic nations, the two Leaders agreed to increase their collaborative efforts to uphold the true values of Islam in international fora while strengthening the solidarity of the Muslim Ummah. Both sides reaffirmed their commitments to collaborate more closely on issues affecting the Muslim world including taking joint efforts in underscoring Muslim sensitivities that target Muslim holy personalities and religious belief.
17. Both Leaders exchanged views on the situation in Palestine and in the Rakhine State, Myanmar involving Rohingya Muslims. On the Palestinian issue, both countries agreed to contribute positively in other forums, especially in the OIC Committee of Six on Palestine, of which Malaysia and Pakistan are members. Prime Minister Imran Khan briefed Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir on the grave human rights situation in Kashmir and in this regard referred to the Reports of UNOHCHR, Amnesty International, International People's Tribunal and All Parties Parliamentary Kashmir Group, UK. He also discussed the role of OIC Contact Group on Kashmir to highlight the issue.
18. Prime Minister Tun. Dr. Mahathir Mohamad expressed deep appreciation and gratitude to Prime Minister Imran Khan and the people of Pakistan for their warm welcome and generous hospitality extended during their stay in Pakistan.
Islamabad, 22 March 2019.
5. Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad's visit to Pakistan
Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, paid a state visit to Pakistan on 21-23 March 2019 on the invitation of Prime Minister Imran Khan. PM Tun Mahathir was accompanied by a high-level delegation including several leading businessmen.
PM Tun Mahathir was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the Prime Minister House. Both Prime Ministers held delegation level talks. In view of the growing momentum of bilateral cooperation it was agreed to elevate the Pakistan-Malaysia relationship to a Strategic partnership.
Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad stressed the need for converting friendship between the two counties into cooperation. Both sides agreed that dialogue was the only way to ensure peace and stability in the region and to resolve outstanding issues. Both sides expressed deep concern at the growing wave of Islamophobia and condemned the atrocities and human rights violations being committed against Muslims around the world. Prime Minister Imran Khan briefed Prime Minister Mahathir on the gross human rights violations in IOK and the importance of the resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions and wishes of the Kashmiri people.
The two sides exchanged official Notes regarding ratification of the Agreement on Partial Abolition of Visa Requirement for Diplomatic and Official Passport holders, recently signed between the two countries.
The two Prime Ministers addressed a Round Table Business Forum, which was attended by a large number of Malaysian and Pakistani Business leaders. Flagship Malaysian companies Proton and Edotco, in automobile and telecom sectors respectively, announced their investment agreements during the Business Forum. The two Prime Ministers witnessed the ground-breaking ceremony of Proton Automobile Industry in Pakistan and signing of three important Agreements/MOUs between Edotco and Pakistan Mobile Telecommunication companies.
Prime Minister Tun Mahathir called on Dr.Arif Alvi, President of Pakistan. The two leaders exchanged a wide range of views of mutual interest.
President of Pakistan conferred Pakistan's highest civil award "Nishan-e-Pakistan" on H.E. PM Tun Dr.Mahathir in recognition of his leadership, role for the Islamic world and work towards strengthening Pakistan-Malaysia bilateral relations in all fields. The President of Pakistan also hosted a state banquet for the visiting Prime Minister at the 'Aiwan-e-Sadr'.
Prime Minister Tun Dr.Mahathir Mohamad was the Guest of Honour at the Pakistan Day Parade on 23rd March.
It has been a great honour for people of Pakistan to have one of the most admired leader of the Islamic world to celebrate with them the national day of Pakistan.
The visit of Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad provided an opportunity to further cement and elevate strategic relationship between the two countries.
Islamabad, 23 March 2019.
6. US decision on Syrian Golan Heights
Pakistan joins the international community in voicing its strong opposition and condemnation of the US Administration's decision to recognize Israel's sovereignty over Syrian Golan Heights.
This decision represents a serious violation of UN Charter, international law and applicable UN Security Council Resolutions, particularly 497 (1981). It also constitutes a serious blow to the Rule of Law and international norms.
Pakistan shares the international outrage and is deeply concerned over the potentially grave repercussions of this decision for the region and beyond.
Pakistan calls upon the UN Security Council to take cognizance of this situation and take steps in accordance with the UN Charter.
Islamabad, 27 March 2019. Source: www.mofa.gov.pk.
1. Annual Exchange of Nuclear Installations and Facilities List between Pakistan and India
In accordance with Article-II of the Agreement on Prohibition of Attacks against Nuclear Installations and Facilities between Pakistan and India, signed on 31st December 1988, the list of nuclear installations and facilities in Pakistan was officially handed over to a representative of the Indian High Commission at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today, at 1000 hrs (PST).
The Indian Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi handed over the list of Indian Nuclear installations and facilities to a representative of the Pakistan High Commission at 1030 hrs (IST).
The agreement contains the provision that both countries inform each other of their nuclear installations and facilities on 1st January every year. This has been done consecutively since 1st January 1992.
Islamabad, 01 January 2019.
2. The Jadhav Case (India v Pakistan) - Updated Key Facts Sheet
I. WHAT IS THE JADHAV CASE ABOUT?
(Additional information is contained in the Annex below.)
1. The International Court of Justice ("ICJ"), which sits in The Hague, is hearing a case brought by India against Pakistan under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations 1963 (Article 36(1)(b)).
2. India argues that Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav is an innocent businessman who was kidnapped from Iran, brought to Pakistan, and tortured to confess that he was a Commander in the Indian Navy working with India's Research and Analysis Wing ("RAW" - India's primary foreign intelligence agency). India argues that it was entitled to obtain consular access to Commander Jadhav as soon as his detention was made public by Pakistan on 25 March 2016. India argues that the trial and conviction of Commander Jadhav for espionage and terrorism offences by a Military Court on 10 April 2017 was "a farce". India contends that the denial of consular access requires the ICJ to "at least" order the acquittal, release and return to India of Commander Jadhav.
3. Pakistan rejects all of India's assertions. Pakistan points to evidence obtained from Commander Jadhav after his arrest, and during the criminal process leading to his conviction as amply demonstrating his activities in fomenting terrorism and engaging in espionage within Pakistan. Pakistan maintains that it would be incompatible with international law for someone sent as a spy/terrorist by a State to be afforded access to officials of that State, as India asserts. Pakistan also points to an express Agreement on Consular Access dated 21 May 2008 between India and Pakistan, which a case involving national security. Furthermore, Pakistan points to the uncontradicted evidence that Commander Jadhav was provided with an authentic Indian passport in a 'cover' Muslim name by the Indian authorities, as a clear and obvious link between his conduct and the Government of India.
Such conduct being a blatant violation of international law should bar any claim for relief from a court. India refuses to reply on this issue and (unconvincingly) describes it as "mischievous propaganda".
4. In addition, Pakistan points to the fact that, in all of the ICJ's previous decisions concerning Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations 1963 (which involved death sentences imposed by the USA), the Court made it clear that it was not a court of criminal appeal and the presence of "effective" "review and reconsideration" by domestic courts was an appropriate remedy, even if a breach of the right to consular access had been established. The High Court and Supreme Court of Pakistan provide such review, as confirmed by leading UK-based military law experts.
II. SIX OF THE KEY POINTS WHICH INDIA WILL NEED TO ANSWER:
* India says Commander Jadhav was an innocent Indian national who was kidnapped from Iran to make him confess to being an Indian RAW agent. India has failed to make good this allegation despite repeated requests for evidence that he was kidnapped - Why not?
* India says Commander Jadhav retired from the Indian Navy - India has failed to explain when/why he retired (he was only 47 years old when arrested). Why not?
* India refuses to explain how Commander Jadhav was in possession of an authentic Indian passport issued in a false 'cover' Muslim name 'Hussein Mubarak Patel' which he had used at least 17 times to enter/exit India. India has been asked this question many times (even by highly respected Indian senior journalists such as Praveen Swami and Karan Thapar) but simply says this is "irrelevant" or "mischievous propaganda". India eventually said the passport was "clearly a forgery" but refuses to explain this statement, or why a highly credible independent UK expert is wrong when he says it is an authentic Indian passport issued by the Indian authorities. Why not?
* India demands that the ICJ orders the "return" of Commander Jadhav to India. However, the ICJ has repeatedly stated it is not a criminal court of appeal. It has always so far made it clear in all its decisions that, even if consular access was denied, the proper order is for there to be effective review and reconsideration by the local Courts. Commander Jadhav and his family have been able to seek this at any time since 10 April 2017 in accordance with Article 199 of the Constitution of Pakistan. Instead, India launched proceedings in the ICJ 14 months after he was arrested and a month after he was convicted to seek a 'stay' order without a hearing. Why is India asking for an order for "return" in the face of the ICJ's decision and the independent expert evidence confirming Pakistan has effective review and reconsideration before the High Court and Supreme Court?
