Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Tuesday stressed upon Pakistan’s desire to improve its bilateral relations with the US while speaking on the floor of the Upper House.
The foreign minister said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to visit Pakistan on September 5 and national opinion will be given weightage when taking relations forward with Washington, reported Radio Pakistan.
Referring to an earlier conversation between Prime Minister Imran Khan and Pompeo, the country’s top diplomat reiterated that the US handout after the telephonic contact was contrary to facts.
Speaking on the floor of the Senate after Pakistan Peoples Party’s leader Raza Rabbani sought a reply on the conversation, the foreign minister said the conservation between the PM Imran and Pompeo was cordial and constructive in nature and added that the press release issued by Pakistan on the conservation is based on facts.
Elaborating further, the foreign minister maintained that national security and foreign policies are interlinked and given the challenges faced by the country, the Parliament’s guidance will be taken when formulating the country’s foreign policy.
‘Not yet decided to take bailout package’
Finance Minister Asad Umar said Pakistan has not yet decided to take a bailout package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and added that consultations on the economic situation are ongoing and the final decision will be taken after taking the Parliament on board.
Referring to the National Finance Commission (NFC) award, Umar said it is a constitutional obligation and on the first day in office, he directed the finance secretary to initiate the process for a new NFC award. He further said it will be his utmost endeavour to announce the new NFC Award at the earliest.
‘Policy of appeasement’
Meanwhile, Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari categorically stated that the new government will strongly and firmly take up the water issue with India. She informed the Senate that India has not withdrawn from Indus Water Treaty and it is liable to the provisions of the treaty.
Mazari regretted that previous governments had resorted to the policy of appeasement and did not take up the issue of water distribution effectively with India. She also pointed out that India has constructed dams in violation of the Indus Water Treaty and added that Pakistan has taken up the matter with the World Bank, but it refrained from playing the role of arbitrator.
Advisor on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan told the Upper House that Pakistan is continuously trying to engage Afghan government into dialogue for a possible water treaty. He said that the Afghan side is so far unresponsive to the initiative.
Awan also said the construction of new hydropower projects in Afghanistan will certainly have some impact on the water inflows in the country and informed the Senate that an Afghanistan cell has been established in the office of Pakistan Commissioner for Indus Waters which collects data through different sources and monitors inflows on the common rivers with Afghanistan.
On a point of order, senior PPP leader Sherry Rehman appreciated the presence of Prime Minister Imran Khan in Monday’s proceedings of the House. She said the promise made by the government to ensure good governance is also welcomed. However, she said the government should fulfil the promises that it made with the people during the recently held elections.