Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has come under attack for his Goa visit to attend the SCO Foreign Ministers’ conference.
Imran Khan-led PTI’s Shireen Mazari said the “imported” Foreign Minister (Bilawal) was desperate to go to Goa to “show his loyalty to the Bajwa plan of appeasing the United States on Israel and India”.
“Despite insults by India on refusal to arrange bilateral meetings, he’s desperate to go!” she said.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s trip is the first visit to India by a Foreign Minister of Pakistan since July 2011, when then-Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar visited for peace talks.
However, another PTI leader and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s predecessor Shah Mahmood Qureshi stated that the SCO was an important forum which Pakistan should make use of.
“Pakistan is a member of the SCO and the SCO is an important forum. If we want Eurasian political, economic and security integration then this is an important forum.” He said Pakistan should make use of the forum in order to improve the region. “So if he (Bilawal) has gone for a multilateral forum, in my eyes there is no harm”.
But another key leader, Fawad Chaudhry, “strongly” condemned Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s visit.
“Participation would have been possible on video but [the] problem is you people in love of Modi are ready….,” he remarked.
It may be mentioned that Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, for his part, has said, “My decision to attend this meeting illustrates Pakistan’s strong commitment to the charter of SCO”.
The Indian Government and the Ministry of External Affairs apparently did not show any interest in any bilateral meeting with Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.
Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also said that Islamabad’s decision to attend the SCO meet reflected the country’s commitment to the organisation’s charter and multilateralism.
“We are committed to playing our part to advance our shared values of peace and stability in the region. We are all for win-win understandings based on connectivity, trade and mutually advantageous cooperation,” he said.
Pakistan is in political turmoil and also facing an immense economic crisis. For some time, it has been realising the importance of improving trade and general ties with India.
At last week’s SCO Defence Ministers’ meeting, which was represented by a Pakistani Government representative over the video, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh did plain speaking and called for concerted efforts in unity to fight the menace of global terrorism.
“If a nation shelters terrorists, it not only poses a threat to others, but for itself too,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh could not have been more emphatic. The Minister also said, adding that the radicalisation of youth is a cause for concern not only from the point of view of security but it is also a major obstacle in the path of socio-economic progress of society.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari himself has recently admitted that Pakistan is facing “an uphill task” in getting the Kashmir issue onto the agenda of the United Nations. India also made it clear that Article 370 in the Indian Constitution, or its abrogation, are all its sovereign internal matters.
When asked if there would be a separate bilateral meeting between Dr S Jaishankar and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari; the Indian had stated that it was very difficult for us to engage with a neighbour who practices cross-border terrorism.
Meanwhile, the United States also called on Pakistan to move ahead on stalled reforms sought by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), promising technical help as the world’s fifth most populous nation
weathers an economic crisis.
Pakistan signed a $6.5 billion bailout package with the International Monetary Fund in 2019.
Elizabeth Horst, the State Department official in charge of Pakistan, said the reforms that Pakistan and the IMF agreed to are not easy, but it’s crucial that Pakistan take these actions to bring the country back to sound financial footing.