Bilawal Bhutto to visit India for SCO moot in first visit of any Pakistani Foreign Minister in over 12 years


ISLAMABAD – Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari is set to visit India to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s (SCO) meeting that is slated to be held on May 4 and 5.

Bhutto’s visit, which is touted as ice-breaking, will be the first by the Pakistani foreign minister to the rival nation since 2011, when Hina Rabbani Khar visited New Delhi.

The development was confirmed by Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch who said Mr. Bhutto is visiting the neighboring country at the invitation of Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.

In a statement, Ms Baloch said “Our participation in the meeting reflects Pakistan’s commitment to the SCO Charter and processes and the importance that Pakistan accords to the region in its foreign policy priorities”.

Let it be known, Mr. Zardari attended the last SCO meeting in July last year in Tajikistan’s capital where he did not interact with his Indian counterpart.

Meanwhile, his upcoming visit raised many questions as the situation between the two nuclear armed nations remain tense, with sporadic cross-border skirmishes and ceasefire violations.

Experts however claimed that international leaders mediate to calm down the dispute, but a lasting resolution has yet to be achieved.

Earlier this year, New Delhi invited Pakistani foreign ministers along with China, Russia, India, and some central Asian states.

Currently, India is leading SCO as president and is hosting events including a summit meeting after the SCO foreign ministers moot. It was reported that Foreign minister’s visit completed as per plan, it is likely that PM Shehbaz Sharif will visit the neighboring side too for the summit.

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