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October 20, 2019

PM to open Kartarpur Corridor on Nov 9: Qureshi

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October 20, 2019

MULTAN: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has announced that Prime Minister Imran Khan will inaugurate the Kartarpur Corridor on Nov 9 and the government has completed all necessary measures to facilitate the Sikh pilgrims.

Responding to the media queries here on Saturday, he said the opening ceremony would be held in accordance with the schedule come what may, and there is a clear message for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi: “Stop us if you can.” He said Pakistan had invited former Indian premier Manmohan Singh to participate in the inaugural ceremony of the Corridor. He has responded positively by expressing his interest to participate in the ceremony as a common Indian citizen. He said the government would welcome Manmohan Singh in any position if he visits Pakistan. He said India tried its best to postpone the Kartarpur Corridor inauguration, but it failed to do so due to severe public pressure.

The foreign minister ruled out the possibility of imposition of a martial law, saying the future of democracy is bright in the country. He strongly condemned the bomb explosions in Afghanistan, which claimed lives of 62 innocent people. He parried questions about the expected arrest of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman. “It is an internal matter, and I can comment on external affairs in a better way,” he told a questioner. He said the Financial Action Task Force had allowed relaxation to Pakistan until February 2020 and Pakistan would achieve targets easily by then. The FATF extended the monitoring deadline due to positive performance of Pakistan regarding elimination of terrorism and money laundering, he claimed. He greeted the nation for knocking down India on the issue of FATF, as India had tried its level best to put Pakistan in the black list. However, Pakistan foiled Indian conspiracies, he said. Delhi has been under pressure after the rejection of its narrative by the international media. India made trips to many countries to justify its illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir, but failed in getting the desired results. The foreign minister said Prime Minister Imran Khan wanted normalisation of situation in the region. He met Iranian president and its supreme leader during his visit to Tehran. Later, he visited Saudi Arab and met King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman. The good news is that Saudi Arab has agreed and backed Pakistan's diplomatic efforts for mediation between Iran and Saudi Arab.

Qureshi said people are politically conscious and they would not allow any anarchy in the country. The people of Pakistan understand how to avoid political instability to ward off economic instability. About the by-elections in PS-11 Larkana, he said the election results would prove to be the first steps for change in Sindh. The Sindh government has been under the rule of PPP, but the victory of Moazam Abbasi is a clear indication of the change. Voters in interior Sindh have become well politically aware. He said he had already predicted that the PPP would be the loser in the by-election.

About the current political situation in the country, he said the government would deal with the participants in 'Azadi March' and sit-in according to the democratic spirit and constitution. However, he said political process always has space for dialogue. The government has constituted a committee, and all the stakeholders should take it positively. He asked the JUI-F not to do anything which could be harmful to the narrative of Pakistan. He said the opposition and Maulana Fazlur Rehman wanted to express their narrative and there would be no restrictions on freedom of expression in the country. The constitution however does not allow any militant force or stick bearers in the country. The foreign minister requested the participants of the 'Azadi March' to avoid taking such steps that can strengthen the narrative of the enemies of Pakistan. He said the government has announced observing black day on October 27 being the anniversary of the Indian occupation of Kashmir. Qureshi said Delhi is attempting to entangle Pakistan in its domestic affairs and the 'Azadi March' would divert the public attention from Kashmir. Delhi has been under pressure at this time. He said the political parties of the country are patriotic and they understand the situation in a better way.

Qureshi said the exports have registered a considerable increase of 5.9pc and the imports have dropped to 9pc. The indicators have showed that economy is improving, and the Pak rupee has stabilised against the dollar. The indicators are showing a rise in investment, opening windows of employment. He said the British royal couple left Pakistan as its ambassadors. Pakistan had given them honour and respect and their trip would bring the UK and Pakistan more closer.

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