Pakistan will remain an Islamic state, Qureshi responds to Gen Rawat’s remarks


–FM says Indian Army chief’s statement calling for secularisation of Pakistan is ‘meaningless’ won’t change country’s ideology 


Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Saturday said Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat’s recent statement calling for secularisation of Pakistan is meaningless and that it will not change the country’s ideology.

A day earlier, the Indian army chief had said, “Pakistan has made its state an Islamic state. If they have to stay together with India, then they have to develop as a secular state.”

Speaking to reporters in Multan, the foreign minister said, “The opening of Kartarpur corridor was hailed globally with people on both sides of the border agreeing to it and India even sending two of its ministers.”

“It was our wish that India’s foreign minister and the governor of Indian Punjab also attend the groundbreaking but this was a good first step and we should take it in a positive way,” he added.

The foreign minister continued, “It is Prime Minister Imran Khan and the government’s desire that there should be peace and stability in the region. If there is peace in the region then the government can pay attention to the problems facing the country. Pakistan is facing economic and employment issues which can be solved through investment,” he said. “Investment will only come through peace,” Qureshi said.

He added Pakistan desires for peace on its eastern and western borders and better relations with its neighbours.

Responding to the Indian army chief’s statement on a secular country, the foreign minister said the remarks were meaningless and will not change their ideology. “Pakistan is an Islamic state and came into being because of an ideology. These remarks will not change it,” he asserted.

Earlier, PM Imran Khan reiterated that no issue was impossible to solve between India and Pakistan. He stressed that Pakistan wishes to maintain peace and is asking for taking a step forward from the very first day.

“After Mumbai attacks, Indo-Pak relations were dented but India has not changed its mindset till date. Only peace is the way to move forward. Two nuclear powers cannot afford war. We will take two steps if India takes one,” said Khan.

The prime minister made it evident that great gestures should not be one-sided. “India should also provide some positive response. It should not be always us,” he said.

“I am not responsible for the past. I will only be answerable for the present,” declared the premier.


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