Tuesday Sep 21, 2021
NEW YORK: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that Pakistan wants to “break out of the cyclical pattern” that had defined the Pak-US relationship in the past and find new anchors for the relationship in trade, investment, and people-to-people exchanges.
Qureshi made these remarks as he outlined his vision for the future of Pakistan's bilateral relationship with the US and its efforts for regional stability in a keynote address at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in New York on Tuesday.
CFR President Ambassador Richard Haass welcomed Qureshi to the council, which is one of the US’ leading think tanks and the publisher of the Foreign Affairs journal.
“With the end of the US mission in Afghanistan, Pakistan wants to build a more broad-based and multidimensional relationship with the United States,” said Qureshi.
He said that an economically strong Pakistan would be “an anchor of stability” in the region, which had suffered because of 40 years of conflict in Afghanistan.
Pakistan wants to work with the US in areas that would create jobs and economic prosperity on both sides of the Pak-Afghan border and help the Afghans rebuild their country, he added.
Qureshi underscored that isolating Afghanistan had proved to be a mistake in the past. He said that international community may be able to encourage progress towards a more inclusive government in Afghanistan through sustained engagement.
The minister stressed that a stable Afghan government would help in "denying space to terrorist groups".
"While the Taliban should be held to their commitments on counter-terrorism, human rights, and political inclusivity, the immediate priority must be to help the Afghan people as they confront a potential humanitarian crisis," he said.
Speaking of ties with India, he said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had offered dialogue to India soon after assuming office.
“India had not only rebuffed Pakistan’s peaceful overtures, but destabilised the entire region by its illegal actions of August 5, 2019, in occupied Jammu and Kashmir,” said Qureshi.
India failed to suppress the Kashmiri freedom struggle, which was exposed by its bewildered and inhumane response to the death of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, he added.
Qureshi said while Pakistan remained committed to finding a peaceful solution to the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, it was India’s onus to create the enabling environment for a meaningful and result-oriented dialogue.
He hoped that the international community would not sacrifice the principles of self-determination and freedom to political expediency in Kashmir.
The foreign minister's remarks were followed by an interactive question and answer session with the audience.
The event was attended by a large number of analysts and members from the think tank community as well as media persons.