Govt woos Opp for talks on NAP implementation

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 Qureshi says he is ready to brief entire parliament on the issue

–Welcomes Modi’s peace offer, says need to be vigilant till Indian elections are over

MULTAN: After the opposition parties refused to attend the briefing for parliamentary leaders scheduled for March 28, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi extended an offer to Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) chief Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari for talks regarding the implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) at the place of his choosing.

Speaking to reporters in Multan, the foreign minister said he has no objections to a parliamentary briefing on the issue.

He was referring to Opp leaders’ refusal to join a briefing on NAP, saying the entire parliament should be briefed instead of just the parliamentary leaders.

He said that he – in his capacity as foreign minister and in consultation with Prime Minister Imran Khan—sent a letter to PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari.

He said that he had also contacted National Assembly Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif, and PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari to ask them for discussions on the national security related issues.  He asked Bilawal for sending his point of view on the important issues in writing.

He said that India was trying to defame Pakistan in the international community in order to push Pakistan from FATF [Financial Action Task Force] greylist to the blacklist, adding that political parties should come forward to devise a comprehensive plan to deal with the national security-related matters with consensus.

To a question about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s greetings on March 23, the foreign minister said that India was bent on attacking Pakistan in February this year, and now it is sending greetings on the Pakistan Day. However, he described it as a positive change.

He welcomed Indian PM’s statement of initiating joint efforts for overcoming poverty, terrorism and betterment of the sub-continent.

He said that Pakistan had no hesitation in moving forward on these issues as the Pakistani prime minister has already stated that India and Pakistan should ensure joint efforts on these issues.

FM Qureshi, however, added that there might be some uncertainty in a mutual relationship till the holding of elections in India, adding that we must be ready for dealing with any kind of situation.

He said that his recent visit to China was very important as China is one of the best friends and well-wishers of Pakistan. He said that China had a clear stance on all international and regional issues, adding that it had always stood by Pakistan in the past and it would do so in future as well.

To another question, Qureshi condemned the incident of New Zealand in which 50 Muslims were martyred by a White supremacist terrorist, who had also live-streamed the gory act.

He said that the incident happened due to Islamophobia.

He lauded the support and action of Prime Minister of New Zealand and the people of the country after the sad incident.

Qureshi said that Pakistan and Turkey had called an urgent meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in which six points were released in the joint statement, out of which four were suggested by him as the foreign minister of Pakistan.

He said that the PPP and Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) have the right to pursue their political strategies. He said that most of the workers of both parties were not happy with the current political situation. Qureshi also quoted the statement of PPP leader Aitzaz Ahsan in which he said that the PPP had always faced trouble whenever it made an alliance with the PML-N.

The foreign minister said that every kind of protection was being given to the minorities in the country.