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June 1, 2020

China-India conflict: CPEC safe, to be completed at any cost, says Shah Mehmood Qureshi

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June 1, 2020

MULTAN: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Sunday said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was the first government in the country’s history which made a sugar scam report public.

He said the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and all other law-enforcing departments would take action against those found guilty in the commission report. He said all the guilty would be held answerable who were involved in buying of sugarcane at low prices and selling sugar at high prices to masses.

The foreign minister criticised India for violating interfaith harmony and crushing its minorities inhumanly. Talking to the media during his visit to Saint Mary's church, he said the incumbent Indian Hindu extremist elite were determined to crush the minorities living in India. He said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government had constituted the National Commission for Minorities to promote interfaith harmony and protect their rights. All segments of minorities have been given equal representation in the commission and a Hindu religion representative has been appointed chairman of the commission, he added.

Commission Chairman Cheela Ram, Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Religious Affairs Shahenela Rath, Punjab Parliamentary Secretary for Human Rights Muhindar Pal Singh and Bishop Leoradrak Pal were also present during the visit.

The foreign minister said the Hindutva had exposed so-called Indian secularism, which was targeting and killing Muslim minority members in India. The Pakistan Supreme Court fully guided the government for constitution of the minority commission. All religions have equal space in the state of Pakistan, he added. The minorities played a key role in establishment of Pakistan and the country treated them equally.

Qureshi said Prime Minister Imran Khan had opened Kartarpur Corridor in respect of Indian Sikh community and fulfilled one of the oldest demands of the community. Pakistan gave international protocol to ex-Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh at the inauguration of Kartarpur Corridor, he added.

Qureshi said the government had appointed Cheela Ram as chairman of the minority commission and assigned him the responsibility of pointing out issues of minorities. The government would follow the commission's recommendations, he promised.

The foreign minister said a church in Pakistan still continues to operate, which had been established in 1848, compared to India where a 400 hundred-year-old Babri Masjid was demolished. He said all churches, gurdwaras and temples in Pakistan were fully protected and secure, while India had locked Srinagar Jamia Masjid. The worship places of Muslims in India were not safe. The philosophy of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has been exposed before the world, he added. The Indian constitution protects the rights of minorities, but the Modi government was violating country’s constitution, he added. The Indian Supreme Court surrendered before the vagabonds of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which was largely against the Muslim rights.

Qureshi said the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and Indian Citizen Act were cruel forms of law for crushing Muslims in India, he added.

Qureshi said Pakistan, China, Nepal and Bangladesh were concerned about Modi’s Hindutva policy. He said India’s neighbours were largely disturbed due to occupation of their territories by India. Pakistan is fighting for Kashmir while China is also fighting to get clear its territories from India, he added.

Qureshi said he had written a letter to the UN Secretary General before Eid over the Kashmir situation and informed them about massive violations of civil rights. The UN National Security Council president also wrote a letter, which elaborated rights violations in India. Massive Indian violations in Kashmir were exposed before the human rights organisation in Geneva, he added.

Qureshi said Pakistan hoped and expected of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to bring to light the "facts" in her report regarding human rights violations in India-occupied Kashmir (IOK).

"The United Nations will have to play its role in the matter of Kashmir," added the foreign minister. "We hope human rights commissioner Michelle Bachelet in her new report, which we are expecting will come out in 2020, will bring the true facts to the people," said the minister.

The foreign minister said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) had been protected fully from India and it would be completed at any cost. He said India had laid down road networks and airports in Ladakh. China had invited India for mutual talks but India cunningly betrayed, he said.

About Covid-19 pandemic, he said the government was seriously thinking to allow self-quarantine. He said the government was accelerating efforts to bring maximum Pakistanis back to the country. The country's economy was largely suffering due to coronavirus and its effects would be visible in the budget 2020-21. The first priority of the government is to announce maximum relief for masses in the next budget, he added. The government is seeking applications from workers, who became jobless due to Covid-19, he added.

Responding to a query, he said criticism was the right of the opposition and he had asked them to join the parliamentary sessions and give positive suggestions there. Responding to another query, he said there was no single person in the country who conducted nuclear blasts. Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had announced a nuclear deterrent at the residence of his uncle in Multan. All the governments and military had a role in making the country an atomic power.