* India has failed to explain why the Agreement on Consular Access between India and Pakistan dated 21 May 2008 (which India drafted), and which provides (at Article (vi)) for either State to be entitled to consider a request for consular access "on its merits" where it involves a person implicated in national security matters, does not apply in this case. Why not?
* India fails to explain why highly respected UK based Military Law experts are wrong when they say that Pakistan's High Court and Supreme Court provide an effective review and reconsideration of the Military Court process.
III. THE HEARING
5. Pakistan has continually pressed for the expedited hearing of this matter. The ICJ has set a timetable for public hearings to be held on 18-21 February 2019 in The Hague (which will be live-streamed, including on the UN TV website).
6. India will go first, on 18 February 2019 (10:00-13:00 local time), then Pakistan will make submissions on 19 February 2019 (10:00-13:00 local time). India will reply on 20 February 2019 (15:00-16:30 local time). Pakistan will make its closing submissions on 21 February 2019 (16:30-18:00 local time).
7. It is expected that the ICJ decision may be delivered by the summer of 2019.
8. In accordance with the Rules of Court, all pleadings should be made available after the commencement of the hearing at 18 February 2019.
9. Pakistan's arguments are summarised in its Counter-Memorial (at paragraphs 6-21) and its Rejoinder (at paragraphs 1-10). The experts' reports referred to above are at Annexes 141 and 142 to the Counter-Memorial.
10. The legal arguments for the Government of Pakistan will be presented by English Queen's Counsel Khawar Qureshi QC who also drafted the written pleadings. The delegation will be formally led by the Attorney General of Pakistan. It is understood that India's arguments will be presented by Mr. Harish Salve.
11. The following pleadings and evidence can also be found at the links below: (1) Counter-Memorial summary (at paragraphs 6-21)
(2) Rejoinder summary (at paragraphs 1-10)
(3) Annex 141 of the Counter-Memorial (Passport Expert Report), especially paragraphs 9 and 15
(4) Annex 142 of the Counter-Memorial (Military Law Experts' Report), especially paragraph 3
ANNEX - Additional Information
1. On 3 March 2016, Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav was arrested in the Balochistan province of Pakistan, having illegally and clandestinely entered Pakistan from Iranian territory. India has said that Commander Jadhav was "kidnapped" from Iran - but has provided no substantive evidence underpinning such an allegation. Commander Jadhav was carrying an Indian passport in the name of 'Hussein Mubarak Patel'.
2. On 25 March 2016, Pakistan shared with the world at large Commander Jadhav's confession (confirmed before a Magistrate) as a serving officer of the Indian Navy, who was operating for India's Research and Analysis Wing ("RAW"), to having been involved in crimes of espionage and terrorism directed toward the infrastructure and people of Pakistan, including the Gwadar port and various facilities involved in the prominent China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). India says that Commander Jadhav retired from the Indian Navy (but has not said when or provided any further detail). From 25 March 2016, India sought consular access to Commander Jadhav, which India says was denied. Pakistan says that an express agreement between India and Pakistan (drafted by India) headed Agreement on Consular Access entered into in 2008, at Article (vi), entitles either State to consider a request for Consular Access upon the merits where it involves a person implicated in National Security matters.
3. Pakistan sent a letter making specific requests of India to assist in the investigation of Commander Jadhav on 23 January 2017 attaching copies of the authentic Indian passport Commander Jadhav was using in the name of 'Hussein Mubarak Patel', as well as the FIR and other material relating to the investigation into Commander Jadhav's activities. India did not provide any assistance at all nor any evidence (either inculpatory or exculpatory) of Commander Jadhav.
4. Commander Jadhav was provided with legal representation, and after several hearings, he was tried and convicted by a Military Court in Pakistan, which passed the death sentence on 10 April 2017. Pakistan's legal system, including its Constitution, provides for the availability of clemency petitions as of right to the Chief of Army Staff and then to the President of Pakistan.
5. In addition, judicial review by Pakistan's High Court and Supreme Court of the Military Court process and judgment is available pursuant to Article 199 of the Constitution of Pakistan. Pakistan's Courts have frequently stayed sentences imposed by the Military Court at the request of the convict or his family, often within hours of the sentence being passed. No application of this nature has ever been made to the Pakistani Courts by Commander Jadhav or his family.
6. Both India and Pakistan have previously signed and become parties to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations 1963 ("VCCR 1963"). Furthermore, both India and Pakistan signed and became parties to a separate agreement (called the Optional Protocol) that gives the ICJ jurisdiction over disputes arising out of the interpretation or application of the VCCR 1963.
(B) ICJ PROCEEDINGS
7. On 8 May 2017, India commenced these proceedings before the ICJ alleging that Pakistan had committed a breach of the VCCR 1963 by failing to grant immediate consular access in respect of Commander Jadhav, and alleging that the Military Court procedure was flagrantly unfair. Centrally, the relief India sought was "at least" the acquittal/release/transfer to India of Commander Jadhav. India also demanded by way of Provisional Measures that the ICJ should immediately make an order (without even having a hearing) that Pakistan should be restrained from executing Commander Jadhav pending the full hearing of India's claims.
8. As mentioned above, Pakistan's civilian courts can and do routinely order a stay of execution pending the full hearing of legal challenges to decisions emanating from Pakistan's Military Courts - they do so in order to preserve the status quo without making any decision as to the facts or merits. The Pakistani courts have shown themselves capable of acting very quickly (within hours) in this manner in response to an application for a stay of execution. It was therefore not unusual that the ICJ directed a stay of execution on 18 May 2017 pending a full hearing.
(C) THE ARGUMENTS - KEY POINTS (as raised on 15 May 2017 by Pakistan)
9. Following the Provisional Measures phase, India filed its full pleading (Memorial) on 13 September 2017. Pakistan filed a substantial and very detailed Counter-Memorial on 13 December 2017. These will be publically available on 18 February 2019 (see further details below) and the contents cannot be referred to until then:
a. Pakistan raises important arguments of international law that have never been raised or considered before, such as the existence in Customary International Law (as evidenced by the practices of States) of an 'espionage exception' to consular access (given the obvious dangers of allowing a state-sponsored spy/terrorist untrammelled communication with the authorities of his sending State that despatched him to commit unlawful acts);
b. Furthermore, Pakistan has drawn attention to a bilateral agreement concerning consular access as between India and Pakistan entered into in 2008 that clearly qualifies consular access in matters of national security;
c. Significantly, Pakistan has asked the ICJ to consider whether India has acted illegally (with the consequence that it should not be granted relief) in facilitating Commander Jadhav's espionage/terrorism by providing him with the passport referred to above;
d. The passport was carefully examined by a UK-based highly regarded independent expert whose detailed report concludes it is an authentic passport issued by the competent Indian authorities in a false identity ("the Passport Issue"). India refuses to explain the Passport Issue and, instead, describes this as "irrelevant" or "mischievous propaganda";
e. Also, two eminent independent experts (formerly senior officers of the British Army) carried out a review of the Military Court jurisdictions of several major countries around the world (including the USA, UK, India and Pakistan), and found that Pakistan's own Military Court jurisdiction was sound in law and contained no manifest unfairness. They concluded that the High Court and Supreme Court of Pakistan provided an effective review process for the Military Court system;
f. On the previous occasions when the ICJ has considered the issue of death penalty/consular access, the ICJ has never ordered relief of "acquittal, release and return" such as that sought by India. All of its previous decisions indicate that the ICJ would never do so. The ICJ has repeatedly stated that it is not a Criminal Court of Appeal. Where effective review of a conviction is available before the domestic Courts, all relevant previous decisions of the ICJ make it clear that this would be the appropriate remedy even if Consular access had been denied prior to conviction.
10. Despite having been on notice of Pakistan's key arguments since the Provisional Measures phase, India insisted on a further round of pleadings. The ICJ granted permission, and India filed its Reply on 17 April 2018, to which Pakistan filed a detailed Rejoinder in response on 17 July 2018.
1. NDMA dispatches humanitarian assistance to Flood-hit Iran
On the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has dispatched a load of over 32 tons humanitarian assistance to flood-hit Iran. The consignment comprising of two shipments contains 500 tents, 3300 blankets and emergency medical kits. The first shipment has already been dispatched to Iranian city of Ahwaz, on Wednesday morning.
