During his one-day stay in Washington, Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mehmood Qureshi emphasised the significance of overseas Pakistanis in the United States (US), urging the diaspora to keep making crucial contributions for the wellness of their homeland.
The foreign minister reached Washington DC on Saturday before departing to New York to attend United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session.
The foreign minister visited Pakistan’s embassy in Washington and met members of the business community and journalists.
While addressing an interactive session of Pakistani-American community at the embassy, FM Qureshi stated that Prime Minister Imran Khan is keen to engage with the Pakistani-Americans because “he knows and appreciates their strengths and contributions.”
“Despite myriad challenges, we would do our best to come up to the expectations of the people of Pakistan as well as overseas Pakistanis,” he added.
Qureshi said that overseas Pakistanis want to see a positive change in the country. He thanked the community for lending their support to the Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
“Overseas Pakistanis want a better governed Pakistan with primacy of the rule of law,” he added.
“We will do our best to come up to the expectations of the people of Pakistan as well as overseas Pakistanis,” Qureshi said.
The foreign minister endorsed the idea of across the board accountability, adding that the PTI government will encourage exports and formulate policies to encourage investments in Pakistan. He rejected the practice of political victimisation and supported a fair process.
ASKS PEOPLE TO SUPPORT DAMS FUND:
He also urged the Pakistani-Americans to contribute generously towards the dam fund in order to tackle the impending water crisis in the country.
The foreign minister said that the government has mobilised a campaign to build the Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams.
“We are determined to address the urgent issues of water scarcity in Pakistan and we need you to contribute to this noble cause,” he added.
After the meeting, he tweeted, “Today, I had the privilege of interacting with many highly accomplished Pakistan Americans whose hearts still beat for their motherland. While they enrich American Society, they retain deep emotional ties with Pakistan. We are proud of them!”
The foreign minister maintained that the Pakistani delegation led by PM Imran Khan in Saudi Arabia did not go to ask money from the kingdom, stressing that the issues of mutual cooperation came under discussion.
He expressed disappointment at India’s overnight flip-flop to hold foreign ministers meeting in the sidelines of UNGA session.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan in his very first message after his election win offered India that if they took one step towards peace Pakistan would take two more,” he reaffirmed.
FM Qureshi told the journalists that his meetings with the counterparts of Iran, Saudi Arabia and UAE were a stepping stone for the country’s bilateral relations.
On Monday, Qureshi will head to New York to attend 73rd session of UNGA-which opened on September 18-where he will lead Pakistan’s delegation.
Talking about this week’s schedule of the foreign minister in the US, Pakistan’s Ambassador at the UN Maleeha Lodhi said that he will have around 40 engagements, including over 20 bilateral meetings with his counterparts from different countries. “Qureshi will address to the UNGA on September 29,” she tweeted.
ON POMPEO MEETING:
Further, the foreign minister is expected to meet his American counterpart, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, during this US visit.
Regarding his meeting with Pompeo, he has said that his second meeting with the Trump administration’s top diplomat will play a key role “in taking forward bilateral relations”.
The foreign minister said that an impasse in Pakistan-US relations had been broken during the first round of talks with the secretary of state in his visit to Islamabad.
On Friday night, Qureshi left for the US to attend 73rd session of UNGA. Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua is accompanying the foreign minister in the long-week visit to UN’s headquarter in New York.
Qureshi will present Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir issue among others at UNGA session.