Pak ties with India
‘particularly complicated’
due to New Delhi’s
actions in Kashmir: Bilawal


UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said there was little scope for dialogue with India as he denounced its “racist” actions in occupied Kashmir.

“As far as the question of our relationship with India is concerned, it is particularly complicated” by New Delhi’s actions in Kashmir – firstly the August 5, 2019 decision to unilaterally annex Jammu and Kashmir and now the delimitation commission move aimed at turning the disputed state’s Muslim majority into a minority, he told a press conference at the UN Headquarters in New York on Thursday before his departure for Islamabad.

“Having said that, we are very cognizant of the fact that economic activity, dialogue, diplomacy are ultimately the ways and means for countries to engage with each other and resolve disputes,” the foreign minister said in reply to a question.

“I just note that, particularly at the moment, given this aggressive, hostile behaviour, the practical space for that happening is very limited,” he said.

NEW YORK: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari talking to newsmen in New York.

Bilawal was visiting the United Nations for a ministerial meeting on food security and met on the sidelines on Wednesday, among others, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Replying to a question, he said he would like to pivot away from single-issue transactional relationship with the United States as he seeks to repair ties with Washington.

“Our relationship with the United States has been coloured too much by the geopolitical context in our region, and particularly by the events and circumstances in Afghanistan,” the foreign minister said.
“We would like to pivot away from a transactory relationship, a one point agenda relationship, to a more broad-based relationship with a particular emphasis on trade,” he said a day after meeting the U.S. Secretary of State.

Addresses at UN

Pakistan Thursday urged the United Nations to provide leadership to deal with the root causes of food insecurity that has been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, and conflict, as old disputes, like Kashmir, fester and new ones emerge.

NEW YORK: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari addresses at UN.

“It is indeed the United Nations which has been founded for this very purpose – to resolve conflicts; to end wars; to make peace; to battle hunger, poverty and desperation,” Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari told the UN Security Council.

Speaking in the open debate on “Conflict and Food Security”, he roundly criticized India’s annexation of Jammu and Kashmir, in violation of UN resolutions, and its atrocities against the oppressed Kashmiri people.

“The actions of the 05 of August 2019 and the 05 of May 2022 by India in Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir is not only an assault on the people of Kashmir, but is an assault on the United Nations, it is an assault on the Security Council and its resolutions and the Fourth Geneva Convention,” the foreign minister said.

“The inaction of this body as the internationally recognized disputed status of the region is undermined. The inaction of this forum while the Muslim majority of Kashmiris are being turned into a minority in their own land, in their own home, leads the youth of Kashmir to question that who will resolve this conflict? Who will deliver the peace they were promised?

“We challenge those that worry about food security, resolve the Kashmir dispute. Open the doors to peace in South Asia and watch how the farmers of Pakistan and India can feed the world,” FM Bilawal added.

With rising great power rivalries, political dialogue has frequently frozen, and often, this Security Council, has been paralyzed, he said. “Old conflicts have festered; and new conflicts have emerged – eroding the edifice of the world order established 76 years ago by the principles of the UN charter.”

Meeting with Sheila Jackson

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari while thanking US Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), for her keen interest in strengthening Pakistan-US ties, invited her and the Congressional Caucus to visit Pakistan.

In a meeting with her here Thursday, on the sidelines of ‘Global Food Security Call for Action’ and the Security Council’s open debate on ‘Maintenance of International Peace and Security Conflict and Food Security, the foreign minister also lauded Congresswoman Jackson for her outstanding leadership of the US Congressional Pakistan Caucus.

The congresswoman appreciated the vision of Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari for advancing Pakistan-US relations.

US Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)

Appreciating the work of the congresswoman, the foreign minister said that she was the greatest advocate of Pakistan-US relations.

He said that he would pursue engagement with the US and soon visit Washington DC to unlock the true potential of the bilateral ties.

He noted that ties between Pakistan and the US had cemented through enhanced interaction and exchanges between the leadership, parliamentarians, students and people to people contacts.

Foreign Minister Bilawal and the congresswoman discussed cooperation in climate change, CT, humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan and ease of travel between Pakistan and the US.

The foreign minister said that Pakistan was committed to promoting entrepreneurship and protecting women rights and democracy. Congresswoman Jackson said that she would fully support the foreign minister’s endeavors and continue to highlight Pakistan’s efforts for women empowerment, fostering democracy and stability.

Meeting with Congressman Ami Bera

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said that Pakistan and the US have a mutual desire to further strengthen their partnership and promote frequent exchanges between the lawmakers of the two countries.

He made these remarks in conversation with Congressman Ami Bera, chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee on Asia and the Pacific, according to a statement issued by the Foreign Office on Thursday.

The foreign minister said that sustained engagement with the US Congress was essential for giving support to Pakistan-US ties, which had stood the test of time.

Congressman Ami Bera appreciated the foreign minister’s proactive outreach to enhance Pakistan-US relations and thanked Pakistan for facilitating evacuations from Afghanistan. He said that a stable Afghanistan was in the mutual interest of both the US and Pakistan.

The foreign minister highlighted the urgency of addressing the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.

China visit

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is scheduled to visit China on May 21-22, at the special invitation of State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

This will be the Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s first bilateral visit abroad since assuming office last month.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar and senior officials will be part of the foreign minister’s delegation.

During the visit, the foreign minister will hold extensive consultations with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

The two leaders will review the entire gamut of bilateral relations, with a particular focus on stronger trade and economic cooperation between Pakistan and China.

Fast-tracked progress on the transformational China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, flagship project of President Xi Jinping’s visionary Belt and Road Initiative, will also feature in the discussions.

The two sides will also have wide-ranging exchange of views on major regional and international issues.

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s visit will also coincide with the 71st anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and China.