Iran has been hit by widespread flashfloods causing serious damages to public property and displaced thousands of people. As a brotherly country Pakistan decided to assist its neighbor Iran by sending humanitarian aid to supplement Iran's own relief efforts. Pakistanis stand by their Iranian brethren at this difficult time.
Islamabad, 10 April 2019.
2. Prime Minister Imran Khan concludes visit to Iran
Prime Minister Imran Khan has concluded a two-day visit to Iran. This was his first visit to the brotherly, neighbouring country since assuming office in August 2018. In the first leg of the visit the Prime Minister visited the holy city of Mashhad and paid respect at the shrine of Imam Raza (A.S.).
Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Iran in line with government's approach to meaningfully strengthen its relations with all neighbouring countries. Iran is an important Muslim neighbour having centuries old people to people, religious and cultural affinities with Pakistan.
In Tehran, the Prime Minister held in-depth one-on-one and delegation-level talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and called on the Iranian Supreme Leader Seyyed Ali Khamenei. This first leadership level interaction between the two sides, enabled strengthening of the mutual understanding on important issues in bilateral, regional and international domains.
Prime Minister was accompanied by a high level delegation including Dr. Shireen M. Mazari, Minister for Human Rights, Syed Ali Haider Zaidi, Minister for Maritime Affairs, Mr. Abdul Razak Dawood, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce, Mr. Zafarullah Mirza, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Health Services and Regulation, Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, Mr. Nadeem Baber, Special Assistant of the Prime Minister on Petroleum. They also held separate meetings with their respective Iranian counterparts to discuss matters pertaining to their individual areas.
Bilaterally, the two sides exchanged views on issues related to Pakistan-Iran border security; facilitation of Pakistani pilgrims and zaireen travelling every year in large numbers to Iran;overcoming hindrances in promotion of bilateral trade and economic activity; opening of new border crossing points, establishment of new border market; enhancing cooperation in energy, consular, health,railways sectors;and promotion of cultural collaboration, tourism and people to people exchanges between the two countries.
In the regional domain, both Pakistan and Iran agreed to join hands for promoting efforts for peace in Afghanistan through an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led solution and evolving a broader regional consensus in this regard.
During the visit, Prime Minister also addressed the Pakistani and Iranian business community, highlighting the need for private sector's proactive role in realizing the full potential of bilateral trade and economic relations.
At conclusion of the visit the two sides issued a comprehensive Joint Statement outlining the outcomes of Prime Minister's extensive talks with the Iranian President.
The important outcomes, as contained in the Joint Statement, are listed below:
Signing of Declaration for Cooperation in Healthcare Sector.
Pakistan welcomed the initiation of the process for release of a number of Pakistani prisoners by the Government of Iran and their repatriation to Pakistan.
Next meeting of the Joint Consular Commission to be held in Islamabad in 2nd half of 2019.
10th round of Security Committee to be held in Islamabad in June 2019.
2nd round of High Border Commission in Islamabad in May 2019.
21st round of Joint Economic Commission (JEC) in Islamabad in 2nd half of 2019.
Next round of Joint Committee on Trade to meet in Islamabad in first week of July 2019.
Early opening of new crossing points at Gabd-Reemdan and Mand-Pishien and agreement in principle on opening of new border market to be discussed during the High Border Commission.
Agreement to promote broader regional consensus on an Afghan-owned, Afghan led peace process and an amicable solution.
Call for peaceful solution of Jammu andKashmir dispute based on the will of the Kashmiri people and in line with the UNSC Resolutions.
Acceptance of official invitation extended by Prime Minister Imran Khan to President Rouhani for a visit to Pakistan.
Islamabad, 22 April 2019. Source: www.mofa.gov.pk
1. Pakistan rejects Indian objections to Foreign Minister's telephone call to Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and reaffirms support for the Kashmir cause
The Government of Pakistan categorically rejects the objections raised by India to the Pakistan Foreign Minister's telephonic call to All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
We would like to reiterate that Kashmir is an outstanding dispute between India and Pakistan, and acknowledged as such through UN Security Council resolutions as well as numerous Pakistan-India documents including the Simla Agreement and Lahore Declaration.
The Kashmir issue remains on the agenda of the UN Security Council.
We also categorically reject any insinuation that seeks to project as "terrorism" the legitimate struggle of the Kashmiri people for self-determination. This is an outright travesty.
Pakistan is committed to extending its political, diplomatic and moral support to the people of occupied Jammu and Kashmir. The leadership in Pakistan has always been communicating with the Kashmiri leadership. This is not anything new.
Pakistan will maintain its support and solidarity till the time the Kashmir dispute is resolved peacefully, in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions and the wishes of the people of occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
Islamabad, 30 January 2019.
2. International Conference on Jammu and Kashmir in the British Parliament
Participants express concern over atrocities in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
An International Conference on Jammu and Kashmir was held at the British Parliament on 04th February 2019. Mr. Rehman Chishti MP and Chairperson All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Pakistan, hosted the Conference. The Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who is currently in London for the Kashmir Solidarity Day, attended the Conference as the keynote speaker.
Other guest speakers included Sardar Masood Khan, President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, Chair of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, Ms. Debbie Abrahams MP and Chairperson of the All Party Parliamentary Kashmir Group (APPKG), Former Prime Minister of Norway, Mr. Kjell Magne Bondevik and Former Australian Senator Ms. Lee Rhiannon. The event was also attended by members of Cross-party Foreign Relations Committee from the Senate of Pakistan, British Parliamentarians, Mayors, and Councillors, Kashmiri leaders, academics, participants from civil society organizations, media representatives, students, prominent members of the British Pakistani community, and the High Commissioner of Pakistan to the UK.
London, 4 February 2019.
3. Kashmir solidarity day 2019
To express solidarity with the people of Indian occupied Kashmir in their legitimate struggle for right to self-determination, the Kashmir Solidarity Day was observed in the Embassy of Pakistan, Bishkek. The activity was attended by the members of Pakistani community. Messages from the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan were read out on the occasion.
The Ambassador while expressing tribute to the unparalleled commitment of the Kashmiris for the attainment of the legitimate right to self-determination, highlighted grave human rights situation in the occupied valley and genocide being committed by Indian occupation forces. He also highlighted the economic, social and religious persecution of innocent Kashmiris at the hands of brutal Indian forces.
The participants expressed solidarity with their Kashmiri brethren and reiterated their resolve to make efforts in their respective area of influence to create awareness among the local population about the Kashmir issue and unprecedented human rights violations by Indian forces in the Kashmir valley. Embassy of Bishkek,
5 February 2019
4. Meeting of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir
The OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir held an emergency meeting at the OIC General Secretariat in Jeddah on 26th February 2019. The meeting was called preceding the 46th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers being held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
The meeting was chaired, on behalf of the Secretary General by Assistant Secretary General Amb Hameed A. Opeloyeru, and attended by Foreign Secretary of Pakistan Tehmina Janjua and Permanent Representatives of Azerbaijan Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Niger. The meeting was also attended by President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
In his opening remarks, speaking on behalf of the OIC Secretary General, the Assistant Secretary General expressed grave concern at the rising tension in South Asia, strongly condemned the recent wave of repression, brutal killing of innocent Kashmiris by the Indian occupation forces, frequent incidents of rape especially of minor girls, and reiterated OIC's principled position on supporting the people of Jammu and Kashmir in achieving their legitimate rights, including the right of self-determination. He emphasized that conflict should be resolved in accordance with the aspiration of Kashmiri people and OIC and United Nations (UN) resolutions.
Pakistan Foreign Secretary apprised the participants on the recent Indian threats to regional peace and security and continued Indian repression and recent escalation in atrocities against the innocent Kashmiris. The Foreign Secretary reaffirmed Pakistan's political, moral and diplomatic support to the people of IoK in their just struggle to achieve the inalienable right to self-determination. She recalled Pakistani Prime Minister's concrete offer for dialogue to India.
H.E. Masood Khan, President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir also attended meeting of the Contact Group and briefed the members on the continued oppressive policies of Indian security forces in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir that had alienated Kashmiri people.
The Contact Group appreciated Prime Minister of Pakistan's offer for peace and dialogue to India to resolve all issues.
The Contact Group also expressed deep concern over the heightened tension and called for immediate de-escalation in the region.
The Contact Group condemned incursion by Indian aircraft across LOC and dropping of bombs.
