Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Monday said he had presented Pakistan’s stance on Israel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) foreign minister, categorically stating that Pakistan will not and can not establish a relationship with Israel until a concrete and permanent solution is found to the Palestine issue.
Qureshi was speaking to reporters in Multan after processions for the Urs of Hazrat Shah Rukn-i-Alam just a day after his visit to the UAE where he held high-level talks with the Emirati leadership.
During his visit, Qureshi said he had “heard and understood why the UAE took the steps it did to recognise Israel but presented Pakistan’s stance on the issue very clearly”.
“Pakistan in any situation cannot establish relations with Israel until a concrete and permanent solution is found to the problem of Palestine,” said Qureshi.
The foreign minister said he explained to his UAE counterpart the depth of emotions and feelings the Pakistani nation had on the issues of Palestine and Kashmir. The UAE foreign minister “completely understood” these feelings of the Pakistani nation, according to Qureshi.
Qureshi was questioned by reporters on whether there was any pressure on Pakistan to recognise Israel to which he answered: “The prime minister has said this, I have clarified it and the Foreign Office (FO) has given a statement on this, there is no pressure by anyone on us.”
“Number one, there will be no pressure on us nor there is. Number two, we have to make decisions keeping in mind Pakistan’s interests and not due to any pressure. We have a policy and we are still steadfast on it.”
‘India not a replacement for Pakistan’
Qureshi also said he wanted to clarify that neither the UAE nor Saudi Arabia had any intention of making “India a replacement for Pakistan”, adding that it was India’s “misunderstanding” if it wished to make efforts towards that end.
Talks with his counterpart progressed according to his general expectations, Qureshi said, and he was reassured that the visa issue is a temporary one and will soon be cleared away.
Qureshi said a number of other issues concerning bilateral relations and how they could be further strengthened were discussed. He said he had also apprised the UAE foreign minister on developments on the intra-Afghan peace process — including the talks with the recent Taliban delegation at the FO.
The foreign minister also addressed recent revelations about information of a planned Indian surgical strike while he was in Abu Dhabi. He said he “immediately made the decision without wasting the opportunity” to hold a press conference where international media outlets were present to “send India a clear message”.
He warned India from going forward with their “reckless action” of an alleged false-flag operation. Otherwise, he warned, Pakistan will give an “immediate and effective response”.
“I have mentioned that any response of ours will be immediate and if the Afghan peace process is affected and the peace of the region is affected, then India will be [held] responsible for it,” said Qureshi. He urged the UN and United Nations Security Council to notice when a state with atomic power acts irresponsibly and tries to thrust the world into crisis.
“India’s real face has been uncovered through the dossier and the Indian Chronicles,” said Qureshi, referring to the recent report by the EU DisinfoLab on the wide ranging Indian disinformation network. The dossier “with irrefutable evidence that India is sponsoring terrorism in Pakistan” had been shared with the international community and authorities, said Qureshi.
Addressing the opposition’s Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), Qureshi urged them to move beyond their “political agenda and think about the national agenda” due to the current coronavirus pandemic and threat alerts from India.
The foreign minister called on the PDM to reflect on what the needs of the nation are at this time because, “They are Pakistani and they should think about Pakistan.”
Qureshi repeated his earlier claim that the PDM was divided within its ranks on the issue of resignations.
He addressed the PDM at large and said if they are adamant on giving resignations, then they should submit them by Dec 31 to the speaker of the National Assembly and speakers of the provincial assemblies.