Govt trying to end discord over KL summit, says FM

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MULTAN: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Sunday that the Kuala Lumpur summit was a sincere effort by Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to pool energies and strength of Muslim countries, but ‘some friends’ apprehended the initiative might divide the Ummah and establish a forum parallel to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Talking to media, the foreign minister said that Pakistan appreciated the efforts of the Malaysian prime minister and never doubted them.

“There is no doubt that his efforts are aimed at pooling the strength and capacities of different Muslim countries to initiate joint projects for their socio-economic uplift. Countering Islamophobia is also one of the aims. His thinking is positive, but some friends have apprehensions, although efforts were made to address their concerns.”

Mr. Qureshi said Pakistan was still making efforts to end the misunderstandings and “we are grateful to the leadership of Malaysia and Turkey who not only heard our point of view but also understood it”.

“The Turkish president’s visit to Pakistan in February will provide an opportunity to further discuss the matter in detail, while Prime Minister Imran Khan will visit Malaysia in the near future. Pakistan has friendly ties with all Muslim countries as we are making efforts to bring them closer,” he said.

In reply to questions, the foreign minister said the government’s recent move to amend the National Accountability Ordinance was neither meant to cover up corruption nor to give concessions.

“Commenting on such issues without reading (content) has now become a common practice. First, read and examine it before raising objections. They (opposition) have been of the view that the business community is not making the investment because of fear of NAB and when the government tried to address the issue, they are giving it a new twist.

“Do not doubt the government’s intentions and avoid doing politics over it,” he appealed. In reply to a question, Mr. Qureshi said Pakistan had supported the democratic process in Afghanistan.

“Final results of Afghan election are yet to be announced and whatever the results are Pakistan will honor them.”

The foreign minister said there was no truth behind reports about the formation of a forward bloc in the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf. “I do not think any effort is underway to make any bloc.”

Ruling out any institutional clash over retired Gen Pervez Musharraf’s conviction, he said the role of institutions had been defined in the Constitution. “We respect the independence of judiciary and judiciary should let the executive do its work,” he said.

Mr. Qureshi said Bangladesh was ready to send its cricket team to Pakistan but did otherwise because of Indian pressure.

“Bangladesh should take its decisions independently. It can maintain its relations with India, but not at the cost of international sport.”

The foreign minister said he had requested his Saudi counterpart during his recent visit to Islamabad that the OIC should raise its voice over the issue of the Citizenship Amendment Act introduced by the Indian government, besides taking notice of the situation prevailing in occupied Kashmir.

He said the Saudi foreign minister had agreed to his suggestion and a meeting of OIC’s foreign ministers would be held soon in Islamabad.

“I wrote a letter to the president of the United Nations Security Council and informed him about Pakistan’s point of view over the situation in occupied Kashmir. In light of this letter, China demanded deployment of UN military observers in Kashmir.”

He said India had deployed missiles at five points along the Line of Control.

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