The Contact Group also request the OIC-Council of Foreign Ministers to:
a. Urge the United Nations Security Council and the UN Secretary General to take a proactive role, through statesmanship and mediation under Chapter 6 of the UN Charter, to defuse the rising tensions and escalation created by India.
b. Urge the UN Secretary General to appoint a Special Envoy on Kashmir.
c. Demand that India stops forthwith its use of brute force, indiscriminate killings and violations of human rights of Kashmiris; and stem drift towards genocide in the IOK.
d. Uphold the right to self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir people in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions.
e. Ask India to withdraw its occupation forces from IOK.
f. Demand that India release detained Kashmiri leaders forthwith.
g. Support the recommendations of the reports of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir of the United Kingdom Parliament which calls on India to rescind two draconian laws - Armed Forces Special Powers Act and Public Safety Act - that foster a culture of impunity.
h. Support the recommendation of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to the Human Rights Council to establish a Commission of Inquiry to directly assess the human rights situation in IOK.
i. Implement recommendations of the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) which, inter-alia, call for; (i) a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement to put pressure on India to meet its human rights obligations; (ii) coordinate and collaborate with the Islamic Development Bank and Islamic Development Fund to initiate development projects in the IOK; and (iii) urge India to remove travel restrictions on Kashmiri leaders and facilitate their free movement abroad.
j. Demand that India provided access to a fact fining mission of the IPHRC to investigate human rights situation in IOK and to follow-up on its report of 2017.
The members of the Contact Group reiterated their continued support to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and called on India to immediately stop repressive security operations against the people of Jammu and Kashmir, respect the fundamental and basic human rights and address the dispute in accordance with the relevant OIC and United Nations (UN) Security Council resolutions on the subject as well as the wishes and aspirations of the Kashmiri people, the principle of self-determination and Human Rights.
The Contact Group on the OIC and the UN Secretary to use their good offices to arrest the dangerous escalation by India which is threat to regional peace and security. It was underscored that priority should be given to peace and dialogue.
The Contact Group was formed in 1994 to coordinate policy of OIC on Jammu and Kashmir.
Jeddah, 26 February 2019.
5. OIC reaffirms its unwavering support to the Kashmiri people
The OIC Ministerial meeting that concluded today in Abu Dhabi reaffirmed its unwavering support for the Kashmiri people in their just cause.
In a resolution adopted by the 46th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM), the OIC member states reiterated that Jammu and Kashmir remains the core dispute between Pakistan and India and its resolution is indispensable for the dream for peace in South Asia.
The OIC resolution also condemned in the strongest terms recent wave of Indian terrorism in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and expressed deep concern over the atrocities and human rights violations in IoK.
The resolution also reminded the international community of its obligation to ensure implementation of UN Security Council resolutions on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.
In the context of current volatile situation in the region, the OIC member states adopted a new resolution sponsored by Pakistan, which expressed grave concern over the Indian violation of Pakistani airspace; affirmed Pakistan's right to self-defence; and urged India to refrain from the threat or use of force.
This OIC resolution on regional peace and security in South Asia also welcomed Prime Minister Imran Khan's renewed offer of dialogue to India and the goodwill gesture of handing over the Indian pilot. The resolution called for restraint and de-escalation as well as the need to resolve outstanding issues through peaceful means.
In another significant development, the OIC elected Pakistan as a member of its Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission from the Asian region, in acknowledgement of Pakistan's constructive contribution to human rights discourse, norms and policies.
The OIC adopted two other resolutions sponsored by Pakistan on international disarmament and non-proliferation issues and reform of the UN Security Council.
The strong OIC support to the people of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and the centrality of this core issue to regional peace is recognition of the key role that Pakistan plays as a founding OIC member.
Pakistan boycotted the plenary session of the 46th CFM at the Foreign Minister level.
Islamabad, 2 March 2019. Source: www.mofa.gov.pk
1. Prime Minister Imran Khan holds bilateral meeting with the Kyrgyz President
Prime Minister Imran Khan had a cordial bilateral meeting with President of Kyrgyzstan Mr. Sooronbay Jeenbekov on the sidelines of the Council of Heads of State of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting in Bishkek. Kyrgyzstan is the current chair of SCO.
Both leaders agreed to increase mutual trade and comprehensively upgrade bilateral cooperation in all fields. It was also decided to enhance land and air connectivity.
The Prime Minister emphasized the salience of CPEC in the context of connectivity as well as regional prosperity.
The two countries also agreed to enhance people-to-people contacts and cooperation in the tourism sector.
The Prime Minister invited the Kyrgyz President to visit Pakistan at his earliest convenience. The Kyrgyz President accepted the invitation.
Islamabad, 13 June 2019. Source: www.mofa.gov.pk
1. Prime Minister Imran Khan calls upon OIC Member States to Take a Strong Position against Blasphemy
During his address to the 14th Session of OIC Conference in Makkah-Al-Makarramah, Prime Minister Imran Khan made a strong and impassioned plea for the OIC to take a firm stand on the issue of blasphemy against the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him).
The Summit was hosted and chaired by Khadim-Al-Harmain Sharifain King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud under the theme 'Hand in Hand Towards the Future'.
The Prime Minister made a direct appeal to the participating Kings, Heads of States and Heads of Governments. He opened his statement by mentioning that the response of the Muslim Ummah and OIC was lacking when the West blasphemed the Holy Prophet. He emphasised that the OIC owed a responsibility to the Muslim World in terms of the need to take a strong position on blasphemy.
The Prime Minister added that acts of blasphemy towards the Holy Prophet (PBUH) emanating from the Western countries were both willful as well as out of ignorance. He emphasized the need on the part of the OIC to better educate the West on the importance of religion among Muslims as well as their love and affection for the Holy Prophet (PBUH). He emphasized that the West must not be allowed to hurt the feelings of the Muslim World under the garb of freedom of opinion and expression.
The Prime Minister further emphasized the importance of countering Islamophobia with particular reference to conflation of "violent extremism" with Islam and use of terms like "Islamic terrorism" and "radical Islam." He urged that the West should differentiate between the vast majority of moderate Muslims and the largely fringe extremist elements. He underscored that political struggles must not be allowed to be delegitimized by branding them as acts of terrorism.
The Prime Minister cited the examples of just struggles by the peoples of Palestine and Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir which were often maligned as "terrorism" by their oppressors. He called upon OIC to make resolute efforts to ensure delinking of legitimate political struggles from terrorism and actively supporting Kashmiris towards realization of their right to self-determination under the relevant UN resolutions.
The Prime Minister also reiterated Pakistan's unwavering support for a two-state solution of the Palestine issue - with Al Quds Al Sharif as the capital of the Palestinian state as well as the return of Golan Heights.
In the final part of his statement, the Prime Minister highlighted the importance of promoting science, technology and innovation for the people of OIC member states so as to ensure that they must not be left behind in the age of the next industrial revolution. He remarked that the OIC platform and resources must be used to ensure provision of quality education in the Muslim World which were not lacking in potential in terms of human and natural resources.
Islamabad, 1 June 2019.
2. OIC Makkah Summit reiterates support for Kashmiris right to self determination
The 14th session of the OIC Summit in Makkah reiterated the Conference's principled support for the legitimate right to self determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir in accordance with UN resolutions.
Referring to the UN Kashmir report of 2018, the Final Communique of the Conference called for expedited establishment of a UN Commission of Inquiry to investigate the grave human rights violations and urged India to allow the Commission and other international organizations access to IoK.
The Conference endorsed resolutions adopted by the OIC Ministerial meetings. It may be recalled that the OIC Council of Ministers had adopted in February this year Pakistan's resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir as well a new resolution on maintenance of peace and stability in South Asia.
The Conference called for adoption of a comprehensive strategy to combat Islamophobia, building on proposals made by Pakistan in the OIC Ministerial Executive Committee meeting in March 2019.
The Conference commended Pakistan for its generosity and hospitality for hosting Afghan Refugees in the past 40 years.
The Conference also commended the role of COMSTECH under the chairmanship of the President of Pakistan and encouraged Member States for early operationalization of the OIC STI agenda 2026.
Signifying OIC's continued attention and focus on the Kashmir issue, the Conference approved Mr Yousef Aldobeay of Saudi Arabia as OIC's special envoy for Jammu and Kashmir. The Conference also commended the report of OIC's Human Rights Commission Highlighting the human rights violations in IoK.
The Conference welcomed the offer of Pakistan to host 48th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers in Islamabad in 2021.
