–FM rejects rumours about Israeli pilot in Pakistan’s custody
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement in which he reportedly said he saw a better chance of peace talks with India if Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party wins the general elections was taken out of context.
This was stated by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi during a meeting of Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs in Islamabad on Thursday. He was responding to questions put to him by members of the panel.
“I am familiar with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s standpoint about Modi,” he said, adding the premier’s statements about Modi’s past were on record.
He said PM Khan’s statements referring to the Indian prime minister’s links with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) – a terrorist organisation – were also available.
“So you are saying Imran Khan is not Modi’s friend,” said Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, who chaired the meeting.
“We are neither anybody’s friend nor a helper,” replied FM Qureshi.
Some media reports had quoted the prime minister as saying, “Perhaps if the BJP – a right-wing party – wins, some kind of settlement in Kashmir could be reached.”
The foreign minister further said it was for the people of India to decide who will win the general elections there.
Senator Sitara Ayaz, however, suggested a clarification should have come from the PM Office in this regard.
Taking exception to the prime minister’s statement, Senator Sherry Rehman said the purpose of his statement was beyond her comprehension.
She said the Indian prime minister was involved in the killings of Kashmiris over the past five years and the entire world called him Gujrat’s killer.
“You say that India may attack Pakistan while your prime minister says the situation will get better if Modi wins elections,” she said addressing the foreign minister.
NO ISRAELI PILOT IN CUSTODY:
Qureshi also said that Pakistan had captured only one Indian pilot, and speculations in the media about capture of an Israeli pilot are fake.
He said that India has been preparing for another military action against Pakistan.
“Pakistan has reliable intelligence that India is devising a new plan. Even America has endorsed Pakistan’s viewpoint over Indian claims of downing a F-16 fighter jet,” he said.
Qureshi affirmed that Pakistan needs to stay on high alert till May 23.
He also expressed disappointment at the Indian government’s decision to not issue visas to Pakistani journalists to cover a meeting of the Kartarpur Corridor.
“India cancelled the meeting which was scheduled to be held on April 2 on the Kartarpur Corridor,” he said.
Senator Sherry Rehman expressed her concerns over trapped Pakistanis in jails in UAE. To which, Qureshi replied that the government has been striving to retrieve prisoners who have completed their jail time.
He said 2,107 prisoners from Saudi Arabia will soon return to Pakistan, and in the Islamic month of Ramzan, a good news is expected from the UAE as well.
Regarding the dossier India has handed over to Pakistan, the minister said there was nothing new in it. “Pakistan had downed two Indian fighter jets while India shot down its own helicopter which killed their six people,” he added.
“Pakistan had captured only one Indian pilot, and speculations in the media about capture of an Israeli pilot are fake,” he maintained.