Qureshi raises cricket tour cancellation with Britain

Tells counterpart abrupt decision not only caused financial loss but also deeply disappointed millions of cricket fans


Our Correspodent September 28, 2021
FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi meets British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss in London. PHOTO: TWITTER/SMQureshiPTI

ISLAMABAD:

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi formally conveyed Pakistan's concern to the British government over the recent cancellation of the English cricket team's tour to Pakistan, said a statement issued by the Foreign Office after Qureshi's meeting with British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss in London on Tuesday.

The top diplomat told his British counterpart that the England Cricket Board's (ECB) abrupt last-minute decision not only caused financial loss to Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) but also deeply disappointed millions of cricket fans.

Earlier, when the ECB pulled out of the tour, days after New Zealand withdrew from the visit citing security threat, the British government had distanced itself from the ECB's decision and clarified that the decision did not come from it.

Meanwhile, FM Qureshi also felicitated Truss on her appointment and said he looked forward to working closely with her to put concrete shape to the mutual desire of the two sides to take the bilateral relations to the next level. Both agreed to work on roadmaps in multiple spheres of mutual interests.

The foreign minister apprised the British counterpart of Pakistan’s climate vulnerabilities. He lamented that despite contributing minimally to global greenhouse gas emissions, Pakistan had been among the most affected and was deemed one of the most climate-vulnerable countries.

He said Pakistan was taking concrete steps to mitigate the climate crisis and counter the deteriorating environmental crisis through initiatives such as Prime Minister Imran Khan's ten billion tree tsunami project.

Read more: British govt distances itself from cancellation of England’s tour to Pakistan

Lauding Pakistan’s climate credentials, Secretary Truss stated that the UK looked forward to PM Imran's participation in COP-26 being hosted by the UK in Glasgow in November this year. In addition to detailed discussions on the entire gamut of bilateral relations, the two sides also discussed the regional situation.

While lauding the recent debate in the British House of Commons on the human rights situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), Qureshi apprised Truss of human rights violations being committed by the Indian occupation forces in the occupied valley.

He expressed hopes that the UK would play its due role in this regard. A dossier documenting evidence of over 3000 war crimes perpetrated by the Indian occupation forces was also shared.

Qureshi apprised his British counterpart of the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s hopes and expectations from the dispensation in Kabul. "Pakistan’s immediate concern was to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Pakistan had set up a humanitarian corridor and was extending all possible assistance to support the Afghan people," he said.

Also read: After NZ, England also call off Pakistan series

The foreign minister added that Pakistan was willing to act as a hub for humanitarian support to Afghanistan and urged the international community not to repeat past mistakes and to engage constructively with the Taliban.

During the meeting, Secretary Truss also accepted FM Qureshi's invitation to visit Pakistan in connection with the 5th review session of the Pakistan-UK Enhanced Strategic Dialogue.

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