Prime Minister Imran Khan represented Pakistan at the Makkah Summit and articulated Pakistan's views on the situation in IoK, Palestine, Islamophobia and the need for science, technology and innovation for Muslim countries.
Islamabad, 01 June 2019. Source: www.mofa.gov.pk
1. Visit of Amir of Qatar (22-23 June 2019)
On the invitation of Prime Minister Imran Khan, His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Amir of the State of Qatar, arrived in Islamabad today on a two-day State Visit to Pakistan. He is accompanied by a high-powered delegation comprising key Ministers and Senior Officials.
His Highness the Amir was received by the Prime Minister on arrival at Nur Khan Airbase, where he was given a 21-gun salute. This was followed by a formal Welcoming Ceremony at the Prime Minister House, where the visiting dignitary was given a tri-services guard of honour. He also witnessed fly past of JF-17 Thunder. The visiting dignitary also planted a tree at the Prime Minister House.
The Prime Minister and HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani held one-on-one meeting, followed by delegation-level talks. The talks were marked by exceptional warmth and cordiality. All aspects of bilateral relations came under review. The two leaders reaffirmed the closeness of Pakistan-Qatar fraternal ties and reiterated the resolve to forge a robust political and economic partnership.
Among other things, it was agreed to take steps to significantly increase bilateral trade; expand collaboration in the agriculture and food sectors; enhance cooperation in the energy sector including in the LNG and LPG fields and exploration and production of oil and gas; promote Qatar's investments in energy, tourism and hospitality industries; increase the number of Pakistani workers employed in Qatar; expand cooperation in the fields of aviation, maritime affairs, higher education, and defence and defence production. It was decided that the respective Ministers would hold further follow-up talks on the areas to give concrete shape to the proposals agreed between the leaders.
The two sides also exchanged views on the regional situation and efforts to facilitate the Afghan peace process.
Following the official talks, Pakistan and Qatar signed the following MoUs:
* Memorandum of Understanding on the Establishment of Pakistan and Qatar Joint Working Group (JWG) on Trade and Investment;
* Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation in the fields of Tourism and Business Events between Government of State of Qatar and Government of Islamic Republic of Pakistan; and
* Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the field of Exchange of Financial Intelligence related to Money Laundering, Associated Predicate Offences and Terrorism Financing between Financial Information Unit of State of Qatar and the Financial Monitoring Unit, in the Government of Pakistan.
The Prime Minister hosted a Banquet Dinner in honour of His Highness the Amir and his entourage. In a special gesture, His Highness the Amir presented the Qatar National football team jersey to the Prime Minister and received a cricket bat signed by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
His Highness the Amir will have a meeting with the President of Pakistan tomorrow. The visit of HH the Amir will further cement the close brotherly relations between Pakistan and Qatar and give a significant boost to bilateral cooperation in diverse fields.
Islamabad, 22 June 2019. Source: www.mofa.gov.pk
1. Prime Minister's Bilateral Meeting with Chinese President on the Sidelines of the SCO Council of Heads of State
Prime Minister Imran Khan had an extremely cordial meeting with President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the SCO Council of Heads of State in Bishkek today. The two leaders held consultations on the entire range of bilateral relations and regional issues. Both sides agreed that the visit of Vice President Wang Qishan had been a milestone. The two leaders strongly reaffirmed the Pakistan-China All Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership.
The Prime Minister thanked China for its steadfast support on all issues of Pakistan's core interest and expressed satisfaction at the close coordination between the two sides on multilateral issues. The Chinese side acknowledged Pakistan's efforts to promote regional peace and the measures in the fight against terrorism. Prime Minister Imran Khan reiterated Pakistan's firm support to China on all issues of its core interest.
Both sides expressed their resolve to advance CPEC and build Pakistan China Community of Shared Future in the New Era.
Both sides also expressed satisfaction that Pakistan and China had identical views on various international and regional issues. They agreed to closely coordinate on challenges emerging from the changing global dynamics and affirmed that the time-tested Pakistan-China relationship will continue to move from strength to strength.
Islamabad, 4 June 2019.
2. Prime Minister's visit to Bishkek for SCO Summit
On the invitation of the President of Kyrgyz Republic, Mr. Sooronbay Jeenbekov, Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Bishkek to attend the 19th Meeting of the Council of the Heads of State of SCO Member States on 13-14 June 2019. The Prime Minister's delegation included Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Special Assistance to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Youth Affairs Muhammad Usman Dar, Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood and senior officials.
Upon arrival in Bishkek, the Prime Minister was received by Kyrgyz Prime Minister Mukhammedkalyi Abylgaziev and other Kyrgyz dignitaries. As part of the programme on 13 June, the Prime Minister participated in a Dinner hosted by President Jeenbekov in honour of the participating Leaders. Later, the Prime Minister accompanied by other Leaders attended a Gala Concert, entitled "Caravan of Friendship," in which artists and musicians from SCO countries presented their representative music. Renowned Pakistani artist Akhtar Chanal Zehri (accompanied by Ahmed Khalil on Benjo) performed the popular musical item, "Salam Pakistan."
On June, 14, the Prime Minister attended the Restricted Session of the Summit, along with Leaders from SCO Member States. This was followed by an Extended Session, in which leaders of SCO Observers, Special Guests and Representatives of International Bodies and Organizations also joined.
In his statement at the Summit, the Prime Minister inter alia underscored the historic, geographic and economic linkages between Pakistan and SCO region; highlighted myriad strengths of Pakistan and the process of transformation underway in the country; stressed the inextricable linkage between peace and development as the anchor of Pakistan's foreign policy outlook; underlined the salience of CPEC in the context of connectivity and regional prosperity; shared Pakistan's perspective on the rapidly changing global scenario; and articulated Pakistan's positions on major issues such as Afghanistan; peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia; and tensions in the Gulf/Middle East.
The Prime Minister reiterated Pakistan's condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including State-terrorism against people under illegal occupation. He also underlined that Pakistan had successfully turned the tide against terrorism and remained ready to share its experience and expertise in counter-terrorism with SCO partners.
The Prime Minister stressed that the main dynamic needed to be shifted from confrontation to cooperation for enduring peace and prosperity in South Asia. He said, "it is important to seize the opportunities for peaceful resolution of outstanding disputes and collective endeavours for regional prosperity."
Sharing a futuristic and forward-looking agenda, the Prime Minister proposed an 8-pronged course of action for SCO, viz.:
i. Reinforcing SCO's vision of cooperation that rejects confrontation, and advances the imperatives of peaceful co-existence at the regional and international levels.
ii. Galvanizing the "Shanghai Spirit" to strengthen SCO's core mandate of mitigating the risks of conflict, fostering confidence, and promoting stability.
iii. Finalizing arrangements for trade in local currencies, and setting up SCO Fund and SCO Development Bank
iv. Synergizing region-wide connectivity initiatives for infrastructure connectivity with soft connectivity, including digital, cultural, touristic, and academic and setting up SCO Culture and Tourism Corridors.
v. Promoting food security and enhancing cooperation in health and humanitarian sectors.
vi. Establishing a comprehensive framework for combating corruption and white collar crime.
vii. Prioritizing women and youth empowerment by strengthening the Women Forum and the Youth Council for promoting gender mainstreaming, skills acquisition and jobs mobility.
viii. Launching feasibilities for creating SCO Centers of Excellence on Poverty Alleviation, De-Radicalization, Connectivity, and New Technologies.
During the Extended Session, the Prime Minister along with other SCO Leaders signed 14 landmark decisions on SCO's future priorities related to political, security, trade and economic and cultural cooperation. The participating Leaders also signed the Bishkek Declaration.
The Bishkek Declaration is a comprehensive document emphasizing the "Shanghai Spirit" characterized by mutual trust and benefit, equality, joint consultations, respect for cultural diversity and aspiration for collective development.
Separately, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi signed three SCO documents namely: (i) Agreement on Cooperation in the field of Physical Cultural and Sports; (ii) Agreement on Media Cooperation; and (iii) Work Plan for Cooperation in the field of Healthcare.
While in Bishkek, Prime Minister Imran Khan held bilateral meetings/interactions with the Presidents of People's Republic of China, Russian Federation, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Republic of Belarus. The Prime Minister also had informal exchanges with other participating Leaders.
This was Prime Minister Imran Khan's first participation in an SCO Summit-level event. The Prime Minister's presence at the Bishkek Summit signified the high importance that Pakistan attaches to SCO as a trans-regional platform. The Prime Minister's comprehensive statement at the Summit and the 8-pronged course of action underscored Pakistan's commitment to contribute substantially to the advancement of SCO's goals and objectives in the political, security and economic spheres.
