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June 25, 2019

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi says Pakistan believes in the policy of peace, restraint and peaceful coexistence.

He said this while addressing Political and Security Committee of the European Union in Brussels on Tuesday.

The Foreign Minister said the offer of engagement and initiatives for peace with India, our readiness to discuss all matters, including terrorism and Kashmir, and operationalization of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity, are manifestations of our foreign policy vision put into practice.

The Foreign Minister said the Jammu and Kashmir dispute remains the single biggest obstacle towards building durable peace and stability in South Asia.  

The Foreign Minister said a new paradigm for universal peace and prosperity is both desirable and achievable.

He said Pakistan will be a willing and able partner of the international community in this worthwhile pursuit.

About terrorism, Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Pakistan is perhaps the only country in the world that has successfully turned the tide in the fight against terrorism.

He said Pakistan has been pursuing a comprehensive approach to tackle terrorism.

He said instability in Afghanistan directly impinges upon Pakistan's security and stability. He said Pakistan has been hosting millions of Afghan Refugees for four decades now.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Pakistan seeks a closure to the Afghan conflict through a negotiated settlement.

The Minister said Pakistan, through its limited role and influence, facilitated direct talks between the US and the Taliban through authoritative representatives.

He said there is a need to be vigilant about detractors, who would try to undermine the peace efforts.

About the tension between the United States and Iran, the Foreign Minister said the situation is becoming a matter of serious concern for regional and global peace and security.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has expressed Pakistan's desire to resolve all outstanding conflicts within established diplomatic norms.

Talking to media after meeting of Political and Security Committee of the European Union in Brussels on Tuesday, he said India has not shown willingness for talks so far and due to its extreme position, it may take time in this regard.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi said India wants to isolate Pakistan at the diplomatic level but could not succeed.

The Minister said his visit and participation in political committee of the European Union and agreeing a new strategic plan with the supranational body is testament to the fact that our engagement is increasing.

He said we enumerated the steps Pakistan is taking and all the members realized that Pakistan is making sincere efforts.

He said he held talks with the European countries regarding the importance of GSP Plus status for Pakistan. 

On the issue of blacklisting, he said many European friends including Germany, France and Britain consider that steps taken by Pakistan are positive and solid and they are not in favor of blacklisting of Pakistan.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi said he made it clear in the EU meeting that democracy is gaining strength in Pakistan and freedom of expression is respected. On the contrary, serious human rights violations are continued in Occupied Kashmir that requires attention of international community.

The Minister said the role of Pakistan regarding Afghan peace process is evident in front of everyone and even the US Special Representative on Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad has also admitted the reconciliatory role of Pakistan.

Referring to domestic situation, Foreign Minister Qureshi said the economic challenges being faced by Pakistan are the result of decades of malpractices which we inherited. He said we need to take sustainable steps in order to cope with these challenges. The cooperation of as many political parties as possible is vital for it. He said improvement of economy is discernable from accountability and they should not be confused with each other. He said we are ready to cooperate with everyone for improving the economy but escaping from accountability in the guise of economic cooperation is an altogether different thing.

He said the ruckus created by opposition parties in National Assembly is an attempt to escape from accountability.