Reacting strongly to Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s verbal attack on Pakistan, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Saturday said that the neighbouring country rejected the Pakistani offer of resuming peace talks on ‘flimsy grounds’.
Addressing the 73rd United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session in New York, Qureshi also blamed India for exporting terrorism to Pakistan and other countries in the region. “Kulbhushan Jadhav is an example of India exporting terrorism to its neighbouring countries,” he added.
Earlier today, India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had slammed Pakistan, accusing it of harbouring terrorists and “masking malevolence with duplicity” during her speech at the UNGA.
Qureshi, however, maintained that Pakistan wanted ties with India based on mutual respect. “We are ready to talk to India on all issues but with respect,” he added.
The foreign minister said the Kashmir issue is the biggest obstacle to regional peace, adding that the Indian forces subjecting Kashmiris to atrocities for seven decades. “India should not test Pakistan’s patience … we will respond to Indian aggression,” he stated.
The latest UN report on the occupied Kashmir has exposed Indian atrocities on innocent civilians, Qureshi added.
The Pakistani foreign minister said that he was representing a progressive nation. “Under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, we have begun to shape up a new Pakistan,” he added.
He said the world was changing and dark clouds of trade-war were looming large over the world. “The world is witnessing seismic shifts in the geo-political landscape.”
The blasphemous caricature contest episode has further created more cracks in the friendly relations among different religions, said the foreign minister, adding that sentiments of Muslims around the world were hurt over the incident.
Qureshi said the meeting between the Pakistani and Indian foreign ministers would’ve been a great opportunity for dialogue. “But, the Modi government chose politics over dialogue,” he regretted.
“The Kashmir issue has been in the UNGA since the last 70 years. And there can be no peace in South Asia unless this issue is resolved. We welcome the UN report on Kashmir which has unveiled the ugly face of Indian state terrorism,” said the Pakistani diplomat.
Qureshi said that India would have to bear the brunt of Pakistan’s retaliation if it makes the mistake of any misadventure on the Line of Control (LoC).
Commenting of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the foreign minister said the multi-billion dollar project will play a key role in highlighting Pakistan’s geo-political place in the world.
Earlier, Qureshi, in a tweet, said he will present Pakistan’s vision and direction to the world in tonight’s speech.
Qureshi is leading Pakistan’s delegation to the UNGA summit.
Qureshi’s Indian counterpart Swaraj, in her speech earlier today, had strongly rebuked Pakistan’s accusation that India was sabotaging the dialogue process. She said talks cannot be pursued in the midst of “terrorist bloodshed” with a nation that “glorifies killers” and refuses to see the “blood of innocents”.
The Indian diplomat said despite the olive branch for talks extended by Pakistan many times, the process had to be stopped only because of the ‘behaviour’ of the neighbouring country.
The fiery speech comes a day after her Pakistani counterpart Qureshi expressed disappointment on India’s rejection of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s offer of resuming peace talks following the diplomatic snub at the informal meeting of SAARC foreign ministers in New York.
Earlier on Friday, Qureshi said the United States should not lose time-tested ‘old friends’ despite changing its priorities and making new strategic partners in South Asia.
Addressing a discussion held by the Asia Society, the foreign minister said that the US and Pakistan needed each other.
He will meet also with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on October 2.