India has failed to isolate Pakistan: FM

Qureshi advises opposition to refrain from irresponsible statements on Kashmir


Shabbir Hussain February 02, 2021
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. PHOTO: RADIO PAKISTAN/FILE

ISLAMABAD:

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Monday Pakistan enjoyed excellent relations with all its neighbours, except India, which was ruled by an extremist government that wanted the Hindutva rule and not ready for talks.

Concluding the debate on the country’s relations with Saudi Arabia, UAE and Gulf countries on a motion of Senator Sirajul Haq of the Jamaat-e-Islami in the Senate, Qureshi advised the opposition to refrain from irresponsible statements on the Kashmir issue.

“Pakistan has excellent relations with all its neighbours and other countries, except India, he said in the policy statement in the upper house of parliament. “Pakistan is not isolated in the world. India tried to isolate Pakistan but failed,” he added. “Our relations with Saudi Arabia, Iran and Afghanistan are good.”

The foreign minister said that the government wanted normal relations with India, too. “There is no denying the fact that Kashmir is the jugular vein of Pakistan. There can be no deal on Kashmir. Our government presented the Kashmir case to the international community in no uncertain terms.”

Qureshi criticised Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari for making “irresponsible statement” on the Kashmir issue. “The statement about Kashmir deal was irresponsible and childish,” he said. He agreed that the foreign policy should be made on long-term basis.

Turning to PPP Senator Sherry Rehman, the foreign minister asked her to persuade his “under-training chairman” not to make statements that the Kashmir deal had been struck. “Explain to my child not to make irresponsible statements about Kashmir, there can be no deal on Kashmir.”

The foreign minister said that Saudi Arabia sided with Pakistan on a number of issues. He added that the repayment of the Saudi loan was “our responsibility and has not affected [bilateral] relations”, he added. “Our relationship with Saudi Arabia is strategic. Saudi Arabia knows the importance of Pakistan.”

The minister pointed out that Saudi Arabia was the home to Islam’s holiest sites in Makkah and Madina and the Muslims would lay down their lives for the sanctity of these holy places. Similarly, he added, the UAE had made it clear that its relations with India could not be at the expense of Pakistan.

The minister told the house that the Iranian foreign minister visited Pakistan six times in the recent past which was an example of good relations. He added that Pakistan’s relations with Afghanistan had also improved and the Afghan government appreciated Pakistan's role in the ongoing peace process.

“We are discussing all issues with Afghanistan, including trade and counterterrorism. We have an umbrella agreement regarding Afghanistan. The Afghan leadership has been told that instead of blaming each other, we should hold talks.”

The foreign minister said that the government knows who wants to spoil Pakistan’s relations with Afghanistan. “We know all the challenges and know how to deal with them,” the minister declared. He said a detailed discussion was also held with the US secretary of state on Afghanistan.

Talking about China, the minister said that the bilateral relations were strengthening. He said that Pakistan and China had started the second phase of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) aimed at relocation of industrial units.

The minister emphasised that the government was focused on economic diplomacy and it was engaging Africa. In the next stage, the countries of Europe will be engaged to boost mutual economic interests, he added.

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