World now recognises Pakistan as part of the solution, says FM Qureshi on US-Taliban talks

Published February 26, 2020
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi speaking at a press briefing in Islamabad. — DawnNewsTV
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi speaking at a press briefing in Islamabad. — DawnNewsTV

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Wednesday said that when it comes to Afghanistan, Pakistan is now being perceived by the world as part of the solution and not a part of the problem, adding that the invitation to Doha on Feb 29 to witness the signing of the deal between the US and Taliban was proof of the same.

Speaking at a press briefing alongside Foreign Secretary Sohail Mehmood in Islamabad, the foreign minister stated: "In August 2017, the US' statement on South Asia laid the entire blame for Afghanistan on Pakistan's shoulders, and we were being looked at as though we are part of the problem.

"Today, you are being perceived in a new light, you are now part of the solution. Today, you are being invited to Doha on Feb 29 to witness, because they recognise the role that you played as facilitators," he said, adding that this was due to continuous efforts.

Qatar has invited Pakistan to the signing of the US-Taliban peace deal set to take place on February 29.

During a meeting on Tuesday, Qatar's ambassador to Pakistan Saqr bin Mubarak Al-Mansouri, on behalf of the Qatari government, had extended an invitation to Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

Commenting on the change in the relations between US and Pakistan, the foreign minister said: "In the past, there have been ups and downs. When we came into power, relations were next to non-existent. But, in the past six months, you have had three summit-level engagements," he said.

"I have had two bilateral meetings with US State Secretary Mike Pompeo. You need to recognise this change. Obviously, I cannot predict the events that will happen in the future and what measures we will take. But, we will try to improve our relations, despite knowing they have a relationship with India.

"Improving and managing Pakistan's relations with the US is not easy. But we will continue to work in this regard," he added.

Giving his views on US President Donald Trump's recent two-day visit to India, Qureshi stated that the Indian media tried their best to sway the president on his stance on Pakistan but he did not falter.

"He didn't get sucked into that. He said that you have to recognise the steps and initiatives taken to combat terrorism in Pakistan. He spoke in our favour, and their questions backfired.

"On one hand, he [Trump] goes to India on an official visit. Then he starts praising Pakistan. He mentions Pakistan at a rally, and then again speaks in our favour at a press conference. The trade deal which he had gone to India to secure, doesn't happen.

"Look at India's state. On one hand, they are hosting Trump, and on the other there is violence in New Delhi. They are hiding from international media, and trying to block the scenes [of the protests] through screens. Just imagine what kind of a state they are in," the foreign minister said.

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