The Prime Minister's engagement with world leaders including President Xi Jinping and President Vladimir Putin lent further momentum to Pakistan's All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership with China and to the growth of Pakistan's multi-dimensional ties with the Russian Federation. The Prime Minister's interaction with leaders from Central Asian Republics (CARs) was consistent with Pakistan's vision of deeper engagement with Central Asia and aimed at boosting further progress in the political, economic and trade, energy, culture and people-to-people domains.
Islamabad, 15 June 2019. Source: www.mofa.gov.pk
1. Terrorist Attack on Two Mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand
Pakistan condemns in the strongest possible terms, the heinous terrorist attack earlier today on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, that resulted in loss of over 40 innocent lives, and critical injury to 20 others.
At this difficult moment, the people and government of Pakistan stand in solidarity with the people and government of New Zealand, the bereaved families and the affected community. We express our deepest condolences on the loss of precious lives, and pray for quick recovery of the wounded.
Pakistan views this terrorist attack as an assault on the values of freedom of conscience and association common to all mankind. Pakistan earnestly hopes that the government of New Zealand will take immediate action to bring the perpetrators and abettors of this terror attack to justice, and ensure the safety and security of the affected communities.
Our High Commission in New Zealand is in touch with the concerned authorities in New Zealand to obtain further details. Contact number of the focal person in the High Commission has been circulated.
Islamabad, 15 March 2019. Source: www.mofa.gov.pk
1. Pakistan re-elected to the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND)
Pakistan has been re-elected to the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). Pakistan secured the highest number of votes - 48 out of 54 - from the Asia-Pacific Group.
The Commission membership will be for a four-year term starting, 1 January 2020. Elections were held in New York at the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
Pakistan has served on the Commission for four decades since its establishment. The overwhelming support in this election is yet another vote of confidence by the international community in Pakistan's leadership and its important role in the global policy discourse on the world drug problem.
Pakistan would continue to advocate dialogue and cooperation to address challenges related to narcotic drugs through a balanced, comprehensive and evidence-based approach.
Islamabad, 8 May 2019. Source: www.mofa.gov.pk
Pakistan Economic Survey's 'Overview of the Economy': Executive Summary
The macroeconomic stability is a fundamental pre-requisite for sustained economic growth. Pakistan's economy has experienced frequent boom and bust cycles. Typically, each cycle comprised of 3-4 years of relatively higher growth followed by a macroeconomic crisis which necessitated the stabilization programs. The inability to achieve sustained and rapid economic growth is due to structural issues which require effective monetary and fiscal measures to achieve macroeconomic stability.
The outgoing five-year plan has seen an average growth of 4.7 percent against the target of 5.4 percent. This growth can be characterized as a consumption led growth. The unplanned borrowing from different sources increased both private and public consumption resulting in higher debt repayment liabilities, which created severe macroeconomic imbalances. The investment did not pick up as higher demand was met primarily through imports leading to enormous rise in external imbalances. Due to low growth in revenues and the unplanned and unproductive expenditures, the fiscal deficit widened. The persistence of large fiscal and current account deficits and associated build up of public and external debt became the major source of macroeconomic imbalance.
The new elected government faces formidable macroeconomic challenges. The foremost challenge to the economy is the rising aggregate demand without corresponding resources to support it, leading to rising fiscal and external account deficits. To address the issue of severe macroeconomic instability and to put the economy on the path of sustained growth and stability, the government has introduced a comprehensive set of economic and structural reform measures.
As a short-term measure to get a breathing space, the government secured $ 9.2 billion from friendly countries to build up buffers and to ensure timely repayment of previous loans. The government has also taken some overdue tough decisions i.e. increase in energy tariffs to stop further accumulation of circular debt, reduction in imports through regulatory duties and withdrawal of some of the tax relaxations given in the last budget in order to arrest the deterioration in primary balance. These painful decisions were tough for the new elected government, but at the same time were necessary for economic stabilization. Recently, staff level agreement has been negotiated with the IMF to avail Extended Fund Facility for achieving macroeconomic stability. The staff level agreement will now be placed before the IMF Board for its approval.
The impact of macroeconomic adjustment policies, such as monetary tightening, exchange rate adjustment, expenditure control and enhancement of regulatory duties on non-essential imports, started to become visible this year. These steps have served to bring some degree of stability and have also helped in reducing economic uncertainty. However, the situation calls for sustained efforts.
The outgoing fiscal year 2018-19 witnessed a muted growth of 3.29 percent against the ambitious target of 6.2 percent. The target was based upon sectoral growth projections for agriculture, industry, and services at 3.8 percent, 7.6 percent and 6.5 percent respectively. The actual sectoral growth turned out to be 0.85 percent for agriculture, 1.4 percent for industry and 4.7 percent for services.
Some of the major crops witnessed negative growth as production of cotton, rice and sugarcane declined by 17.5 percent, 3.3 percent and 19.4 percent respectively. The crops showing positive growth include wheat and maize which grew at the rate of 0.5 percent and 6.9 percent respectively. Other crops have shown growth of 1.95 percent mainly due to increase in production of pulses and oil seeds. Cotton ginning declined by 12.74 percent due to a decline in production of cotton crop. Livestock sector has shown a growth of 4.0 percent. The growth recorded for the forestry is 6.47 percent which was mainly due to increase in production of timber in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa ranging from 26.7 to 36.1 thousand cubic meters.
The growth in industrial sector has been estimated at 1.40 percent. The mining and quarrying sector has witnessed a negative growth of 1.96 percent mainly due to reduction in production of natural gas (-1.98 percent) and coal (-25.4 percent). The large-scale manufacturing sector as per QIM data (from July 2017 to February 2018) shows a decline of 2.06 percent. Major decline has been observed in Textile (-0.27 percent), Food, Beverage and Tobacco (-1.55 percent), Coke and Petroleum Products (-5.50 percent), Pharmaceuticals (-8.67 percent), Chemicals (-3.92 percent), Non-Metallic Mineral Products (-3.87 percent), Automobiles (-6.11 percent) and Iron and Steel products (-10.26). On the other hand, the substantial growth in LSM has been observed in Electronics (34.63 percent) Engineering Products (8.63 percent) and Wood Products (17.84 percent). Electricity and gas sub sector has grown by 40.54 percent, whereas the construction activity has declined by 7.57 percent.
The services sector has shown an overall growth of 4.71 percent. Wholesale and Retail Trade grew by 3.11 percent, while the Transport, Storage and Communication sector registered a growth of 3.34 percent mainly due to positive contribution by railways (38.93 percent), air transport (3.38 percent) and road transport (3.85 percent). Finance and insurance sector showed an overall growth of 5.14 percent. While the central banking has declined by 12.5 percent, a positive growth has been observed in scheduled banks (5.3 percent), non-scheduled banks (24.6 percent) and insurance activities (12.8 percent). The Housing Services has grown at 4.0 percent. The growth recorded in General Government Services is 7.99 percent which is mainly on account of increase in salaries of employees of federal, provincial and district governments. Other private services, comprising of various distinct activities such as computer related activities, education, health and social work, NGOs etc recorded a growth of 7.05 percent.
The total investments as a percentage of GDP was recorded at 15.4 percent against the target of 17.2 percent. The National Savings remained at 10.7 percent of GDP against the target of 13.1 percent. The consumption growth was recorded at 11.9 percent compared to 10.2 percent growth recorded last year. As percentage of GDP, it increased to 94.8 percent compared to last year's figure of 94.2 percent.
On the demand side, the exports declined by 1.9 percent despite exchange rate depreciation, while imports declined by 4.9 percent. This helped in reducing the trade deficit by 7.3 percent during July-April FY 2019 while it had shown an expansion of 24.3 percent during the corresponding period of last year. The workers' remittances played a major role in containing current account deficit to 4.03 percent of GDP. The CAD showed a contraction of 27 percent during July-April of the current year while it had expanded by 70 percent during the corresponding period of last year. The State Bank is following a contractionary policy to anchor the aggregate demand and address rising inflation on the back of high fiscal and current account deficits.
The next year, agriculture sector is likely to rebound under Prime Minister's Agriculture Emergency Program. The water availability is expected to be better as compared to current year. There is substantial increase in Agriculture Credit disbursement which is recorded at Rs. 805 billion during July-April FY2019 compared to Rs.666.2 billion during the corresponding period of last year, posting a growth of 20.8 percent. The import of agriculture machinery has recorded a growth of 10.95 during July-April FY2019 which is a good indicator. The base effect will also support growth in agriculture.
