ISLAMABAD - Pakistan on Thursday regretted that, despite the highest-level assurances, India has not shared findings of Samjhota Express terror attack probe with Pakistan.

“It is disappointing that India has not shared any findings of the Samjhota Express terrorist attack investigation with Pakistan despite assurances at the highest level,” Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam told the weekly press briefing.

She pointed out that Samjhota Express terror attack took place two years before the Mumbai attack, but no progress has been made in that case. “Accused Swami Aseemanand, who had confessed that he was involved in the attack, was released on bail,” she said.

When asked about the case of Mumbai attack’s main accused, Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the spokesperson regretted the hype created on the sub judice matter. She said the case is progressing well, but the media trial will not serve any purpose.

Answering a question about the Indian firing on Shakargarh villages, the spokesperson said Pakistan has lodged a strong protest with the Indian deputy high commissioner and also handed over a protest note containing details of the incident. She said the Pakistani soldiers were asked for a meeting from the other side with white flags and then they were ambushed. This, she said, is sheer violation of international laws and bilateral understandings. She said Pakistan has demanded India investigate the incident and give exemplary punishment to those responsible for it.

Replying to a question, the spokesperson reiterated Pakistan’s resolve against terrorism. She said, “We are working with the international community, including Afghanistan and the United States, to curb this menace. We have undertaken a comprehensive operation, and it is successfully being carried out across the board against all terrorists,” she added.

About future prospects of Pak-India relations, the spokesperson said Indian side cancelled the scheduled foreign secretary level talks and now onus lies with New Delhi to take the initiative to resume the dialogue process.

About the visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry, the spokesperson said he will visit Pakistan to head his country’s delegation in the strategic dialogue scheduled in Islamabad this month. However, she added that arrangements for the strategic dialogue, including dates of the visit, are being finalised.

About Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline project, the spokesperson categorically stated that Pakistan remained committed to the project which was important to its energy requirements. She said both the sides were bilaterally engaged to take forward the project. Answering a question about the drawdown effect of international forces from Afghanistan, the spokesperson said Pakistan had consistently supported a peaceful and responsible drawdown from the neighboring country.

She expressed the confidence that transition in Afghanistan would be completed in an orderly and successful manner. She said peace and stability in Afghanistan was vital for Pakistan and the region. Tasnim said Pakistan would continue to play a constructive and positive role after the drawdown of the international forces from Afghanistan.

Commenting on major achievements and challenges of Pakistan’s foreign policy in 2014, Tasnim Aslam said Islamabad’s relations with our Western neighbours, Afghanistan and Iran have been put on a very positive trajectory.

She asserted: “Pakistan’s cooperation with China has been strengthened. With the US, understanding has increased and with Russia new vistas are being opened for mutually beneficial cooperation. With the Muslim world our positive engagement has deepened. With the European Union, the year 2014 started with coming into force of GSP Plus and at various levels our bilateral engagement has remained steady.”  Highlighting the challenges, the spokesperson said, naturally, there have been challenges as well, adding Pakistan’s efforts would be to expand economic ties and attract more foreign investment. But these efforts have been hampered by the security concerns or rather negative perceptions about the security situation.

She hoped as operation Zarb-e-Azb moves forward successfully and the security situation improves, opportunities for Pakistan to substantially expand its trade and investment ties with other countries will increase.

INDIA VIOLATING

INTERNATIONAL LAWS, SAYS ASIF

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif on Thursday said that India should not consider Pakistan’s desire for peace as weakness.

A statement released by Ministry of Defence in Islamabad stated that the Defence Minister condemned India’s aggression during a flag meeting. Khawaja Asif said that India’s aggression on Wednesday should be considered a violation of international laws.  He said that India was consistently violating international laws.

He said that Pakistan was capable to react any Indian aggression accordingly but it was tolerating to defuse the situation.

Asif further said India should not create difficulties in Pakistan’s efforts for peace.