Legal basis for Aafia, Afridi swap under consideration: FO

Published: July 25, 2013
Foreign Office spokesperson says Pakistan has a positive approach towards Afghanistan.

Foreign Office spokesperson says Pakistan has a positive approach towards Afghanistan.

ISLAMABAD: Though no new approach has been made for a prisoner swap between the US and Pakistan involving Dr Aafia Siddiqui and Dr Shakil Afridi, the foreign office spokesperson hinted that the government was pondering over a legal route for the swap.

“Pakistan and the US do not have any bilateral prisoners’ exchange agreement. There are two regional arrangements which if joined could provide a basis for discussion on such issues. This particular aspect is under consideration in the Ministry Of Interior,” the foreign office spokesperson said during his weekly briefing. He also said that the Ministry of Interior could better answer about the arrangements under which prisoners were exchanged with the US.

Asked whether US secretary of state John Kerry would be arriving with an agenda to secure the release of Dr Afridi, the spokesperson dismissed it as speculative.

He also said that the visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry was very much on the cards, the dates for which were being worked out.

Pak-US relations

Asked whether Pakistan-US relations were currently ‘strained’, the spokesperson chose not to colour the relation in that term.

“It’s a multi-faceted relationship,” he described, adding, “Our two countries have been collaborating in a number of areas of mutual benefit. Like in every relationship, there are points of convergence as well as divergence.”

“I believe that Pakistan is engaged with the US on the basis of mutual respect and mutuality of benefit,” he said.

Relations with Afghanistan

The recent visit of Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz was brought up, and the spokesperson said that the first high level exchange of visits between Afghanistan and Pakistan had resulted in the invitation for Karzai to visit Pakistan being extended.

“The two governments are engaged in preparing for the visit and working out mutually convenient dates.”

He added that Pakistan hopes that the two countries “will work together on an agenda that leads us to lasting peace, stability, and prosperity in Afghanistan and the region.”

“We believe that close engagement between Pakistan and Afghan governments could help achieve the objectives of peace and stability in Afghanistan.”

Asked about conditions that Karzai had proposed for visiting Pakistan and the allegations that Pakistan had been sabotaging the peace process, the spokesperson said that Pakistan did not want to get into a blame game.

“Yes, there have been allegations from the Afghan side, but we exercised utmost restraint and we will continue to do that.”

Instead, the spokesperson said that Pakistan remained positive.

“On Afghanistan, we have taken a positive and constructive approach. We believe that close engagement between Pakistan and Afghan governments could help achieve the objectives of peace and stability in Afghanistan.  We will persevere with our approach.”

Relations with India

On asked about the government’s stance on the killing of Pakistanis in an Indian train blasts, he said that our region has been afflicted by the menace of terrorism, and “it is incumbent upon all countries (of the region) to cooperate in fighting terrorism.”

“Pakistan believes that instead of leveling allegations, steps should be taken to promote cooperation in counter terrorism,” he said.

He said that Pakistan hopes that the meetings under Joint Anti Terrorism Mechanism, where such issues are referred, to resume. “We hope that the resumed dialogue process will start soon to enable us to take up these issues.”

Drone strikes

On asked about the question of US drone strikes in Pakistan, the spokesperson said that Pakistan’s position on drone strikes was very clear.

“This government has laid a high priority to expressing our position to the US government and the world at large that drone strikes are counter-productive, violate our national sovereignty, violate the international law and endanger the human rights. This position is being conveyed to the US Government at all appropriate levels, and will also be taken up at the forthcoming interaction with the US side,” he said.

He added that Pakistan’s view has a solid legal basis. “We are aware that an international debate is also underway on the legitimacy and the effectiveness of the drone strikes. Pakistani leadership has made it clear that we will continue to project our perspective.”

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Reader Comments (19)

  • Safwan
    Jul 25, 2013 - 9:58PM

    Lol at the definition of the picture.


