Saturday, July 30, 2022
TASHKENT: Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, who is currently attending the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Council of Foreign Ministers Meeting, asserted that Pakistan has no plans of holding any bilateral meeting with India.
Bilawal held six bilateral meetings with foreign ministers of Central Asian countries on the sidelines of the conference which is being held in connection with preparations for the SCO Heads of State meeting scheduled to be held in September.
Bilawal held meetings with his counterparts from Afghanistan, China, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan.
“There are no plans of any meetings between Indian and Pakistani prime ministers in September,” Bilawal told WION News, adding that both India and Pakistan are part of the SCO and the two countries are only engaged in the context of the broad-based activities of the organisation.
The foreign minister said: “India is our neighbouring country. While one can decide on a lot of things, one cannot choose its neighbours, therefore, we should get used to living with them.”
Bilawal recalled that after 2019, constructive dialogue with India became difficult, while statements based on Islamophobia by Indian officials are further creating hurdles in dialogue.
The foreign minister maintained: “We are trying to find economic opportunities for our people”.
The government is committed to improving economic ties with all the countries, including the US, he added.
When asked about criticism by Imran Khan of the coalition government for its alleged weak relations with the US, the foreign minister said: “There is no truth to Imran Khan’s claims.”
"Khan tried to strengthen relations with Washington when he was in power," he said, adding: "What is our fault if he failed to boost ties with the US?"
Taking to Twitter, Bilawal shared his experience of his first interaction at the SCO-CFM in Tashkent.
"My first interaction at the SCO-CFM in Tashkent. Emphasised organisation's important role [and] reiterated [Pakistan's] commitment to collective efforts in achieving regional peace [and] economic prosperity," he wrote.