During official visit to London, Pakistan’s foreign minister reiterates calls for global community to remain engaged with Taliban to prevent humanitarian crisis
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday urged British-Pakistanis and Kashmiri expatriates to continue to raise their voices and help expose the rights abuses of Indian security forces in India-held Jammu and Kashmir.
Addressing a reception hosted at Pakistan House in London, and attended by members of the British Pakistani community such as parliamentarians, academics, businesspersons and other professionals, he lauded the positive role of the Pakistani Kashmiri community in highlighting rights abuses in India-held Kashmir. According to a statement issued by the Foreign Office, he also apprised the audience of the steps being taken by Islamabad to advance the Kashmir cause and raise global awareness about the humanitarian situation in the disputed region.
Noting that the Government of Pakistan had recently issued a dossier detailing over 3,000 war crimes perpetrated by Indian occupation forces, he welcomed a recent debate in the British Parliament on the atrocities being perpetrated against residents of India-held Kashmir. He assured the Kashmiri leadership that Islamabad would continue to support Kashmiris’ right to self-determination in accordance with U.N. Security Council resolutions and the wishes of the people of India-held Kashmir.
The foreign minister also briefed the audience about Pakistan’s perspective on the evolving situation in Afghanistan, stressing a “new political reality” had emerged. He regretted that Pakistan’s contributions and sacrifices of the past two decades were being ignored by some in the West looking to find a scapegoat for the return of Taliban rule. After 40 years of war, he stressed, Afghans wanted peace and stability. “Only a deep analysis can reveal the real reasons behind the failures of the Afghan National Security Forces,” he added.
Summarizing Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan, Qureshi said Islamabad had extended all possible support for the evacuation of foreign and Afghan nationals wishing to leave the country, and had also set up a humanitarian corridor. He urged the international community not to repeat mistakes of the past and remain engaged with the Taliban to prevent a humanitarian disaster. He emphasized that Pakistan could not afford any more Afghan refugees.
During his address, the foreign minister lauded the outstanding contribution of the British Pakistani diaspora in strengthening ties between Pakistan and the U.K. He updated the audience on steps being taken by the incumbent government to facilitate Overseas Pakistanis, including introducing internet voting and Roshan Digital Accounts.
Currently in London on a three-day official visit, Qureshi is set to attend in-depth discussions with his British counterpart, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, with the Foreign Office saying their talks will cover all bilateral relations and issues of mutual interest. He is also due to meet key British parliamentarians.