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PM, Foreign Office split on Kashmir

Shireen Mazari says if FO had carried forward PM's narrative, situation would have been vastly different today

By News Desk
August 16, 2020

PM, Foreign Office split on Kashmir

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr. Shireen Mazari’s strong rebuke to the Foreign Office on Saturday that it had let Kashmiris and Prime Minister Imran Khan down in their struggle for the Kashmir cause, conveyed a strong impression at home and abroad that the prime minister and Foreign Office were pursuing their independent policies on the core issue of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

Addressing a function here, Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr. Shireen Mazari said it was through the prime minister's "single-handed efforts" that the narrative surrounding Kashmir had changed the global perception over the issue. "If the Foreign Office had carried forward the prime minister's narrative, the situation would have been vastly different today," she said.

Mazari said had the Foreign Office taken action, the world would certainly have listened to Pakistan on the issue. "But our diplomats chose leisurely hotel stays, dressing in three-piece suits and heavily starched clothes and speaking over the telephone," she added.

The human rights minister questioned how a country like Burkina Faso "has more diplomatic clout" than Pakistan, as it managed to get a resolution passed by the United Nations Human Rights Council against police brutality in the United States in the wake of protests against George Flyod's murder. “We have to move away from traditional diplomacy and for that we need to adopt modern methods, Mazari said. "The Kashmiri struggle is a just struggle. The Indian occupation forces are using the debasement of women as a political tool," said the minister. “Our response in the matter needs a major revamp if our voice against such atrocities is to go to the far reaches of the world,” she said.

Meantime, addressing a press conference at the Pakistan Railways (PR) Headquarters in Lahore, Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said Saudi Arabia was a true friend of Pakistan and misunderstandings between the two friends had been removed. He said the COAS was going to Saudi Arabia on Sunday, which would help bring more improvement in the bilateral ties.

To a question about diplomatic relations between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, Sheikh Rashid said the statement of the Foreign Office should be enough for the media.

He said Pakistan was on road to success and progress under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan. He said the Main Line-1 (ML-1) project would prove to be a game-changer for the country, adding that a high-profile personality from China was expected to lay the foundation stone of the project soon. “The credit for ML-1 project goes to Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa who kept the project a top priority during their visits to China,” he added.

He said coronavirus cases had significantly reduced due to visionary steps taken by the prime minister, whereas approximately 1,000 people were dying of COVID-19 daily in India.

Addressing media at another ceremony, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed once again dismissed rumours about the removal of Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar saying the provincial chief was not going anywhere. In the latest of controversies, Buzdar is accused of using his influence to award a liquor license to a private hotel in Lahore. He reiterated that the Punjab chief minister had the support of Prime Minister Imran Khan, media reports say. “For now, details have been sought from Usman Buzdar. There is no allegation against him,” said the federal minister. Usman Buzdar has been directed by the National Accountability Bureau to submit his response by August 18 in the liquor license case.

Talking about PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz, he said the "group of stone-pelters was called from all across Pakistan". He claimed Maryam also wants Shahbaz Sharif to be declared ineligible for contesting elections like her father.

Slamming JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman, Sheikh Rashid said he was in pursuit of an NRO. "The opposition is not capable of launching any organised movement and Imran Khan will complete his five years," he claimed.