No meeting scheduled with Indian FM in UAE: Qureshi
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday clarified that he had no meeting scheduled with Minister of External Affairs of India Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where he is on a three-day visit.
The statement comes amid speculations that the top diplomats of the archrivals may meet as part of efforts to seek rapprochement.
The UAE’s role in seeking rapprochement between Pakistan and India has been the subject of discussions in recent weeks. Several reports suggested that the UAE was mediating between the two countries. There were even reports that senior intelligence officials of Pakistan and India had met in Dubai in January leading to the ceasefire between the two countries along the Line of Control (LoC).
The UAE Ambassador to Washington also confirmed that his country was facilitating dialogue between the two countries. The envoy said the idea behind the UAE’s effort was to ensure that Pakistan and India have a functional relationship.
Speaking at a press conference in Dubai today, the foreign minister said both India and Pakistan would have to think about their bilateral ties.
“Pakistan never evaded talks and wanted to live in peace with all its neighbours including India,” he stressed.
FM Qureshi said that Pakistan was ready to talk with India if it was ready to reverse its illegal annexation of Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, adding that Pakistan could never think of ignoring the Kashmir issue.
Ties between the nuclear-armed rivals have been on ice since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi withdrew the autonomous status of IIOJK in order to tighten his grip over the territory on August 5, 2019, provoking outrage in Pakistan and the downgrading of diplomatic ties and suspension of bilateral trade.
Talking about his visit to UAE, Qureshi said that his visit to the brotherly nation would strengthen existing bilateral ties of both the countries, adding that he would hold a meeting with the Foreign Minister of UAE on Monday.
He said a mega event would be organised by Pakistan in Sharjah in October this year to showcase the hidden treasures of Pakistan.
At the event, professionals among the Pakistani community in UAE would be invited, he said.
“The event would highlight the role played by the Pakistani community in the progress and prosperity of UAE,” he said adding, he would invite Prime Minister Imran Khan to the mega event.
Qureshi said that Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates would complete their 50 years long friendship. “Both the countries were making an effort to organise different programmes at the completion of the 50 years of brotherly diplomatic relations,” he informed.
The foreign minister said that he visited the venue of expo 2020 and was impressed with the facilities offered there. “The events at expo 2020 would coincide with the National Day of the United Arab Emirates,” he added.
He said the government wanted to give the right to vote to the overseas Pakistanis and it was consulting with other political parties on the issue.
“We want that overseas Pakistanis should have a role in Pakistani politics and policy making.”