Qureshi blames ‘lobbies, Pakistan’s neighbours’ for US bill seeking curbs
Staff Reporter Islamabad
Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs Jeppe Kofod on Friday said Denmark was aligned with the view of the European Union and the United Nations in advocating for peaceful and diplomatic dialogue for the resolution of the Kashmir dispute.
Kofod was addressing a press conference in Islamabad with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi after the two held delegation-level talks.
Responding to a question on whether he would take up the issue of human rights violations in Indian-occupied Kashmir with India, he said: “We are fully in line with the EU and the UN to advocate for peaceful [and] diplomatic dialogue on the Jammu and Kashmir issue. This is what we want to see and what we respect.”
Qureshi had earlier shared a dossier with his Danish counterpart based on “irrefutable evidence of atrocities and war crimes committed by the Indian forces” in IoK while hosting a luncheon in honour of FM Kofod.
During the press conference, Qureshi was asked about the bill in the US Senate that sought an assessment of Pakistan’s alleged role in Afghanistan before and after the fall of Kabul and in the Taliban offensive in Panjshir Valley.
Qureshi responded that its implications couldn’t be overlooked and the government was aware of the bill and would do “everything possible” to explain what the correct position was.
However, he pointed out that the bill in its current form did not have bipartisan support and was presented by a group of Republican senators who had a particular view on the Afghan withdrawal and the US government’s handling of it.
“Pakistan believes in engagement, communication and defending our interests. We will protect Pakistan’s interest and defend our position because we have a lot to share with the US Congress.
“They have to understand the positive role Pakistan has played in fighting terrorism, facilitating the peace process, what were the causes behind the Afghan debacle and scapegoating Pakistan would be overlooking ground realities.“
They have to understand that a partnership with Pakistan is required in the future as well to achieve stability in Afghanistan and the region,” the foreign minister said.
He noted that the bill should not be “excessively” obsessed over, cautioning that there were lobbies in the US and “neighbours in our region” who would like to exacerbate the issue.
“To me, it is an attempt to pass the buck. Pakistan has sufficient reasons to defend its course,” Qureshi said.
He also addressed a question on any support to the US for strikes against Al Qaeda targets in Afghanistan and said it was for the cabinet to decide after due deliberation of all pros and cons. Meanwhile, FM Kofod categorically said that Denmark is “not going to recognise the Taliban government”.
He said Denmark saw a “very serious” situation in Afghanistan and was worried about the country becoming a feeding ground for terrorism as well as the human rights situation of the locals.
Kofod said $80 million had been allocated for humanitarian relief in Afghanistan in 2021.
“We will judge any government in Kabul not on their words but whether they respect people’s rights, whether they are willing to ensure that terrorist groups are not found again and whether they will act as a responsible partner to the international community with the obligations that it implies.”
Regarding their delegation-level talks, Qureshi said the duo had reviewed bilateral relations between Pakistan and Denmark and concluded that they were on an “upward trajectory”.
A lot more could be done, however, Qureshi said, pointing to areas such as trade and attracting investments in Pakistan. He outlined two other areas in particular where Pakistan could benefit from Danish assistance: renewable energy and parliamentary exchanges.
“I asked the foreign minister to look at the visa categorisation that we have been put into and have a fresh look at the travel advisory that we have between our two countries,” Qureshi said.
FM Kofod thanked Pakistan for its help in the Danish evacuation efforts from Afghanistan with “rapid, efficient and substantial support”. “This arrangement has been crucial in our evacuation and became the model for a number of countries to follow,” he added.
“Pakistan will protect its interests and defend its position. The US has to understand the role played by Pakistan in facilitating the peace process,” Qureshi said at a joint presser with the visiting foreign minister of Denmark, Jeppe Kofod.
The foreign minister said that, “Scape-goating Pakistan would in fact mean overlooking the ground realities”.
Qureshi said Pakistan would not ignore the implications of the proposed bill on Pakistan, adding that “we are cognizant and can explain”.
He pointed out that the bill did not have a bipartisan understanding over it and was presented by a group of Republican senators, who were even critical of some US policies and were also against the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Later, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday stressed the need for international community’s constructive engagement to prevent humanitarian crisis and economic collapse in Afghanistan and to help build durable peace and stability in the country. The prime minister, in a meeting with Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod, who called on him here, said that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan was vitally important for Pakistan and the region. Imran Khan underlined that an inclusive political structure was important for stability of Afghanistan. He expressed satisfaction at the growing cooperation between the two countries.