War with India is not an option: FM
In an interview, Qureshi says there is no military solution to conflict, dialogue only solution, rejects the suggestion that previous Pakistani governments had aided the Taliban
ISLAMABAD: War with India is not an option, says Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.
In an interview to a foreign television, he said the new Pakistan government had inherited strained relations with two key countries — India and the United States — and was working to improve ties with both. Qureshi, who is currently in the United States, said that seeking a constructive dialogue with India was a key component of the new government’s policies.
“What we did, we thought made sense. Two neighbours with outstanding issues, atomic powers. How do you ix things? War is no option. There is no military solution: the only solution is a dialogue.”
He rejected the suggestion that previous Pakistani governments had aided the Taliban. “They were helping their own country (and were trying to) overcome a situation which was not of their own making,” he said. Qureshi referred to America’s links with Afghan freedom ighters during the 1980s, when Washington backed a Mujahideen insurgency against the Soviet occupation forces.
“Who were these people? Who supported them? Who trained them? We forget history and at times we overlook that friends change,” he complained.
“People that you supported, some of the people, were called extremists. Weren’t they invited to the US? Weren’t they entertained in the White House? So, friends change. Circumstances change. We were just defending and protecting ourselves,” he said.
Qureshi said Pakistan wanted friendly relations with the US, while exercising its option to cultivate relations with China and others.
“We want the US to be friends with Pakistan. We recognise that the US is an important global power, and they will continue to be a military, technological and economic power in the foreseeable future,” he said. “They are looking at different options; they are looking at new friends in the region. We do have friends who have been consistent and very valuable. China is one of them.”
Qureshi said that some other nations also recognised Pakistan’s strategic location and understood its importance, “so, we are not alone, everyone has options.”
Qureshi at a meeting with UN Secretary General António Guterres in New York has urged him to play his role in resolving the lingering Kashmir issue according to the wishes of Kashmiri people under the UN resolutions.
The foreign minister expressed grave concern over the sufferings of the Kashmiri people at the hands of Indian forces in Occupied Kashmir.
Qureshi also discussed with Guterres the irst-ever report on Kashmir by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and called for an international probe into the violations of human rights in the held territory.
Guterres calling Pakistan a privileged partner of the United Nations, appreciated its lead role as top troop contributor in peacekeeping missions across the world.
Qureshi met Foreign Minister of the UAE Sheikh Abdullah Bin Ziyad Al Nahyan on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly. Both sides agreed to hold the Joint Ministerial Commission meeting in near future.
Qureshi raised with his counterpart the need to provide more opportunities to Pakistanis in the UAE economy and to beneit from skilled and professional human resource.
He highlighted the investment and economic opportunities in Pakistan and invited UAE corporate sector to beneit from them.
The foreign minister also raised the issue of Pakistanis who have been sentenced on petty offenses for their remission and repatriation to Pakistan.
Pakistani fishermen, who were released by the Indian government, are greeted by their family members as they arrive in the port city of Karachi on Saturday. The Indian government has released 14 Pakistani fishermen held for violating its territorial waters as a goodwill gesture.