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April 20, 2019

Pakistan, India can’t stay aloof as neighbours: FM

Top Story

April 20, 2019

MULTAN: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Friday said Pakistan and India could not stay aloof as neighbours and reiterated the need for mutual dialogue to resolve issues between the two countries.

"India is geographically linked with Pakistan through common border, weather conditions, culture, language and rivers," the FM said while addressing the oath-taking ceremony of the newly-elected body of the Electronic News Cameramen Association (ENCA) at the Multan Press Club. He said India and Pakistan could coexist peacefully as good neighbours and move forward to resolve all their issues including Kashmir, Siachin, Sir Creek, water, trade and terrorism.

He said war always brings destruction and cannot be considered as an option, particularly when both countries are nuclear forces. He recalled that Great Britain and Germany inflicted destruction on each other in the World War-II. “But today we see them connected and united under the European Union umbrella with their economic interests as the main point of convergence.” He said Kashmir is burning and India is trying to suppress the voice ofKashmiris through its 700,000 soldiers and black laws. He said the voice of Kashmiris could not be suppressed in the modern electronic and Internet era.

Qureshi said even Kashmiri leaders, who have been forming governments in the Indian-held Kashmir including Mehbooba Mufti, Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, have advocated dialogue between the two countries and spoke against repeal of Article 370 and 35-He said Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj has admitted that the strike at Balakot did not kill anybody in Pakistan. The statement proved Pakistan’s stance and exposed Indian lies before the world.

He condemned terrorism incidents in Balochistan and added that he would not level any allegations without investigations. That is the difference between responsible and irresponsible behaviours, he said and added the Indian media created war hype after the Pulwama attack in an irresponsible manner while the Pakistani media responded maturely. He said that peace is top priority of Pakistan and dialogue is the way forward to achieve it.

About the recent federal cabinet reshuffle, he said it is a prerogative of Prime Minister Imran Khan to choose his team, adding that it happens in democracies. He said the economic challenge the PTI government had to face after takeover was the severest in the last over seven decades. He said he would not like to comment on the gravity or depth of the economic trouble, adding that everybody knew what happened during the last 10 years. The PTI government took steps to stabilize economy and Pakistan’s macroeconomic indicators are now showing continuity. He said it would be the sixteenth IMF package that Pakistan would avail, only the first by the PTI government.

He said governments approach the IMF upon facing balance of payment problem for economic stability. The PML-N government left an economic black hole of $19 billion, adding that huge loans made debt servicing as the biggest item of the national budgets. He said it was high time politicians started telling truth to people. The government is facing challenges on internal and external fronts and there are forces out there, which want Pakistan to remain impoverished, and push Pakistan from grey to FATF black list.

The governments come and go but all they did was lip service with no analysis on impact of the FATF on Pakistan’s economy. He said the foreign ministry is employing economic diplomacy in aid of finance ministry to promote investment and bilateral trade in the country’s interests.

He said Kabul talks have entered a sensitive phase and a session is scheduled for Friday in Doha. The nation needs to develop consensus on a lot of issues and challenges confronting Pakistan.

About the media crisis, he said the media in Pakistan mostly relies on government advertisements contrary to the rest of world where private sector is the major player. He said the media plays an important role in strengthening democracies.

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