–Qureshi says US State Dept’s handout on Pompei phone call was contrary to facts
–Asad Umar says no decision yet on approaching IMF for financial bailout
ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Tuesday said Pakistan wishes to improve its relationship with the Unites States.
“Pakistan desires to improve its bilateral relations with the US,” he said while addressing the Senate.
“Weightage will be given to the opinion of people and its elected representatives while taking forward relations with Washington,” he added.
“US State Department readout regarding the phone call was contrary to facts,” he said in reference to the telephone conversation between Prime Minister Imran Khan and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“The conversation between PM Imran and Pompeo was cordial and constructive in nature,” he added, informing the Senate that Pompeo is scheduled to visit Pakistan on September 5.
Qureshi emphasised the connection between national security and foreign policy.
“Political differences should be kept aside on national security and foreign policy matters.”
He said given the challenges faced by the country, unity will give strength to the nation’s voice and that Parliament’s guidance will be sought in the formulation of foreign policies.
“The US certainly has differences with Pakistan,” said Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Senator Raza Rabbani.
“However, we will not allow the US secretary of state to tell PM Imran to ‘do more’,” he added.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Asad Umar said that no decision has been taken on whether to approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout package, adding that Parliament will be taken on board over the matter.
“Even if Pakistan goes to the IMF programme, this won’t be the first time that Pakistan has gone to the IMF programme. We have gone to the programme 12 times previously,” he said.
Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari said that the government intends to raise the issue of water with India. He informed the Senate that India is bound by the Indus Water Treaty.
“India has constructed dams in violation of the Indus Water Treaty,” she said.
Adviser on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan also focused on water issues with Afghanistan, saying that Pakistan has approached the country to sign a water agreement but has not yet received a response.
Water flow to Pakistan is likely to be affected due to construction of dams in Afghanistan, he explained.
“An Afghanistan cell has been established in the office of Pakistan Commissioner for Indus Waters which collects data through difference sources and monitoring inflows on the common rivers with Afghanistan,” he said.
“This is an important energy project and a company has been constituted to oversee its construction,” said Minister for Petroleum Division Ghulam Sarwar Khan in reference to Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) Pipeline. He added that TAPI project will be completed under the current government’s tenure.