Pakistan won’t abandon peace efforts, says Qureshi

WASHINGTON: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Sunday that despite India’s reluctance, Pakistan would not close doors on its efforts to promote peace in the region.

Addressing a news conference at the Pakistan Embassy in Washington, Mr Qureshi also dispelled the impression that Pakistan was being forced to choose between China and the United States. “China has no issue with Pakistan’s efforts to maintain friendly relations with the United States as well,” he said.

The foreign minister reiterated Pakistan’s offer to open the Kartarpur corridor for allowing Sikh pilgrims to attend Baba Guru Nanak’s anniversary this year.

“India is reluctant, we will not close our doors,” said Mr Qureshi while defining his government’s policy towards the neighbouring country. “Hiding away from issues will not make them disappear. It will not improve the situation in Kashmir.”

The minister noted that India used incidents that happened in July to cancel peace talks that it agreed to in September.

Mr Qureshi confirmed that he was meeting US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo in Washington on Oct 2 and said the decision to hold these follow-up talks was taken during Mr Pompeo’s visit to Islamabad earlier this month.

US or China?

Asked if Pakistan was finding it difficult to balance its relations with both the United States and China, as the two major powers were vying for influence in the region, Mr Qureshi said: “Both relationships are very important for Pakistan. China is a very important and reliable, friend. We are working on a very, very important project, the CPEC,” he said. “And America is also very important for Pakistan, so we will engage with both. The Chinese understand Pakistan’s position and they have no issue with it.”

Pakistan-India ties

The foreign minister said he was unable to understand India’s refusal to participate in peace talks with Pakistan. “Engagement, no-engagement. Coming, not coming. We desired talks as we believe the sensible way is to meet and talk. They agreed, and then disagreed.”

The minister pointed out that India’s response to Pakistan’s peace offer was harsh and non-diplomatic. “We did not use a non-diplomatic language in our rejoinder. Our response was matured and measured. They adopted a new approach, and moved back.”

Mr Qureshi said that Sushma Swaraj’s “language and tone was unbecoming of a foreign minister”.

Asked if tensions between India and Pakistan could lead to a war between the two countries, the minister said: “Who is talking of war? Not us. We want peace, stability, employment and improving lives. You identify where is the reluctance.”

Mr Qureshi said that Pakistan’s desire for peace should not be mistaken for a sign of weakness. “We want peace. It does not mean, we cannot defend ourselves against aggression. We can but we do not have an aggressive mindset,” he said.

Saudi-UAE investments

Responding to a question about reports that Saudi Arabia had agreed to invest more than $10 billion in Pakistan, Mr Qureshi said no amounts were discussed in his visits to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

He said that since the country did not have a foreign minister for four years, Pakistan’s relations with those two important allies suffered but the new government had now launched an effort to re-engage with them.

Mr Qureshi said that since his return from those countries, he has exchanged letters with his counterparts in Saudi Arabia and the UAE and their officials would soon visit Pakistan to talk about opportunities. “What you see in the news is not correct,” he added.

US-Pakistan relations

The foreign minister said he had also seen media reports about the restoration of US security assistance to Pakistan but he would not comment on them until he heard it directly from US officials.

He said the US severed security assistance to Pakistan in the past too and the consequences of such disconnects were not good.

“Direct contacts lead to face-recognition and personal understanding, which help improve relations,” said the minister while referring to the US decision to discontinue training facilities for Pakistani defence officials.

Mr Qureshi said the misunderstanding created after the US press statement on Secretary Pompeo’s conversation with Prime Minister Imran Khan had been removed. Now, both sides were working on how to re-inject warmth in this old, traditional relationship. He said that during Mr Pompeo’s visit to Islamabad both sides had “very candid, frank and honest conversations” and both civil and military officials participated in those talks. “The US statement about those meetings was also positive, defying the prediction that it would be negative and sticks will come out.”

He disagreed with the suggestion that reference to Pakistan-based terrorist groups in a recent US-India joint statement was negative for Pakistan.

“If you believe that India will not mention terrorism, you are wrong. But this is no reason to worry,” he said.

Mr Qureshi said if India continued to increase pressure on the eastern borders, it would hurt Pakistan’s ability to focus on the western border and those interested in peace and stability in the region must note this.

US-India relationship

The foreign minister said Pakistan understood the US desire to forge a strategic relationship with India but old friends should not be ignored in the enthusiasm to make new friends.

“The US has always benefited from its relations with Pakistan — during the Cold War, the Soviet war in Afghanistan and the war against terrorism,” he said.

Asked why was the US ignoring Pakistan now, Mr Qureshi said that individuals and countries “always look for excuses to justify their failures but everyone owns up a victory. We need to understand this and move this relationship forward. Where we have convergence, we should.”

