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No headway on Afghan front without Pakistan: Qureshi

By Mariana Baabar
October 05, 2018

By monitoring report

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has reminded the Trump administration that any headway on the Afghan imbroglio is not possible without Pakistan.

Speaking to reporters in Washington before leaving for Pakistan, Qureshi said Pakistan had braved undue US criticism for over one year but now positive vibes were coming from there.

Talking about his talks with the US National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the spokesman said these deliberations were moving in a positive direction. “There has been a visible change in how the US conducted talks this time. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was ready to listen to what Pakistan had to stay, especially after his visit to Islamabad last month,” he said.

"This is why a second major meeting was held within a month," he said.

Meanwhile, speaking at the weekly press conference here, Foreign Office spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal said the foreign minister had categorically stated that Pakistan would not compromise on its national interest. The spokesman said there had been no change in Pakistan’s stand as far as the case of Dr Shakeel Afridi was concerned. But there’s confusion because at the same time the spokesman said Pakistan was ready to take up this issue with the US.

Talking about Pakistan’s eastern neighbour, the spokesman said Indian Sikh pilgrims will be the losers and will also be deprived of an opportunity to visit their holy shrine in Kartarpur if India refuses to engage with Pakistan and finalises the modalities of this proposal.

The spokesman said it was due to Indian reluctance to come to the negotiating table with Pakistan that this opportunity was not being availed upon. “No decision can be made on the corridor if India does not agree for talks. The opening of Kartarpur border crossing is conditional on India responding to Pakistan,” he responded to a query.

The spokesman brushed away queries that Pakistan was still pursuing India for further talks. He said Pakistan was certainly not pleading for future parleys but it was New Delhi which had sought a “meaningful and constructive” engagement as was clear from a letter that Prime Minister Modi had written to Prime Minister Imran Khan. In these circumstances, he added Pakistan was ready to try and co-exist in peace with India.

As the Modi government ‘celebrated’ its alleged surgical strikes across the Line of Control two years ago and its army chief spoke of further strikes, the spokesman sent out a warning that the Indian Army chief should refrain from such controversies and threats. To another query the spokesman said Pakistan was fully prepared to contest the case against Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav who’s presently on the death row.

The case moved by India in the International Court of Justice will go for a hearing from February 18, next year.

Geo adds: The Foreign Office Thursday said India was using chemical weapons on unarmed citizens in the Indian Held Kashmir (IHK). "Pakistan strongly condemns Indian aggression," spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal said. "We want to resolve the Kashmir issue

as per wishes of Kashmiri people."