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US is conveying Pakistan govt to cut its ties with China: Qureshi


ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that the United States is conveying a message to Pakistan through various means as well as double meaning phrases to cut ties with China.
Talking to a private television channel, the foreign minister said Pakistan has its own interests and would like to strengthen ties with the US as well.
“This is not a zero-sum game and if we are a friend of China, it doesn’t mean we are not friends with the US,” he said, adding that China has never asked Pakistan to break ties with the US.
“A China containment policy is underway at the global level. China is a rising power right now and possibly can overtake the US in the next few years. So, there are fears in the West,” he said.
On the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Qureshi said, “Whether anyone likes it or not, CPEC is our need. It is our economic corridor for energy and trade. It has to reach its logical end.” He said that the CPEC will move ahead at all costs and no pressure will overwhelm Pakistan.
“There are hurdles being created and that is why we have made arrangements for the security to ensure the safety of the project. There are elements that can damage it. Indian and other forces are scared of its success,” he said.
Expressing concerns over the worsening Afghan situation and Taliban’s advances towards the capital, the foreign minister said Pakistan wants peace and stability there and doesn’t want to see Kabul being attacked and captured. He also advised the Afghan government to show flexibility in its attitude and sit down with the Taliban to sort out its issues.
As far as Pakistan is concerned, he said, Islamabad is playing a constructive role and will continue to do so. “We are neither interfering in their affairs, nor do we have any intention to get involved.”
“Pakistan has no favourites in Afghanistan and to project this perception that we are supporting one group or another is completely wrong,” he stressed.
On a question about Islamabad’s worries about the Pakistani Taliban gaining ground in areas under the influence of the Afghan Taliban, he said, “If there’s a vacuum in Afghanistan, such negative forces take advantage of it and space will be available for terrorist networks. And in such a scenario, it will increase our concerns.”
The top Pakistani diplomat said they are doing whatever they can, adding, “We have enhanced our border management with fencing and troops deployment.”
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that the core foreign policy of the government is aimed at stabilising the economy and attracting foreign investment.
Talking to the state-run radio channel on Saturday, the foreign minister said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce is making efforts to promote trade, facilitate remittances and attract foreign investments.
The foreign minister said the government’s aim is transformation of the country from geopolitics to geo-economics.
Referring to the situation in Afghanistan, Qureshi said the unjustified criticism on Pakistan from Afghan officials is an indication of the failure of their policies. He said a number of Afghan people understand the importance of Pakistan and are supportive to the narrative of our government.
The foreign minister regretted that Afghan media is projecting a negative image of Pakistan because as per reports of EU DisinfoLab, there are a number of fake media channels in the neighbouring country to defame our country.
However, he expressed confidence that the majority of Afghans are aware that they can benefit from stronger relations with Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has expressed deep grief and sorrow over the tragic death of seven Canadian Pakistanis due to a house fire in Alberta, Canada.
The foreign minister prayed for the departed souls and commiserated with the bereaved family. He said, “We are in touch with the Canadian officials for investigation of the incident.” He also directed to extend every kind of cooperation to the affected family.
At least seven members of a Pakistan-origin family lost their lives when their residence burned down in the Canadian province of Alberta on Friday. Among the casualties were four children. Five of the residents were able to flee the house during the fire.
According to the prayer leader of Calgary mosque, Syed Suharwardy, there were two families residing in the house at the time of the incident. He added that one of the families had arrived a few days ago to stay at the residence.
Meanwhile, Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri expressed grief over the incident and said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims of this tragic incident. We also pray for quick and full recovery of the injured”.
The spokesperson further stated that the country’s consulate general in Vancouver was in contact with Canadian authorities to ascertain the facts leading to the incident. He added that officials were also in contact with the bereaved family to extend assistance to them.
The spokesperson further said that the cause of the fire was unknown, adding the authorities had ruled out the involvement of a criminal act.
Canada drew the world’s attention last month following the killing of a Pakistan-origin family in Ontario. The family lost members from three generations after it was targeted in a “religiously-motivated” attack when a pick-up truck ran over them in the south of Canada’s Ontario province while they were waiting on the sidewalk to cross the road. Police said the family fell prey for being Muslim and the attack appeared to be a “premeditated” one. – TLTP