–Adds govt conceded PAC chairmanship to Shehbaz to ‘end deadlock in NA’
–Qureshi claims govt doesn’t want aid, but regional peace
MULTAN: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Sunday that Pakistan has been able to “reset” relationship with the United States in light of its involvement in the US-Afghan settlement process.
The US wants a strategic, rather than a transactional relationship with Pakistan, Qureshi claimed. He said that Pakistan is desirous of peace in the region which cannot be possible through war, but with dialogue.
Talking to media in Multan, he asserted that Pakistan has pursued a regional outlook by reaching out to different stakeholders and advocating its resolve for a stable and peaceful region.
Answering a question pertaining to potential US aid, Qureshi said: “We are a nation, not beggars. The outcome of bilateral relations should not merely be dependent upon how much money [you get out of it]. We will approach [other countries] with our vision. We don’t need aid, but we want regional peace. Our regional outreach is an example of that.”
His statement came a day after the US and the Taliban agreed to a draft deal in Doha to end the 17-year war. According to details provided by Taliban sources, the draft includes apparent concessions from both sides, with foreign forces to be withdrawn from the country in 18 months from the future signing of the deal.
When asked about “internal conflicts” in the federal cabinet upon Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif’s appointment as chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Qureshi said: “We could’ve maintained a deadlock [in the assembly]. We made a difficult decision for democracy so that the operations of the National Assembly are not paralyzed.”
“Why did we do that? We requested the opposition to nominate someone who is not indicted in any National Accountability Bureau (NAB) cases. We already agreed that the chairman should be from the opposition but Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) was insisting that the opposition leader should be the chairman of the committee.”
“They tried to wage war and insisted that they won’t become members of any standing committees. They argue for that but they are not willing to apply the same rule in Sindh or even Punjab,” the foreign minister added.
Quereshi pleaded with the opposition to “present their perspective” but don’t create “this ruckus in NA”. “We can resolve issues through dialogue”, he added.
The foreign minister will visit Oman on Tuesday to discuss the “entire spectrum of bilateral and regional cooperation with the leadership” of that country.
He is also expected to embark on a visit to London on the third of next month where he will raise the Kashmir issue in the House of Commons and present Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir and Indian atrocities in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK).