Friday September 29, 2023

Onus on India to create conducive environment for talks: FM Bilawal

The foreign minister says India's "one-sided actions" have affected the terms between both countries

By Azaz Syed
May 05, 2023
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari addressing a press conference in Goa, India, on May 5, 2023, in this still taken from a video. — YouTube/PTVNewsLive
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari addressing a press conference in Goa, India, on May 5, 2023, in this still taken from a video. — YouTube/PTVNewsLive 

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said Friday that the onus was on India to create a conducive environment for talks between the two nuclear-armed neighbours, stressing that the people of both nations want peace. 

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in the Indian state of Goa, Bilawal said that New Delhi's decision to end the special status of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) undermined the environment for holding talks. 

This is the first time in over a decade that a Pakistani foreign minister has visited India and has garnered a lot of attention and coverage from the media in both nations. 

Bilawal said, however, that despite his rare visit to India, there was no change in the status of diplomatic relations. "India took illegal steps in August 2019 and violated the UN resolutions by its actions," said the FM.

The foreign minister retreated that Pakistan has a clear and solid stance on the Kashmir issue, adding that India's "one-sided actions" have affected the terms between both countries.

"India will have to revoke its August 5 decision," he added. Bilawal further talked about the tensions between both countries surrounding sports and said that it should be separated from politics and foreign policy.

The foreign minister, who is also the chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), said that he tried to send Pakistan's cricket blind to India but they were not issued their visas.

"Why is India afraid of Pakistan's blind cricket team?" he questioned. "I have tried to Pakistan's internal politics confined to its borders."

Bilawal also said that when Pakistan gets the chairmanship of SCO, it will also be able to organise a successful meeting.

'Weaponising terrorism'

The FM, earlier today, addressed the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) summit and warned the member states against “weaponising terrorism for diplomatic point scoring” without naming India.

Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, prior to Bilawal's speech, said the menace of terrorism continues unabated, adding that taking eyes off this menace is detrimental to the security interests of all.

“The collective security of our peoples is our joint responsibility. Terrorism continues to threaten global security. Let’s not get caught up in weaponising terrorism for diplomatic point scoring,” Bilawal said.

The foreign minister emphasised that the idea of eradicating this menace requires not only a “comprehensive approach but also a collective approach”.

He said that the root causes need to be addressed as well as the threats posed by specific groups.

“It requires that we let this challenge unite us to fight it rather than divide us to become its victim. Our success requires us to isolate this issue from geo-political partisanship,” he maintained, adding that practical, pragmatic solutions exist for us to put an end to this chapter once and for all.

“We must stop conflating non-state actors with state actors. Condemn all forms of terrorism including state-sponsored terrorism,” he stressed.

'Meeting with China, Afghanistan FMs'

Moreover, Bilawal on Twitter said that he will address a press conference tonight upon his arrival back in Pakistan. 

"Tomorrow the FMs of China and Afghanistan will be visiting Pakistan where we will engage in bilateral meetings, followed by a trilateral meeting between our three countries," the finance minister added.