ISLAMABAD: Former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday said that he had refused the foreign ministry because he feared the government would force him to forge documents that would prove Raymond Davis is a diplomat.
In his first speech in the National Assembly after losing the foreign ministry, Qureshi said that some top government officials have ‘grossly mishandled’ the Davis case. Last week he told media in Islamabad that Davis was not entitled to ‘blanket’ immunity.
He also ridiculed critics in the media who, he said, once blamed him for being ‘too lenient’ to the Americans during negotiations on the Kerry-Lugar bill when the Pakistani military objected to it and now accused him of being anti-US.
“These are double standards…I fail to understand what they are up to,” he added.
Qureshi also regretted that his colleagues in the PPP were involved in his ‘character assassination’. But he vowed to remain loyal to the PPP despite being left out from the reconstituted cabinet. “I know many secrets and will reveal them if [I am] forced to [do so],” he said.
Qureshi rejected media reports that he was having secret talks with some leaders of the PML-N, thought to be close to the country’s powerful security establishment.
Qureshi said he met Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and PML-N leader Chaudhry Nisar but the meeting was neither political nor secretive.
Another highlight of the day in the house was ANP member Bushra Gohar’s speech wherein she criticised the extension in the tenures of Army Chief General Kayani, ISI Chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha and some top judges.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 23rd, 2011.
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