Don’t play politics over Kashmir, FM Shah requests Joint Opposition

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Shah Mahmood Qureshi, vice-chairman of PTI and Foreign Minister, has urged the opposition parties to take part in the upcoming Kashmir Solidarity Hour on the next Friday. However, the opposition is not interested to offer any conditional support to the incumbent government at the moment. Analysts believe that opposition is desiring for some concessions on the current accountability derive by the Prime Minister Imran Khan.

“The opposition that did not record its protest [against Indian atrocities in the held valley] on last Friday should do so this Friday [during the weekly Kashmir Hour],” said Mr Qureshi while talking to the media on reaching his hometown on Sunday after a daylong visit to Umerkot.

The foreign minister also requested the joint opposition not to do politics on Kashmir. “Opposition is requested to put its share in this national issue,” he said, saying that the Kashmir issue was not up for political point-scoring.

Opposition Raises Questions

Before arrest by the NAB, PML-N leader, Maryam Nawaz had said “no support from the opposition should be offered to a government that is not only non-representative but has brought Pak to its knees in every possible way. Any support lent to this govt will lead to more disasters & graver ones. All this govt can do is to surrender & capitulate”.

Similarly, President PPP Punjab Qamar Zaman Kaira and General Secretary PPP Punjab Chaudhry Manzoor Ahmed along with other PPP leaders criticized the incumbent government for its alleged failure to take up the issue of Kashmir before the international community.

Pakistan’s foreign minister have rightly urged the nation as well as opposition parties to stay united on the matters concerning Pakistan’s stability and sovereignty under all circumstances.

The PPP leadership pointed out that the PTI government is busy in victimizing its political opponents. The government has arrested leaders of PPP and PML (N) and has done nothing on any front. It is so unfortunate that Faryal Talpur was transferred to prison at midnight when his brother was in NAB’s custody and Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was in Muzaffarabad to celebrate Eid with his Kashmiri brethren. “This coward government had earlier arrested Maryam Nawaz in front of his father when she was visiting him in prison. This all is being done to satisfy the ego of puppet prime minister”, he added.

Opposition’s concern over the current government’s capabilities raise question in the present context when the UN Security council held a consultative meeting to discuss the issue of Kashmir almost after 50 years. China, Pakistan’s ally, categorically termed the act of annexation invalid and something which may lead to serious political instability in the region and beyond.

Similarly, the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) also issued a strong worded statement and demanded immediately end to curfew and widespread violations of human rights in Kashmir. The OIC also demanded a fact finding commission under the UN to ascertain the state of human rights in the valley.

Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN has said that it is the diplomatic win of Pakistan that Security Council took up the issue of Kashmir after 50 years. She also said that the Indian representative at the UN looked defensive who later had to accept that the Kashmir is an internationally recognized disputed territory.

Pakistan’s Current Foreign Policy

After being elected as Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan visited the foreign office and chaired a meeting. During the meeting PM dictated that performance of Pakistani missions abroad should be improved. “A positive image of Pakistan should be promoted on a global level,” the premier urged during the meeting which was attended by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Foreign Secretary and other officials.

PM Khan has his own understanding of the issues and developments and he is likely to re-frame broad policies lines in order to make it more effective and give Pakistan a role of leadership. PM Khan is expected to deal with India and ensure that the bilateral relations are built on equal basis and Pakistan has not to suffer in any way.

Read more: PPP & Sindh Government Absent at Kashmir Hour

Most importantly, with regard to Iran-Saudi Arabia rivalry, PM Khan has categorically stated that the role of Pakistan will be of mediator, “Pakistan will not take side rather we will help the involved states to sort out their issues amicably,” he has said.

While comparing the state of Pakistan’s current foreign relations with those during the previous government, he said the administration of US President Donald Trump had in 2017 announced the South Asia strategy through which the onus of all hardships faced by Washington in Afghanistan was put on Pakistan. Security and economic assistance and even training programs for Pakistan were suspended by the US and there was a bipartisan agreement in the US Congress against Pakistan, he said.

But there has been a “gradual change of thought” during the PTI government’s 11 months in power, with the US and its allies reaching a “convergence” with Prime Minister Imran that there is no military solution to the Afghan conflict, Qureshi added.

PPP Offers Unconditional Support to PTI

Recently, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari made it clear that despite having severe disagreements with the ruling party, he offered unconditional support to the PM on the matters related to Pakistan’s foreign policy. “In the greater national interest everyone should support Pakistan’s efforts to engage the world. I, therefore, unconditionally support government’s efforts,” he said, adding: “Will always provide constructive criticism when needed but will always support.”

It is worth noting that during the recent visit to the USA PM Khan emerged to be a successful statesman who changed the global narrative. He was able to bring in the issue of Kashmir and informed Americans not to base ties with us on aid or money but on trust and equality. He repeatedly maintained that Pakistan wanted respect and trust like a true friend. “We are not here to beg money,” he asserted. PM Khan’s visit has been marked as one the most successful visit of any rulers to the America in recent past. Khan set the tone and agenda of his choice which means Pakistani perspective have been validated at global level.

Read more: Is PPP doing politics on Kashmir issue?

United We Stand

Pakistan’s foreign minister have rightly urged the nation as well as opposition parties to stay united on the matters concerning Pakistan’s stability and sovereignty under all circumstances. He also assured the house to update them on any matter and consider any proposal presented by the opposition about Pakistan’s foreign policy. Analysts believe that Foreign Minister Qureshi has presented a well-thought ideas to keep the nation united.