Postal stamp

The foreign minister also rejected India’s concerns about a postal stamp that showed a Kashmiri freedom fighter. “Hundreds of thousands of people are fighting in Kashmir, not all of them are terrorists,” he said.

US-Taliban talks

“We will use whatever influence we have. Our thoughts are positive. We have a clear conscience,” said Mr Qureshi when asked if Pakistan would use its influence on the Taliban to make them join the peace talks.

Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2018

~ Shop by Category ~

Mens Fashion in Pakistan  Mens Latest Fashion in Pakistan  Mens Fashion Accessories Online Shopping in Pakistan  Mens Belts Online Shopping in Pakistan  Cufflinks Online Shopping in Pakistan  Mens Perfumes Online Shopping in Pakistan  Mens Sunglasses Online Shopping in Pakistan  Mens Wallets Online Shopping in Pakistan  Mens Watches Online Shopping in Pakistan  Mens Clothing Online Shopping in Pakistan Mens Wester Clothing Online Shopping in Pakistan  Export Stock Lot & Export Leftover in Pakistan  Mens Winter Collection 2019-2020  Mens Hoodies & Jackets Online Shopping in Pakistan  Mens Jeans Online Shopping in Pakistan  Mens Pants Online Shopping in Pakistan  Mens Shirts Online Shopping in Pakistan  Mens T-shirts Online Shopping in Pakistan  Mens Pakistani Clothing Online Shopping in Pakistan  Mens Nightwear & Undergarments Online Shopping in Pakistan  Mens Bathrobe Online Shopping in Pakistan  Mens Nightwear Online Shopping in Pakistan  Mens Pajamas Online Shopping in Pakistan  Mens Undergarments Online Shopping in Pakistan
Ladies Fashion Online Shopping in Pakistan  Ladies Latest Fashion Online Shopping in Pakistan  Womens Accessories Online Shopping in Pakistan  Ladies Handbags & Purses Online Shopping in PakistanLadies Perfumes Online Shopping in Pakistan  Ladies Sunglasses Online Shopping in Pakistan  Ladies Watches Online Shopping in Pakistan  Ladies Clothing Online Shopping in Pakistan  Pakistani Dresses Online Shopping in Pakistan  Pakistani Dresses Latest Designs & New Arrival  2018 Collection Pakistani Dresses in Pakistan  2019 Collection Pakistani Dresses Designs  Abaya & Hijab Online Shopping in Pakistan  Ladies Kurti Online Shopping in Pakistan  Original Dresses Online Shopping in Pakistan  Replica Dresses Online Shopping in Pakistan  Stitched Dresses Online Shopping in Pakistan  Unstitched Dresses Online Shopping in Pakistan  Bridal Dresses Online Shopping in Pakistan  Designer Dresses Online Shopping in Pakistan  Eid Collection Pakistani Dresses 2019-2020  Engagement Dresses Online Shopping in Pakistan  Mehandi Dresses Online Shopping in Pakistan  Nikah Dresses Online Shopping in Pakistan  Party Dresses Online Shopping in Pakistan  Walima Dresses Online Shopping in Pakistan  Wedding Dresses Online Shopping in Pakistan  Chiffon Dresses Online Shopping in Pakistan  Embroidered Dresses Online Shopping in Pakistan  Lawn Dresses Online Shopping in Pakistan  Linen Dresses Online Shopping in Pakistan  Net Dresses Online Shopping in Pakistan  Satin Dresses Online Shopping in Pakistan  Silk Dresses Online Shopping in Pakistan  Velvet Dresses Online Shopping in Pakistan  Indian Dresses Online Shopping in Pakistan  Ladies Summer Collection Pakistani Dresses 2019-2020  Ladies Winter Collection Online Shopping in Pakistan  Lingerie Online Shopping in Pakistan  Lingerie New Arrival 2019-2020 Collection  Ladies Bathrobe Online Shopping in Pakistan  Bikini Online Shopping in Pakistan  Bra Online Shopping in Pakistan  Bra Panty Sets Online Shopping in Pakistan  Panty & Thongs Online Shopping in Pakistan Bra by Color  Bra by Size  Bra by Types - Types of Bra  Body Shaper Online Shopping in Pakistan  Camisole Online Shopping in Pakistan  Sexy Lingerie Online Shopping in Pakistan  Nightwear Online Shopping in Pakistan  Nighty Online Shopping in Pakistan  Bridal Nighty Sets Online Shopping in Pakistan  Body Stocking & Leg Stocking Online Shopping in Pakistan  Tights Online Shopping in Pakistan  Ladies Undergarments Online Shopping in Pakistan