Qureshi welcomes Trump’s remarks on Pak-US ties

Updated February 26, 2020

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Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, right, briefs about the upcoming visit of Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince to Pakistan, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019. Pakistan said Wednesday that Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will arrive in Islamabad later this week on an official visit that is expected to include the signing of agreements for billions of dollars of investment in the South Asian country. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, right, briefs about the upcoming visit of Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince to Pakistan, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019. Pakistan said Wednesday that Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will arrive in Islamabad later this week on an official visit that is expected to include the signing of agreements for billions of dollars of investment in the South Asian country. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)

ISLAMABAD: Describing US President Donald Trump’s remarks on Pakistan-US relationship during his visit to India as ‘extraordinary’, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Tuesday urged India to review its behaviour and policy.

In a statement, he said the importance of President Trump’s statement at an Ahmedabad rally — in which he said the US had a “very good relationship” with Pakistan — could not be denied.

“Our relationship with Pakistan is a very good one. Thanks to these efforts, we are beginning to see signs of big progress with Pakistan and we are hopeful for reduced tensions, greater stability and the future of harmony for all of the nations of South Asia,” Mr Trump said on the first day of his 36-hour visit to India that was meant to reaffirm US-India ties.

“Trump wants peace and stability in the region and has asked India to play a positive role in the area and extend a hand for promoting peace and stability in the region,” the foreign minister said and observed that this would only be possible when the lingering Kashmir dispute was resolved.

Says India has further complicated difficult issue of occupied Kashmir

“The current Indian government has further complicated an already intricate problem. He said India’s unilateral actions of August 5 have affected identity of Kashmir and divided it into parts,” he said.

“Kashmir has been under lockdown for 206 days. How can the talks progress in these conditions?” he asked.

“Pakistan’s stance on the disturbance caused by the Citizenship Amendment Act in India stands vindicated by all what is happening in New Delhi,” he remarked.

Mr Qureshi said President Trump “made it clear that Pakistan is a partner of peace in the war against terrorism”. He added that the progress Pakistan had made to defeat terrorism was exemplary.

Pakistan’s role in the Afghan peace process was there for the world to see [...] and Pakistan’s role in the region was being commended, the foreign minister said.

“Pakistan which India tried to portray as a ‘problem’ is now being viewed by the world as a ‘solution’,” he added. He expressed the hope that the US president during his stay in India would take up the issue of Kashmir with the Indian leadership. He said Mr Trump understood that two nuclear-armed forces were face to face, and any worsening of the situation could affect global peace.

He said experts at the Munich security conference had presented analysis on the impact of a possible conflict between the two countries on the world. “These are not the things to be overlooked,” he observed and said India needed to rethink its policy and behaviour.

Meanwhile, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan called “Trump’s expression of friendship with Pakistan while standing in India a big development”.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Ms Awan said that Mr Trump’s acknowledgement of Pakistan’s positive role in the fight against terrorism had “buried the Indian stance”. ‘‘Trump’s statement is solid proof of our efforts for the establishment of peace,” she added.

In another tweet, Ms Awan added that “the world’s acknowledgement of Pakistan’s efforts for regional and international peace is a manifestation of our successful foreign policy” and expressed the hope that President Trump would talk about the Kashmir issue.

Published in Dawn, February 26th, 2020