Karachi: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari departed for India on Thursday to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Council of Foreign Ministers meeting.
Before his departure, Bilawal — Pakistan’s youngest foreign minister — said that he was looking forward to “engaging bilaterally” countries that were part of the SCO.
On my way to Goa, India. Will be leading the Pakistan delegation at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization CFM. My decision to attend this meeting illustrates Pakistan’s strong commitment to the charter of SCO.
During my visit, which is focused exclusively on the SCO, I look… pic.twitter.com/cChUWj9okR
— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) May 4, 2023
It is pertinent to mention that Bilawal’s visit to India is the first visit by a Pakistani foreign minister to New Delhi in over a decade. The invitation to attend the meeting came from the current Chair of SCO CFM, Dr S. Jaishankar, Minister for External Affairs of India.
“During my visit, which is focused exclusively on the SCO, I look forward to constructive discussions with my counterparts from friendly countries,” he said.
In a video message alongside his tweet, the foreign minister also stated that he was looking forward to “engaging bilaterally” with countries that were part of the organisation.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson for Foreign Office (FO) said that Bilawal had departed for Goa from Karachi. Details of the delegation accompanying the foreign minister were not immediately available.
Bilawal consults PDM, JI ahead of
Ahead of his visit, the foreign minister took into confidence heads of multiple political parties — including coalition partners and Jamat-e-Islami (JI) chief — via telephonic conversations.
The foreign minister telephoned Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Ameer Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP) President Sardar Akhtar Mengal, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) Convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Jamat-e-Islami (JI) Ameer Sirajul Haq and National Party (NP) leader Tahir Bizenjo.
‘No bilateral meeting with Indian leaders’
Last week, FM Bilawal dismissed speculations surrounding his India visit and clarified that it should not be “misconstrued in terms of bilateral ties” between the two neighbouring countries.
Bilawal said that he did not make any request for arranging a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Reiterating Pakistan’s commitment to the organisation, Bilawal had said that they cannot let India further isolate Pakistan.