Modi’s dream to isolate Pakistan will remain unfulfilled, says Qureshi

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi addresses a press conference at Serena Hotel in Kabul on January 7, 2009. Qureshi said the new Pakistan government wanted good relations with its neighbours, including Afghanistan and India. A declaration signed after talks Tuesday between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari was a "watershed in bilateral relations," he said. AFP PHOTO/Massoud HOSSAINI

–Foreign minister says New Delhi should share actionable evidence instead of levelling baseless allegations against Pakistan


ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Saturday dismissed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement of diplomatically isolating Pakistan and said that the “Indian dream can never be fulfilled”.

He was addressing the media after attending the Munich Security Conference in Germany.

The statement, which was given in the wake of Pulwama terror attack, in which 44 Indian paramilitary soldiers were killed, received a strong reaction from Pakistan as the federal cabinet dismissed the “baseless” Indian allegations.

Qureshi, on the sidelines of the conference, also met with his German, Canadian, Uzbek counterparts as well as with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and discussed the matters of mutual interest and cooperation.

“[My] meeting with the top foreign officials clearly shows that Indian policy of [diplomatically] isolating Pakistan has miserably failed,” he said.

In a video shared by the PTI official handle on Twitter, Qureshi said “violence is not the policy of the government”.

“Violence is not a [strategy] nor is it our government’s policy,” Qureshi said.

Qureshi condemned the bombing and added that he was “a little sad” that, without investigating the incident, India had instantly levelled allegations against Pakistan in a “knee-jerk reaction”.

“You can throw the blame at us,” Qureshi said, noting that accusing Pakistan “took one minute”.

Qureshi also noted that the world had condemned the incident, “as they should, as lives had been lost”.

Qureshi added, however, that the voices coming from within India should also be heard, such as that of former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Farooq Abdullah, who has said that placing blame on Pakistan was the “easy route” and that Indian authorities should examine its policies in Kashmir.

Qureshi also highlighted Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir, making mention of rampant human rights violations and the near daily funerals.

“Is a reaction to that not expected?” Qureshi asked, adding that a reaction to rape of local women and use of pellet guns had to be expected at some point.

Qureshi said that he had spoken to various foreign ministers, including to the Russian foreign minister, in Moscow and told them that he had been fearful there would be some “misadventure” for political purposes prior to the election [in India].

Similarly, the minister said that around two months ago, Pakistani officials had briefed P5 (US, China, Russia, UK and France) envoys in Islamabad that they feared something or the other taking place to “distract attention” from the Kashmir issue.

He added that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had two options now.

“One is to act like a typical politician and stage his reactions and policy while keeping and eye on the next election. Alternatively, he has the option of being a statesman who thinks about his region, his country’s poverty, the betterment of his country, as well as regional betterment.”

Qureshi said it remains to be seen which direction Modi will choose.

He said that, instead of hurling accusations at Pakistan, if India had any “actionable evidence” against the country, they should share it with them.

“Share it with us, we will investigate it with integrity and see what the reality is,” Qureshi said while assuring that they would cooperate.

He also reiterated that Pakistan wanted peace.

“Our message is of peace, not war,” Qureshi said.

Meanwhile, Qureshi, in meeting with a bipartisan group of US lawmakers led by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, said that “it [US-Pak relations] has historically paved a way for long-term sustainability in the region”.

Qureshi stressed the importance of a broad-based and structured relationship for the promotion of bilateral cooperation between the two countries. He noted that “Pakistan looked forward to enhancing cooperation with the United States in trade, energy and business sectors”.