Published On: Sun, Mar 17th, 2019
Published in Category: District News

Pakistan needs to be alert till Indian polls conclude on May 19: Qureshi

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MULTAN: Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Saturday said that despite de-escalation in Pak-India tensions, the country will need to remain alert till national elections in India conclude on May 19. Qureshi said that where we talk about the protection of Temples and gurdwaras along this the protection of mosques is also required. Qureshi said that he will leave for Beijing today (Sunday).

Speaking to the media in Multan, he said, “We [Pakistan] are thankful to the friendly countries for the role they played. However, we still have to stay alert along the Line of Control (LoC) and maintain vigilance of Pakistan’s airspace”. Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that United Nations Secretary General, UN Security Council President, Britain, Russia, United States, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and other friendly countries helped in de-escalating the tension with India and we are thankful to them.

“Tension between Pakistan and India have eased. We do not want to move ahead with war but desire peace,” he said while insisting that the release of the Indian pilot by Pakistan also sent a positive message across the world.

The foreign minister added that he was leaving for China today (Sunday) where he would discuss the current situation with the Chinese leadership, adding that negotiations will also be held with Chinese foreign minister and other leadership regarding strategic dialogues.

Commenting on Friday’s New Zealand terrorist attack in which at least 49 Muslims died, the foreign minister termed the increase in terrorism a global phenomenon.

“Some 300 Pakistanis live in New Zealand. It is a peaceful country and this kind of terrorism never happened there. We hope the officials will share details of the probe soon.”

“All the victims of the terror attack have been identified. One injured Pakistani is undergoing treatment at a local hospital in New Zealand.”

According to Qureshi, Pakistan was in contact with its high commissioner in the South Pacific nation and getting details about the fate of the Pakistanis who went missing in the attack.

“Nine Pakistanis are missing after the incident and we are in constant contact with their families too. We will try and help them in every way possible.”

He also hoped that mosques in European and other countries would be protected and remain open for Muslims to prayers in a safe environment.

Qurehsi denounced rising racism in Western countries. The foreign minister said that immigration and migration from “crisis areas” has become a huge issue for Western countries and “racist elements” are taking advantage of it.

“It

[rasicm]

is affecting their politics as well, and they are committing such acts

[yesterday’s twin shootings]

. You saw how that wretched man, who carried out the attack, had installed a camera in his helmet. What was the purpose of installing a camera? It was so that he could film his entire attack and share it live with the world,” the foreign minister told journalists. “This is their mental state.”

Qureshi insisted that the security of mosques is as important as that of other religious centres.

“Just like we talk about [providing security to] churches, mandirs, gurudwaras — like we should — the protection of mosques is also needed,” he said, pointing out that the attacks were carried out during Friday prayers, which are attended by a large number of people. The foreign minister hoped that instead of stopping people from going to mosques, the governments of Western countries will provide security to their citizens.

He said terrorism is a “global phenomenon” which is not tied to religion and lauded New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s response to the attacks, pointing out that she had termed the attacks as terrorism.

In response to questions about relations with India, Qureshi said that tensions between the neighbours have decreased. A Pakistani delegation’s visit to India for discussions over the Kartarpur Corridor project and the release of a joint statement after the meeting is a sign of de-escalation, he said. The foreign minister further said that the next Kartarpur meeting between delegations of the two countries will take place on April 2.

He said there is election environment in India, and Modi regime could resort any misadventure for which we are fully alert. However, he insisted that the country needs to keep its guard up till elections in India are over. “The election process in India will end on May 19. Until then, we cannot put anything past the Modi government,” he said, adding that the state needed to be vigilant.

He addressed the Kashmir issue as well and said that the world had finally started to take note of Indian brutalities in held Kashmir despite New Delhi’s efforts to portray the Kashmiri struggle as “terrorism”.

On occupied Kashmir, Qureshi said, “The OIC passed a clear and solid resolution on Kashmir and for the first time it mentioned India’s state terrorism. India has always tried to press the Kashmir issue and tries to label the freedom struggle appear as terrorism/. Our stance is that the struggle in occupied Kashmir is for self-determination.” He said that Kashmiri people sacrificed with their blood and raised the issue at international level.

The foreign minister, when asked about rumours that Afia Siddiqui was being released, said that “it is easy to speculate”, particularly on social media. He revealed that he had been trying to secure Siddiqui’s release and had also been visited by her sister; but, he said, every time the matter of Siddiqui’s release was brought up, the United States authorities cited American laws as a hindrance. He further advised that if Siddiqui’s sympathisers could keep a low profile of the issue, it would help the prisoner’s case. Qureshi said that he has made a lot of efforts regarding the release of Dr Aafia and may be succeeded releasing her with the blessings of Almighty Allah.


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