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Govt wants to engage opposition in comprehensive discussions: Shah Mahmood Qureshi

25 March, 2019

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Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi Sunday said the government wants to engage the opposition in comprehensive discussions on issues related to national security and the implementation of National Action Plan (NAP).

Talking to media at Qasim Fort at the concluding ceremony of a three-day spring festival, he said that in his capacity as foreign minister and in consultation with Prime Minister Imran Khan, he has sent a letter to Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. He said he has also contacted Opposition Leader in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif and PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari to invite them to discussions on the national security related issues. He said the government is ready to discuss the matter in parliament also. He asked Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to send his point of view on the important issues in writing.

“You all [the opposition parties] are united in your stance regarding the plan. Are not all your parties signatories to the plan? Then let’s take the matter forward together,” he said, referring to his telephonic conversation and letters to Asif Ali Zardari and Shehbaz Sharif.

He said Bilawal was adamant and instead responded by demanding that the whole parliament be briefed on NAP. “I have no objections to that either. We are ready for that. I want to tell Bilawal through the media: Please allay your concerns in writing to me. What sort of implementation do you want? What steps should we take to combat the forces that give shelter to terrorists? Guide us, tell us. We will give importance to your input and will try to incorporate it in NAP. But mere statements do not solve problems,'” he said. The foreign minister said India is trying to defame Pakistan in the international community in order to push Pakistan from FATF grey list to the black list, adding that political parties should come forward to devise a comprehensive plan to deal with the national security related matters with consensus. “Today India is trying to move a resolution in the [UN] Security Council against Pakistan which a lot of countries have presented – I do not wish to name them – and many countries are acting as spokespersons for it. Pakistan’s united stance is in its best security interests and is in accordance with its national security requirements,” he said.

Qureshi once again called upon Bilawal Bhutto to give talks a chance. “I invite you to sit with us and give me your suggestions, verbally or in writing, and if you face trouble in coming, the National Assembly is a shared forum. Let us meet in the assembly, and if you feel like your party members are not all on the same page yet then I am ready to come. The chamber of the leader of the opposition is available. I will tell Sharif to make it available for us,” he stressed.

To a question about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s greetings on Pakistan Day, the foreign minister said India was bent on attacking Pakistan in February this year, and now it is sending greetings. However, he described it as a positive change. He also welcomed Indian PM’s statement of initiating joint efforts for overcoming poverty, terrorism and betterment of the subcontinent. He said Pakistan has no hesitation in moving forward on these issues as Prime Minister Imran Khan has already stated that India and Pakistan should engage in joint efforts on these issues. Qureshi, however, said there might be some uncertainty in mutual relationship till the holding of elections in India, adding that Pakistan must be ready for dealing with any kind of situation.

To another question, Qureshi condemned the terrorist attacks in New Zealand in which 50 Muslims were martyred by a white supremacist terrorist. He said that the incident happened due to rising Islamophobia. He lauded the support and action of prime minister of New Zealand and the people of the country after the sad incident. He said the PPP and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) have right to pursue their political strategies. He said most of the workers of both parties are not happy with the current political situation. He also quoted the statement of PPP leader Aitzaz Ahsan in which he said that his party always faced trouble whenever it made alliance with the PML-N. The foreign minister said every kind of protection was being given to the minorities in the country.

To another question, Qureshi said proper medical facilities are being given to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and the medical teams have declared his health condition satisfactory.Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi Sunday said the government wants to engage the opposition in comprehensive discussions on issues related to national security and the implementation of National Action Plan (NAP).

Talking to media at Qasim Fort at the concluding ceremony of a three-day spring festival, he said that in his capacity as foreign minister and in consultation with Prime Minister Imran Khan, he has sent a letter to Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. He said he has also contacted Opposition Leader in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif and PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari to invite them to discussions on the national security related issues. He said the government is ready to discuss the matter in parliament also. He asked Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to send his point of view on the important issues in writing.

“You all [the opposition parties] are united in your stance regarding the plan. Are not all your parties signatories to the plan? Then let’s take the matter forward together,” he said, referring to his telephonic conversation and letters to Asif Ali Zardari and Shehbaz Sharif.

He said Bilawal was adamant and instead responded by demanding that the whole parliament be briefed on NAP. “I have no objections to that either. We are ready for that. I want to tell Bilawal through the media: Please allay your concerns in writing to me. What sort of implementation do you want? What steps should we take to combat the forces that give shelter to terrorists? Guide us, tell us. We will give importance to your input and will try to incorporate it in NAP. But mere statements do not solve problems,'” he said. The foreign minister said India is trying to defame Pakistan in the international community in order to push Pakistan from FATF grey list to the black list, adding that political parties should come forward to devise a comprehensive plan to deal with the national security related matters with consensus. “Today India is trying to move a resolution in the [UN] Security Council against Pakistan which a lot of countries have presented – I do not wish to name them – and many countries are acting as spokespersons for it. Pakistan’s united stance is in its best security interests and is in accordance with its national security requirements,” he said.

Qureshi once again called upon Bilawal Bhutto to give talks a chance. “I invite you to sit with us and give me your suggestions, verbally or in writing, and if you face trouble in coming, the National Assembly is a shared forum. Let us meet in the assembly, and if you feel like your party members are not all on the same page yet then I am ready to come. The chamber of the leader of the opposition is available. I will tell Sharif to make it available for us,” he stressed.

To a question about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s greetings on Pakistan Day, the foreign minister said India was bent on attacking Pakistan in February this year, and now it is sending greetings. However, he described it as a positive change. He also welcomed Indian PM’s statement of initiating joint efforts for overcoming poverty, terrorism and betterment of the subcontinent. He said Pakistan has no hesitation in moving forward on these issues as Prime Minister Imran Khan has already stated that India and Pakistan should engage in joint efforts on these issues. Qureshi, however, said there might be some uncertainty in mutual relationship till the holding of elections in India, adding that Pakistan must be ready for dealing with any kind of situation.

To another question, Qureshi condemned the terrorist attacks in New Zealand in which 50 Muslims were martyred by a white supremacist terrorist. He said that the incident happened due to rising Islamophobia. He lauded the support and action of prime minister of New Zealand and the people of the country after the sad incident. He said the PPP and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) have right to pursue their political strategies. He said most of the workers of both parties are not happy with the current political situation. He also quoted the statement of PPP leader Aitzaz Ahsan in which he said that his party always faced trouble whenever it made alliance with the PML-N. The foreign minister said every kind of protection was being given to the minorities in the country.

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