News Desk |
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj are unlikely to hold a formal bilateral meeting at the ministerial gathering of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), scheduled to be held in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on 21st-22nd May.
During his regular press briefing, Foreign Office spokesperson Dr. Muhammad Faisal stated, “The two foreign ministers would be present in the meeting and in all likelihood would interact amongst themselves and with other leaders. No formal meeting is, however, envisaged.”
Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj will be heading the Indian delegation while FM Qureshi will represent Pakistan at the summit. For the last three years, there has not been a formal bilateral meeting between the foreign dignitaries of the two rival neighbors, and even though a meeting was planned in New York last year in September, it was hastily cancelled.
Dr. Faisal responded to a question on whether Pakistan will supply Rooh-Afza to India in order to quench their thirst by saying, “If the supply of Rooh-Afza from Pakistan quenches their thirst, then we will certainly want to do so.”
In the wake of the Pulwama attack and India’s aggressive posturing with false claims of conducting aerial strikes, the relations between the two countries have been engulfed with hostilities, and New Delhi appears to be blocking all attempts to establish bilateral ties. Indian media platforms have been circulating speculations about a “likely meeting” between the two foreign ministers, and these rumors were further fuelled by the long meeting held between Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria and Foreign Secretary Sohail Mehmood.
Responding to a question on a meeting between Indian Ambassador Bisaria and Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary, Dr. Faisal noted, “On the meeting of Foreign Secretary with the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad, let me apprise you that such meetings occur regularly to discuss various evolving issues. I cannot disclose the detailed agenda as it does not fall in the media domain.”
Indian Ambitions to have “Pakistan Downgraded on FATF List”
Dr. Muhammad Faisal expressed Pakistan’s deep concern over the irresponsible statement made by India’s Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, on 2nd May 2019, wherein he disclosed India’s intentions to have “Pakistan downgraded on the FATF list.” Dr. Faisal noted, “The statement re-confirms Pakistan’s longstanding concerns that this technical forum is being politicized by India against Pakistan.”
Dr. Faisal highlighted that New Delhi has always been persistent in these efforts, along with attempting to “politicize the proceedings at FATF.” He also noted on multiple occasions in the past, India media received “calculated leaks” about the FATF proceedings, which are meant to be strictly confidential. Asad Umar, Pakistan’s former finance minister had approached the President of the FATF to express Pakistan’s concerns over these publications and India’s politicization of the proceedings.
Dr. Faisal stated, “India’s attempts to politicize the proceedings in FATF against Pakistan call into question its credentials for co-chairing and being a member of the Asia Pacific Joint Group that reviews the progress made by Pakistan to implement the FATF Action Plan.”
Aggressive Posturing & Threats to Restrict Pakistan’s Water Flow
Responding to a question on significant increases in India’s defence spending, Dr. Faisal noted, “India has been trying to bring the region into an arms race”. He added that increasing the defence budget is not the sole determinant of the might of a country. “You have seen the results of misadventure by India on 27th February 2019 and the befitting reply given by our military forces,” concluded Dr. Faisal.
Asad Umar, Pakistan’s former finance minister had approached the President of the FATF to express Pakistan’s concerns over these publications and India’s politicization of the proceedings.
Earlier, the Indian Minister for Water Resources had threatened that India will not allow even a “single drop of water to flow into Pakistan”. Dr. Faisal responded to this inhumane statement by noting that the Indus Waters Treaty had been signed by both the countries and India has violated the terms of the treaty by constructing the Ratle Hydro Electric and Kishanganga Power Projects.
Dr. Faisal said, “We have already raised this matter at the dispute resolution mechanism of the World Bank. However, the matter has not been resolved, as yet. Pakistan wishes that the Indus Waters Treaty should be allowed to function and the dispute resolution mechanism should take its due course. We urge the World Bank to empanel the Court of Arbitration so that a resolution is reached in this regard.”
Indian media is circulating reports of a shortfall of Rooh-Afza, Pakistan’s world famous beverage. Dr. Faisal responded to a question on whether Pakistan will supply Rooh-Afza to India in order to quench their thirst by saying, “If the supply of Rooh-Afza from Pakistan quenches their thirst, then we will certainly want to do so.”