WHAT transpired at the just-concluded meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Goa, India and activities on the sidelines of the moot made it clear that the decision of the Pakistan Government to attend the meeting was prudent as Pakistan’s side, led by young Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, did well to upheld the country’s point of view on important issues. India, accustomed to the accusatory approach, made indirect references to Pakistan vis-à-vis the issue of terrorism and got a befitting response from the head of the Pakistan delegation.
Foreign Minister Bilawal put across the right kind of message when he said on Friday that the people of Pakistan and India want peace, stressing that New Delhi has to create a “conducive environment” for talks between the neighbouring nations. His remarks were not without a reason as the Foreign Minister himself tried his best not to create an embarrassment for the host country and went to the extent of giving interviews to BBC and an Indian newspaper on the condition that these would be released after his departure from India. Similarly, diplomatic sources assert that the original speech of the Minister did not contain any reference that could have been in bad taste but the script had to be revised based on what the Indian External Affairs Minister mentioned in his speech, who said all forms of terrorism including cross-border terrorism must be eradicated, prompting a response in kind from Bilawal who not only retorted “Let’s not get caught up in weaponizing terrorism for diplomatic point-scoring” but also highlighted the fact that Pakistan was a victim of terrorism. Separately, he raised the Kashmir issue and demanded restoration of statehood for resumption of talks. He was also firm in reiterating the position of Pakistan that any change in policy towards India is linked to reversal of unilateral and illegal actions of August 2019. There is no doubt that the incumbent government and especially the Foreign Minister and his team in the Foreign Office are successfully advocating the cause of Kashmiri people and proving the history of neighbouring country’s defiance of the UN Security Council, international laws and bilateral agreements. The Goa visit has also proved, once again, that right decisions are made at the right time and in the best interest of the country.