War not an option for resolving issues: Qureshi

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FM says Pakistan and India will have to decide how they can end their disputes and live in peace. — APP/File
FM says Pakistan and India will have to decide how they can end their disputes and live in peace. — APP/File

MULTAN: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Friday that Pakistan and India could not afford war because both were nuclear powers and had the capacity to destroy each other.

Speaking at a ceremony here, he said war was not an option for resolving issues and both countries would have to decide how they could end their disputes and live in peace.

He said he could not blame India for the April 12 blast in Quetta without evidence. However, he criticised India for using force against the people of held Kashmir, saying that India could not suppress the voice of Kashmiris by deploying a large number of troops in the valley.

Mr Qureshi said the country was facing economic challenges. But, he added, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government was not responsible for the financial crunch the country was facing today.

He said his party was ready to hold an open discussion on economic issues of the country. It is not the PTI government which is first time approaching the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout package to stabilise the country’s economy. Many previous governments, including those of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and military rulers Pervez Musharraf and Ziaul Haq, sought financial assistance from the IMF, he added.

FM says Pakistan and India will have to decide how they can end their disputes and live in peace

He said the PTI government did not want to depress the nation by disclosing the actual financial condition of the country.

The foreign minister held the previous PML-N government responsible for the current financial ills of the country, saying that the previous government had burdened the country with heavy debts. A large chunk of the budget was spent on retiring the country’s debts, he added. He said the media should extend its support to the government for the creation of south Punjab province.

He said a number of forces at the international level wanted to destabilise Pakistan. They desired to see the country on the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) grey list and for the purpose they were hatching conspiracies against it, he said, adding that Pakistan would face a grave financial crisis if its name was included in the blacklist.

He said some forces were trying to create a law and order situation in Balochistan, adding that the nation needed to identify the elements trying to disturb the security situation in Pakistan.

He said it was a matter of concern that the militant Islamic State group was gaining ground in Afghanistan, adding that the situation in Afghanistan could affect the 2020 US presidential election.

Mr Qureshi said the print media all over the world was facing a crisis because of the rise of digital media. The media, he said, should not depend only on government advertisement for its survival. Major sources of revenues for many international media organisations came from the private sector, he added.

He said it was a matter of concern that journalists were losing their jobs. But, he added, the government had no control over it.

He said Pakistan had witnessed growth in the media for the past 15 years and during the period many private TV channels had been established in the country and thousands of jobs created.

He said the media played an important in creating awareness among the public about real issues of the country.

Visit to Japan

Mr Qureshi will pay a four-day visit to Japan from Sunday, adds APP.

During the visit, he is scheduled to hold wide-ranging talks with his Japanese counterpart and other dignitaries.

Apart from interacting with the Pakistani community and leading media houses in Japan, the foreign minister will also interact with Japanese intellectuals, academicians and business persons at the Japan Institute of International Affairs.

Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal, in a statement issued on Friday, said Pakistan and Japan enjoyed a longstanding, friendly and cooperative relationship.

Published in Dawn, April 20th, 2019