Instead of becoming a part of any block, Pakistan chooses to be a partner in peace: FM

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi Saturday said that rather than becoming a part of any bloc or any conflict, Pakistan had consciously chosen to be only a partner for peace and development.

“We are positioning Pakistan as an economic hub, a melting pot for positive global interests. Centered on economic security, our focus remains on enhancing connectivity, development partnerships, and peace within our borders and beyond,” the foreign minister was delivering his keynote speech at the second edition of Islamabad Security Dialogue.

The foreign minister said Pakistan was a responsible country striving for peace, prosperity and connectivity in the region. In principle, Pakistan was also ready to consider East-West connectivity to help address challenges of poverty and underdevelopment in South Asia.

“For that, we obviously need a willing partner that demonstrates good faith, and is committed to creating an enabling environment for meaningful engagement. Unfortunately, we face a toxic mix in India: an extremist ideological regime, which thrives on anti-Muslim hate and hostility with Pakistan, and will do anything to retain its predominantly Hindu electoral support base,” he added.

Qureshi said the recent firing of a supersonic missile by India into Pakistan’s territory reflected India’s disregard for aviation safety as well as regional peace and stability.

“This incident is consistent with India’s irresponsible conduct. It must be addressed by the international community, including the UN Security Council. Despite provocations, Pakistan continues to act with maximum restraint and responsibility,” he added.

The foreign minister said it was evident that durable peace, security and development in the region hinged on a peaceful and just resolution of the long-standing Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

India’s illegal and unilateral actions of 5 August 2019 in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), accompanied by unabated repression of Kashmiris, had seriously undermined the prospects of peace, he added.

The foreign minister reiterated that India must halt violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms in IIOJK; reverse its unilateral and illegal actions including the demographic changes in the occupied territory; and implement the UN Security Council resolutions which guarantee the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination through a free and impartial plebiscite under UN auspices.

“India must also rethink its policy of fomenting destabilization in Pakistan and embrace a progressive agenda that can benefit the entire region. The onus remains on India to create an enabling environment,” he added.