MULTAN: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi says confusion exists within the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) over various issues, including tendering resignations from the assemblies.
“If they are really determined to resign, they should do it at the PDM meeting which is going to be held on Dec 8. Nobody will stop them from doing so,” he challenged the 11-party opposition alliance at a press conference on Sunday.
“The PDM is not a natural alliance. It lacks ideological harmony as each component has a different agenda,” he said.
He said that the PDM leadership had been invited to discuss corona-related situation and devise a policy in this regard with consensus but they didn’t turn up.
“Similarly they were invited twice ahead of recently-held Gilgit-Baltistan election to let us know their reservations but they again did not come,” he said.
Criticises decision to arrest opposition workers before Multan rally
He said that the second wave of coronavirus was more severe than the first but people were spending their lives according to their normal routine.
He alleged that the Sindh government had adopted double standards in following the coronavirus SOPs as during the first wave Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah was pressing for lockdown but now he had forgotten everything.
Mr Qureshi said the decision to arrest opposition workers and erect barricades during the Nov 30 PDM public gathering in Multan was an incorrect move politically and whosoever did it got it absolutely wrong.
He said the number of participants (in the public gathering) was not a secret now. “The PDM should have been allowed to hold the show at Qila Kohna Qasim Bagh as this would have exposed the alliance’s failure to draw in a reasonable crowd. I expressed the same point of view in the cabinet meeting that neither the public gathering should be stopped nor containers should be placed around the venue,” he said.
Answering a question, Mr Qureshi said Imran Khan did not emerge (on national political scene) overnight. “He is a political reality now and came to power after getting public mandate. In 2013 elections, he succeeded from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where his party ruled successfully because of which the PTI got more votes in 2018 general elections. It was impossible to think that someone could compete PML-N in Punjab but the PTI had formed its government in Punjab as well.”
The minister said the Indian government was being criticised within India as well because of its Kashmir policy.
“The opinion of Indians is divided and a majority of them have rejected the government decision to change the constitutional status of Kashmir. As many as 57 countries of the Organisation of Islamic Counties criticised the Kashmir policy and condemned the construction of a temple in place of Babri Mosque,” he said.
He said that a dossier on Indian terror campaign had been handed over to the United Nations but India had failed to reply to it.
“We have exposed India before the world,” he said.
Mr Qureshi said Pakistan wanted restoration of peace in Afghanistan and progress in this regard was also being witnessed.
“Not only the world but Afghanistan itself is appreciating Pakistan’s role in this regard. Afghanistan thanked Pakistan before 57 countries (in OIC meeting). To protect Pakistan’s border, fencing on Pak-Afghan border is underway while it has been decided that fences will also be installed on Pak-Iran border as well. The targets of fencing work will be achieved within a year,” he said.
He said that the thinking of US President-elect Joe Biden seems different from the approach of Trump administration. “I think the new US administration will focus on diplomacy,” he said.
He said that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif should return to Pakistan as he was in good health now.
Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2020