Spying by US ‘security agency’ against international laws: Pakistan

Tasnim says Pakistan's embassy in Iraq functional, ambassador in touch with all Pakistanis

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan on Thursday said the spying by the US National Security Agency in the affairs of political parties in Pakistan is against the international laws and the issue had been taken with President Barack Obama’s administration.

In her weekly briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said that spying of a major political party of Pakistan by the National Security Agency was against the international laws and foreign affairs norms. Pakistan had taken up the issue of spying with the US authorities, she said.

Replying to a question, the spokesperson rejected Afghanistan's allegations that Pakistani troops were involved in armed clashes in Helmand province. She said Pakistan has repeatedly said that Afghan allegations were baseless. She said the Afghan authorities have never presented any evidences in this regard to Pakistan despite repeated requests.

She said Pakistan had asked the Afghan government to take matching steps to ensure that terrorist should not escape during the military operation being launched in North Waziristan. "Afghanistan's territory should not be used by terrorist to launch activities inside Pakistan and the Afghan government has been asked to take adequate steps in this regard,” she added.

Regarding the issue of Pakistani prisoners in India, she said that there has been dispute in the number of these prisoners. According to Pakistan's estimate, there are 500 Pakistani prisoners in Indian jails. Under the bilateral agreement, Pakistan and India exchange list of prisoners in each other country on July 1 and January 1. Tasnim said that Pakistan handed over the list of Indian prisoners to Indian authorities while Pakistan received list of its prisoners in Indian jails from Indian authorities.

About membership to Nuclear Supply Group, the spokesperson said even handed and non-discriminatory approach should be adopted in this regard. Highlighting Pakistan's successful track record of adopting nuclear safety for its nuclear assets and civil nuclear energy production units, she said Pakistan deserves membership of the group. She said although Pakistan was not signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but it was reality that Pakistan and India were nuclear states, therefore, there should not be double standard and dual policy regarding membership to the group.

Expressing concern on the recent situation in Iraq, the spokesperson said that Pakistan wants peaceful resolution of the issue. She also said Pakistan's embassy in Iraq was functional and the ambassador was in touch with all Pakistanis living in Iraq. She said that Pakistani mission had informed the Pakistanis about the situation before hand and the Pakistani living in Iraq were shifted to safer place.

Regarding the issue of asylum seekers in Australia, the spokesperson clarified that these asylum seekers, including from Pakistan, have been offered cash so that they could be repatriated to their home countries under a standard policy adopted. About the situation of asylum seekers in Sri Lanka, the spokesperson said that Pakistan mission was in touch with these asylum seekers and with the Sri Lankan government.

On the issue of the internally displaced persons from North Waziristan, the spokesperson said there has been no report of any mishap with any women of displaced family. She said these people have been displaced temporarily and will be resettled as early as possible.

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