The Large-Scale Manufacturing sector which posted a negative growth this year is likely to rebound on the back of expected growth in agriculture sector along with government initiatives in the construction sector, SMEs sector and tourism and automobile sector. Both, agriculture and LSM sector growth is likely to have a good impact on services sector on account of goods transport services linked to agriculture and wholesale trade.
The fiscal tightening and the rising inflation on account of increasing utility prices, rationalization of taxes, measures to reduce the primary balance, and any further exchange rate adjustments, alongwith higher oil prices, protectionists tendencies in some of the economies and tightening monetary conditions in the developed countries leading to lower capital inflows will remain downside risk.
Global Economic Environment
After witnessing a strong growth in 2017 at 4.0 percent, the global economic activity slowed during the second half of 2018 to 3.6 percent while it is expected to reduce further to 3.3 percent in 2019. The slowdown in economic activity is attributed to multiple factors, including rising trade tensions and tariff hikes between the United States and China, which is the biggest risk to financial stability in Eurozone. In contrast, some developing economies could be benefitting from this trade diversion as prices of these targeted goods may rise in US and China. This tariff battle between USA and China is estimated to have affected almost 2.5 percent of global trade. Germany's unemployment rate has shown an increase for the first time since 2013 amid signs of slowing growth in Europe's biggest economy. Uncertainty created by Brexit has led to decline in business confidence and has further contributed towards slowing of growth in Euro zone.
In response to the growing global risks to the economy, the US Federal Reserve has adopted a more accommodative monetary policy stance. Similarly, other central banks around the world like the European Central Bank, the Bank of Japan and the Bank of England have also moved to adopt a more accommodative stance while China has ramped up its fiscal and monetary stimulus to cope with the negative effect of trade tariffs. Resultantly, the tightening of financial conditions has reversed across countries. Likewise, emerging markets have witnessed resumption in portfolio flows, a decline in sovereign borrowing costs, and a strengthening of their currencies relative to the dollar.
As the growth is likely to improve during the second half of 2019, it is projected to return to 3.6 percent in 2020. The projected improvement in global economic growth during the second half of 2019 is expected on account of gradual recovery and stabilization in Argentina and Turkey alongwith some other stressed emerging economies, current build-up of policy stimulus in China and improvement in global financial sentiments.
The growth beyond 2020 is predicted to stabilize, mainly supported by growth in China and India. However, the growth in advanced economies will continue to slow down on account of factors such as the fading of the impact of US fiscal stimulus, ageing trends and low productivity growth. On the other hand, the growth in emerging markets and developing economies is expected to stabilize at around 5 percent, though with substantial variation between countries.
According to World Economic Outlook (WEO) April (2019), the baseline outlook for emerging Asia remains favourable, with China's growth projected to slow gradually toward sustainable levels and convergence in frontier economies toward higher income levels. For other regions, the outlook is complicated by a combination of structural bottlenecks, slower advanced economy growth and, in some cases, high debt and tighter financial conditions. These factors, alongside subdued commodity prices and civil conflict in some cases, contributed to subdued medium-term prospects for Latin America; the Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan region; and parts of sub-Saharan Africa.
Source: www.finance.gov.pk, Economic Survey 2018-19, pp. i-iii.
III: Human Rights
State of Human Rights in Pakistan, 2018 Key Issues
Laws and law-making
* The federal parliament made a total of 39 laws in 2018, a slight increase from 2017 when 34 laws came into effect.
* The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) were merged with the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on 31 May 2018.
* The Transgender Persons (Protection and Rights) Act 2018 was passed, covering a range of provisions, and significantly allowing a transgender person to be recognised as per his or her self-perceived gender identity.
* The Juvenile Justice System Act 2018 replaced the Ordinance promulgated in 2000.
* Sindh was once again just ahead with the highest legislative output, closely followed by the Punjab. Two significant Act passed by the Sindh government were The Sindh Maternity Benefits Act 2018, and The Sindh Home-Based Workers Act 2018.
Administration of justice
* By year end, there were close to 1.9 million cases pending in over 250 lower, special, and superior courts.
* The National Accountability Bureau filed 440 corruption references, apprehended 503 accused persons, received 44,315 complaints, and conducted 1,713 complaint verifications during the year.
* While suo motu interventions by the Supreme Court proliferated, the long-awaited reform of the criminal justice system was put on the back burner.
* At the end of the year 4,688 prisoners were on death row. At least 500 have been executed since 2014, fourteen of them in 2018.
* The landmark judgment on the acquittal of Aasia Bibi by the Supreme Court was a welcome sign that, even in a flawed judicial system, the rule of law was still capable of protecting an innocent victim.
* Pakistan and international human rights mechanisms
* Pakistan has affirmed in its election pledge to the Human Rights Council that it is 'firmly resolved to uphold, promote and safeguard universal human rights and fundamental freedoms for all.'
* HRCP expressed concern that Pakistan had chosen to only 'note' key human rights principles including, among others, the reporting of investigation and prosecution of security forces that commit human rights violations; amending discriminatory laws against marginalised groups, taking effective measures to prevent the abuse of blasphemy legislation, and the use of violence against religious minorities.
* Requests for country visits from UN Special Rapporteurs on extrajudicial executions; the situation of human rights defenders; the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism; freedom of religion or belief; and torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, remain pending.
* Pakistan has ratified the eight ILO fundamental conventions but never fully applied them.
Law and order
* As in previous years, there has been a steady decline in conflict-related deaths, although the 2018 General Election saw a rise in violent deaths for the period between June and July.
* During the year, numerous reports emerged of police blackmail and extortion, torture and harassment during raids, custodial deaths, refusal to register FIRs, and corruption.
* HRCP monitoring data showed 845 incidences of sexual violence against women, and 316 crimes in the name of 'honour' perpetrated against both men and women. These are minimum figures.
* Child sex abuse incidents are on the rise. One report showed an increase of 32 percent in the first six months of 2018 compared to the same period the previous year, a 47 percent increase in cases involving boys, and a 75 percent rise in sexual violence against children in the age group of 0-5 years.
* Despite legislation, violence against the transgender community continued during the year.
* Cybercrime and online harassment across Pakistan have seen an exponential rise in cases.
Jails and prisoners
* Overcrowding continues to be a major challenge with jails across the country holding up to 57 percent more inmates than their capacity.
* In an NCHR report on Balochistan prisons, the need to adopt a human rights approach in the administration of prisons was said to be of utmost importance.
* Another NCHR report also observed that conditions for mentally ill inmates in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa prisons were particularly poor.
* The Supreme Court was told in May that the government had sent 1,330 persons to internment centres while 253 others had been released.
* According to the Interior Ministry, the official number of Pakistanis in foreign prisons was almost 12,000.
Freedom of movement
* The excessive and arbitrary use of the Exit Control List (ECL) continued to feature prominently in the news.
* Official restrictions on movement were imposed on people attending political and protest rallies.
* Protests, sit-ins, and traffic snarl-ups inhibited the movement of citizens across the country.
* The ground-breaking for the visa-free Kartarpur Corridor connecting Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan to Dera Baba Nanak in Indian Punjab was performed on 28 November.
Freedom of thought, conscience and religion
* There was no noticeable abatement in violence against religious minorities, as attacks on people and property continued to be reported.
* In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court acquitted Aasia Bibi of blasphemy charges in October. The subsequent nationwide unrest over the decision forced the government to agree to a review of the ruling.
* The Islamabad High Court ruled that all citizens should be identified by their faith and applicants for government and semi-government jobs should declare their faith before being considered eligible.
* The government withdrew the nomination of Atif Mian from the Economic Advisory Council (EAC) following a backlash over his Ahmadiyya faith.
* The Punjab government passed a landmark Bill 'The Punjab Sikh Anand Karaj Marriage Act 2018' providing for the solemnisation and registration of Sikh marriages.
Freedom of expression
* Curbs on freedom of opinion and expression escalated to unprecedented levels during the period of the elections.
* Media coverage was severely inhibited and journalists intimidated into self-censorship, most specifically in reporting on abuses by government security and intelligence agencies as well as militants.
* The government's announced intention of forming a 'Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority' was greeted with concern by the media as another means of restricting the freedom of the press.
* Pakistan's internet freedom ranking declined in 2018, attributed to a problematic cybercrime law, internet shutdowns, and cyber-attacks against political dissenters, justified on the grounds of national security.