  • Mirza
    Jul 25, 2013 - 10:22PM

    What an irony we love to bring in a foreign known, confessed, terrorist sentenced for life in exchange for a Pakistani citizen! As if we do not need doctors in Pakistan but mroe convicts.


  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Jul 25, 2013 - 10:29PM

    In exchange of Afridi, Pakistan should get released all the prisoners from US, including Dr. Afia Siddiqui.

    Afraidi and his family members are very near and dear to US.

    The day Afridi will reach US, there will be big celebrations and the gathering will be addressed by the US President Barack Obama.

    Afridi will be given the highest civil award by the US government.


  • Raj - USA
    Jul 25, 2013 - 10:43PM

    Pity the nation with such priorities.


  • Khan
    Jul 25, 2013 - 11:06PM

    Please read and enlighten yourself about Dr. Aafia (so called daughter of Pakistan!)


  • Ahmed
    Jul 25, 2013 - 11:32PM

    Well done people. Keep it up, Bring her back quickly.


  • Unbeleivable
    Jul 25, 2013 - 11:43PM

    Aafia and Afridi are both embarrassments to Pakistan – not the USA. There is no logical reason why the USA would consider releasing Aafia. Further – everyone outside of Pakistan has sympathy for Afridi but keeping him in jail for the charge of terrorism is your problem/your embarrassment.


  • Char-Lottay
    Jul 25, 2013 - 11:51PM

    @Raj – USA:
    Pity ain’t good enough. Get deeper to Mir Jaffer and Siraj ud Daulah to understand how far we have fallen. Then you can understand why India was lost.


  • ZIA
    Jul 25, 2013 - 11:56PM

    What about Mumbai attacks on which India has been blaming Pakistan. What about water issues with India.Recommend

  • Ahmad
    Jul 26, 2013 - 12:16AM

    There should be no prisoner swap. Afridi should have moved the army against OBL instead of working with US army to interfere with Pakistan’s sovereignty.

    I’m afraid however Sharif will play the stunt of getting Afia back getting him heroic political mileage and getting his next carrot from the US by returning Afridi to US.


  • It Is (still) Economy Stupid
    Jul 26, 2013 - 1:14AM

    All Pakistan need now is an official Hall of Fame.


  • It Is (still) Economy Stupid
    Jul 26, 2013 - 1:28AM

    History will note contribution of non NATO ally in the war against terrorism.


  • Ghulam Mustafa
    Jul 26, 2013 - 6:09AM

    @Mirza: What type of sickness do you have, This is not a doctor he is Mir Jaffer
    She is not a terrorist she was framed


  • Raj Kafir
    Jul 26, 2013 - 8:00AM

    I have just observed both are doctors. Dr A.S. and Dr S. A………


  • Zaida P
    Jul 26, 2013 - 9:45AM

    One helped against terror and the other used terror. Is it a fair swap? What does this tell us about Pakistan? More importantly, what does this tell the rest of the world about Pakistan?


  • Kami
    Jul 26, 2013 - 10:24AM

    The US will never let Dr Aafia go, and the Pak government knows this. Still it is carrying out this whole drama publicly just to get some brownie points from Aafia supporters.Recommend

  • Raj - USA
    Jul 26, 2013 - 7:33PM

    @Zaida P:
    “One helped against terror and the other used terror. Is it a fair swap? What does this tell us about Pakistan? More importantly, what does this tell the rest of the world about Pakistan?”

    In most of Pakistan’s actions, the determining factor is how others will be affected and not how such actions will affect or benefit Pakistan. This is the reason Pakistan has become a sanctuary for terrorists from all over the world. Though terror sanctuaries affect Pakistan equally if not more than others, Pakistan does not care as long as these terrorists can cause damage to other countries.


  • Quantum
    Jul 27, 2013 - 7:35AM

    @Ghulam Mustafa:

    She is terrorist sympathizer. US will not allow this to happen.


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