In meeting with U.K. official, Pakistan’s foreign minister shares dossier on rights abuses in India-held Kashmir, reiterates calls for sustained engagement with Taliban
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday praised the U.K. government for playing its role to help the people of Jammu and Kashmir secure the right to self-determination.
Thanking the U.K. for “playing [a] definitive role in addressing poor conditions of people of disputed territory and help in securing Kashmiris’ inalienable right of self-determination,” he said that he had shared a dossier documenting more than 3,000 war crimes and human rights violations committed by Indian forces in India-held Kashmir.
Addressing a press conference at the Pakistan High Commission in London—part of a three-day official tour—the foreign minister said he had suggested forming “joint working groups” to address the plight of Kashmiris during a meeting with U.K. Secretary of the State for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women and Equality Elizabeth Truss.
According to a statement issued by the Foreign Office, Qureshi also lauded a recent debate on the human rights situation in India-held Kashmir at the British House of Commons and hoped the U.K. would play its due role in this regard.
On the recent decision of the English Cricket Board to postpone a scheduled tour of Pakistan, the foreign minister Islamabad’s disappointment, stressing this had not only caused financial loss to the Pakistan Cricket Board, but also disappointed millions of cricket fans and “affected” Pakistan’s international image. “Truss said that the decision was taken by the ECB and not the U.K. government, but she would convey Pakistan’s message to the board,” he added.
The Foreign Office said Qureshi had felicitated Truss’ appointment, adding that he looked forward to working closely with her to put concrete shape to the mutual desire of the two sides to take the bilateral relations to the next level. It was agreed to work on roadmaps in multiple areas of mutual interest. He also briefed her on Pakistan’s climate vulnerabilities, noting that despite contributing minimally to global greenhouse gas emissions, the country was one of the most climate vulnerable countries. He said that to mitigate this, Prime Minister Imran Khan had launched a massive tree plantation drive. Truss, read the statement, praised Pakistan’s actions and said the U.K. looked forward to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s participation in the COP-26 session being hosted in Glasgow in November.
During his press conference, the foreign minister said he had not discussed the topic of recognizing the Taliban-led government in Afghanistan during his meeting with Truss. However, he added, Pakistan had asked the U.K. and the international community to continue engaging with the Taliban. He claimed that he had gotten the impression that both the U.S. and the U.K. were ready to “talk with the Taliban-led government in Afghanistan.”
According to the Foreign Office, Qureshi conveyed to Truss that Pakistan’s immediate concern was to avert a humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan. He noted that Islamabad had established a humanitarian corridor and was extending all possible assistance to support the Afghan people. He also stressed that Pakistan had facilitated the evacuation of a large number of foreign nationals and Afghans wishing to flee Taliban rule, adding Islamabad was ready to act as a hub for humanitarian support to Afghanistan. He urged the international community not to repeat past mistakes, and to engage constructively with the Taliban.
In a posting on Twitter, Qureshi said Pakistan and the U.S. had decided to work closely to elevate their historic bilateral relationship. He also invited Truss to Pakistan for the 5th review session of the Pakistan-United Kingdom Enhanced Strategic Dialogue.