* A Freedom Network report documented more than 150 violations, including verbal threats, killings, harassment, arrests, abductions, illegal confinements, and physical assaults, against journalists and media groups across the country between May 2017 and April 2018.
Freedom of assembly
* Pre-emptive detention of activists was frequently employed to restrict or disrupt rallies and protests, particularly in the months preceding the elections.
* Roads leading to the venues of rallies were blocked and media coverage blacked out.
* The government was said to be preparing a comprehensive strategy to prevent violent protests on the road and hate speech on sensitive religious issues and to ensure that people's lives and properties were protected.
* Police frequently used force to hamper or break up peaceful protests, including visually impaired demonstrators protesting about the lack of jobs and salaries.
Freedom of association
* Barriers to setting up unions, categories of workers prohibited from joining unions, limitations on, and methods used to break up, certain types of strikes, as well as the possibility of dismissal are factors that inhibit the growth of trade unions.
* The restrictions and banning of INGOs continued in 2018 with 18 ordered to wind up and leave the country by 30 November.
* The restoration of student unions remained pending and unresolved.
* Workers and supporters of social movements and some with political affiliations were subjected to intimidation or detention on charges of sedition and terrorism.
* The elections were marred by allegations of pre-poll manipulation and vote rigging, an issue that was never resolved, and the pre-poll environment clearly did not offer a level playing field to all parties.
* Doubts were raised about the fairness of the election process when security forces assumed control of the polling stations after the close of polling, and told all polling agents to leave their posts and come back an hour later.
* Pre-election rallies and gatherings, as well as polling stations, were once again targeted by bomb attacks although the incidences were fewer than in the 2013 elections.
* Attempts by the media to draw attention to some banned (as terrorist) entries in the elections were in vain.
* The rise of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), and the government's response, was a significant political development.
* Pakistan was named once again the second worst country in terms of gender equality in the world by the Global Gender Gap Index 2018.
* Despite the legislation enacted for women's rights in recent years, violence against women and unlawful practices persist and continue to escalate.
* Seventy-five percent of women and girls are involved in the agriculture sector and 60 percent of their work is being utilised as unpaid.
* There were more women candidates for general seats in the 2018 general elections than in any past election. For the first time, transgender candidates contested the elections. The first Sheedi woman was elected to the Sindh Assembly, and the first Hindu Dalit woman was elected to the Senate.
* The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2018 was passed giving them the right 'to be recognised as per his or her self-perceived gender identity', and making discrimination against them in numerous areas unlawful.
* There has been a sharp increase in child sexual abuse, involving both boys and girls, and reports of abuse appear with shocking regularity.
* Despite legislation on the employment of minors, this practice persists in industries and homes and the cases of abuse of child domestic workers continue to surface.
* Only four percent of children in Pakistan receive a 'minimally acceptable diet' according to a UN report.
* In the Thar region of Sindh, 638 children died of malnutrition in the period 1 January to 31 December 2018.
* The National Commission on the Rights of the Child (NCRC) Act was passed in 2017, and the Commission has yet to be constituted.
* The Sindh government produced a record number of labour-related legislation, including the first-ever law in Pakistan to protect the rights of home-based workers (The Sindh Home-Based Workers Act 2018).
* In general, implementation of international ILO and UN conventions and covenants relating to labour standards and human rights is an ongoing problem in Pakistan.
* Scores of mine workers lost their lives in deadly incidents in Balochistan and other provinces with no evidence of progress in the implementation of safety and health standards.
* Despite legislation, Pakistan ranked 8th on the Global Slavery Index 2018, with an estimated three million living in modern slavery/bonded labour.
* An estimated 12 million children are involved in child labour in the country.
* The current figure of over 11 million senior citizens in Pakistan is set to rise to over 43 million by 2050 according to the UNFPA.
* The implementation of existing Acts for the rights of senior citizens, and the formulation of others, is painfully slow.
* There is a dearth of housing and health facilities for those unable to live with their families.
* The informal sector accounts for 70% of the economy, yet it remains out of the ambit of The Employees Old Age Benefits Act 1976.
People living with disabilities
* Statistics on the number of persons with disabilities (PWDs) in the country vary in the absence of verifiable survey data, but the prevalence of disability has been estimated at 15 percent by WHO.
* Laws fully based on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which Pakistan ratified in 2011 have yet to fully manifest themselves and there is a lot of ground to make up.
* The Sindh Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities Act 2018, however, emphasises a rights-based approach modelled on the core principles of the CRPD.
* Schooling, training, and employment of children and people living with disabilities is a much-neglected area.
* Stigma and superstition attached to disability in Pakistan prevents the visibility, inclusion, and participation of PWDs in society.
Refugees and IDPs
* The number of Afghan nationals registered in Pakistan is over 2.8 million, of which 1.6 million hold a Proof of Registration Card (PoR) card, according to NADRA. There are at least one million undocumented Afghan nationals residing in the country.
* A total of 13,584 refugees were voluntarily repatriated from Pakistan to Afghanistan in 2018, a significant decline as compared to 57,411 in 2017.
* FDMA estimates that around 16,136 IDP families have yet to return. Independent analysts, HRCP monitors on the ground, and organisations working with IDPs say the numbers of IDPs who were forced to leave their homes in FATA, and who are currently still displaced, are much higher.
* The government made an announcement about the possible granting of citizenship to around 1.5 million Afghans born in Pakistan, but this was later clarified as a move to 'initiate a debate' on the subject.
* The perception that Afghan refugees were all involved in criminal or terrorist activities continued to persist and, in some cases, was encouraged as evidenced by reports of continued harassment and aggression.
* The number of out-of-school children was reported to have risen from 22.63 to 22.84 million. Another report spoke of a promising trend as the children between the ages of six and 16 enrolled in schools had risen from 81 percent in 2016 to 83 percent in 2018.
* GEM 2019 showed that just about half of the pupils attain minimum proficiency in reading and mathematics by the end of the primary level, but the ASER report 2018 registered an improvement in learning levels.
* The issue of tuition fee hikes at elite schools was taken up by the Supreme Court.
* The funding for the Higher Education Commission was slashed by around Rs5 billion in a mid-term budget released in October.
* Militants torched 12 schools, mostly for girls, in Gilgit-Baltistan, the Khyber tribal district, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan.
* Cases of corporal punishment continued to be reported throughout the year from the Punjab, KP, and other provinces.
* The country's spending on the health sector is still less than one percent of its GDP whereas WHO recommends it should be around 6 percent.
* The unsatisfactory quality and coverage of public health services means a high dependence on the private sector which is too costly for many. As a result, people are driven to consult unqualified medical practitioners and quacks, often with dire consequences.
* The country is becoming increasingly depressed, according to the Pakistan Association for Mental Health. There is no evidence that Pakistan has developed a coordinated national strategy to achieve the objectives of WHO's comprehensive mental health action plan (2013-2020).
* The control of communicable diseases remains a challenge, while there is a rising trend of non-communicable diseases-heart disease, stroke, diabetes, hypertension, and various types of cancers.
* There were some notable efforts to stop land grabbing and illegal encroachment, but those practices as well as illegal occupation and china cutting continued especially in the major cities.
* With a deficit of roughly seven to 10 million houses in the country, the government's pledge to build five million affordable houses throughout Pakistan might be a major challenge particularly after the announcement that applicants would have to bear 20 percent of the total cost of their home.
* The authorities' operations to evict 'illegal' occupants from residential areas and to demolish illegal structures met with some strong resistance.
* The frequent reports of roof and wall collapses causing numerous fatalities expose the substandard quality of construction in homes and buildings.
* Air and water pollution, lack of sanitation, and exposure to heavy metals are responsible for approximately 340,000 deaths annually in Pakistan, according to Yale's 2018 Environmental Performance Index.
* Pakistan is among the top ten countries most affected by climate change, with wide-ranging impacts on the population and economy due to extreme weather events over the last two decades.
* Balochistan and Sindh, and other parts of the country, were reported to be experiencing drought-like conditions, with the Thar region particularly hard hit.
* A World Bank report recommended urgent investments in faecal waste management systems as well as in the provision of safe drinking water to prevent transmission of disease.
* Pakistan is forging ahead with the building of coal-fired plants-Thar coal will fuel nine of the 17 proposed CPEC power plants-despite the global trend towards replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy.
* The Punjab government was reported to be conducting a forensic audit of the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power Project in Bahawalpur amid concerns over the cost of the project and the electricity being produced there.
Source: State of Human Rights in 2018, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Lahore, 2018, pp.5-13.
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|Date:||Jun 30, 2019|
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