LONDON: Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi Tuesday met British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Elizabeth Truss wherein he conveyed Pakistan’s disappointment at the decision of the English Cricket Board to cancel Pakistan tour.
“This had not only caused financial loss to Pakistan Cricket Board but also deeply disappointed millions of cricket fans,” the foreign minister said who is currently in UK.
The foreign minister felicitated Secretary Truss on her appointment, and said that he looked forward to working closely with her to put concrete shape to the mutual desire of the two sides to take the bilateral relations to the next level.
It was agreed to work on roadmaps in multiple areas of mutual interest.
Foreign Minister Qureshi apprised his British counterpart of Pakistan’s climate vulnerabilities. Despite contributing minimally to global greenhouse gas emissions, Pakistan had been among the most affected and was deemed one of the most climate vulnerable countries.
He apprised Secretary Truss of the steps being taken by Pakistan for climate mitigation and adaptation including Prime Minister Imran Khan’s 10 Billion Tree Tsunami initiative.
Lauding Pakistan’s climate credentials, Secretary Truss stated that the UK looked forward to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s participation in COP-26 being hosted by the UK in Glasgow in November this year.
In addition to detailed discussions on the entire gamut of bilateral relations, the two sides also discussed the regional situation.
While lauding the recent debate in the British House of Commons on the human rights situation in Jammu & Kashmir, the foreign minister apprised his British counterpart of human rights violations being committed by the Indian occupation forces in J&K.
He hoped that UK would play its due role in this regard. A dossier documenting evidence of over 3000 war crimes perpetrated by the Indian occupation forces was also shared.
Foreign Minister Qureshi apprised his British counterpart of the situation in Afghanistan, and Pakistan’s hopes and expectations from the dispensation in Kabul.
Qureshi said Pakistan’s immediate concern was to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Pakistan had set up a humanitarian corridor and was extending all possible assistance to support the Afghan people.
Pakistan had also facilitated evacuation of a large number of foreign nationals and Afghans wishing to leave. Pakistan was willing to act as a hub for humanitarian support to Afghanistan., he added.
Qureshi urged the international community not to repeat past mistakes, and to engage constructively with the Taliban.
The foreign minister extended Secretary Truss an invitation to visit Pakistan in connection with the 5th review session of the Pakistan-UK Enhanced Strategic Dialogue, which she accepted.
The meeting marks the second occasion within a month the two sides have met at the foreign ministers’ level.
UK, Pakistan to form joint working group
Pakistan and the United Kingdom Tuesday agreed to form a Joint Working Group to formulate a strategy for strengthening bilateral ties in multiple spheres including trade and investment.
The bilateral ties were discussed during a meeting between Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and UK Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women and Equality Elizabeth Truss wherein the former put forward a proposal for formation of a joint working group.
Following the meeting, the foreign minister told media that the Secretary of State accepted his proposal for joint working group so that the two countries could mutually assist each other in strengthening bilateral ties.
He said by next years, the two countries would complete 75 years of diplomatic ties so both the sides stressed the need to further strengthen the ties including trade.
Qureshi also invited his British counterpart to visit Pakistan which she accepted to attend the Fifth Round of Pakistan-UK Strategic Dialogue.
He said both the sides discussed bilateral ties, Afghanistan as well as the situation in J&K besides the bilateral cooperation. The foreign minister thanked UK for continuing GSP Plus facility for Pakistan which resulted into improvement of bilateral trade by 32% last year despite COVID pandemic.
Qureshi also suggested to exploit the potential of 1.6 million Pakistani diaspora in UK to enhance trade and investment. He said last year, Pakistan had received record remittances of $4 billion from UK for what he thanked the British Pakistani community as well as the UK government for its positive role.
The foreign minister also handed over a copy of “well researched” dossier to Secretary of State in which Pakistan had documented over 3000 cases of human rights abuses in J&K what he said fell in the category of war crimes.
He said the Indian actions in the occupied territory were also the violation of Fourth Geneva Convention as the country was carrying out a demographic re-engineering to convert the Muslim majority state into a Muslim minority territory.
Lauding the UK’s advocacy for human rights, Qureshi said its application should not be selected or in one part of the world as the human rights abuses were being overlooked in J&K.
The foreign minister told media that the two sides also mulled over the ways to attract British Pakistani investment in Pakistan. He also briefed media about his meetings with the MPs of conservative party as well as the leaders of Pakistani community during the visit.