–FM hopes New Delhi will reciprocate Pakistan’s goodwill gesture of opening Kartarpur border
–Unanimously passed resolution in NA reaffirms house’s ‘commitment to undeniable rights of every individual’
ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister (FM) Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Monday said that while Pakistan was committed to bring peace in Afghanistan and facilitate a negotiated end to the 17-year-old Afghan war, it could not fulfil the task on its own and other regional countries, including India, needed to play their part.
Speaking on a point of order in the National Assembly (NA), he said the country alone could not bring peace in Afghanistan as it was a “shared responsibility” of other regional countries, including India, China, Iran and Tajikistan.
The FM informed the lower house of the parliament that a number of meetings for peace in Afghanistan had already taken place in Doha, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
He said United States (US) President Donald Trump, in a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan, had sought Islamabad’s help and asked to facilitate the peace process in Afghanistan, which he said Pakistan was already doing.
“The US special envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, also visited Pakistan thrice in this regard,” Qureshi noted.
He said when PM Khan was in the opposition, he used to say that there was no military solution to the Afghanistan conflict. “Today, there is a convergence of opinion after more than 15 years that Afghanistan needs a political settlement. All the stakeholders, including the US, Afghanistan and the Taliban, are on board.”
Speaking about relations with India, the foreign minister expressed the hope that New Delhi will reciprocate Pakistan’s goodwill gesture of taking the initiative to build the Kartarpur Corridor for Indian Sikh pilgrims.
“The opening of the Kartarpur border on Pakistan’s side has created goodwill for the country at the international level. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government of India unwillingly had to accept the Pakistani offer to open the corridor and they later approved it through a resolution in a cabinet meeting.”
Earlier, the house was informed that the government is taking several steps for the well-being of Pakistani workers in Gulf countries.
Responding to a query during the question hour, Minister of State for Communication Murad Saeed said Pakistani missions abroad were providing legal assistance to resolve issues of the expatriates.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan informed the house that a total of 2,041 families, comprising over 10,000 temporarily displaced persons (TDPs), were still residing at Baka-Khel Camp.
He said the camp was currently being used as a transit hub of TDPs who fled to Afghanistan and it will be de-commissioned as soon as areas of their return are declared safe and repatriation of these families commences.
Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Andleeb Abbas told the house that Pakistan has been continuously raising the issue of Pakistani prisoners detained in Afghanistan.
She said it was regrettable that the Afghan government had not yet provided any information regarding the number of Pakistani nationals imprisoned in Afghanistan.
She said fifteen agreements and MoUs pertaining to different sectors were recently signed between Islamabad and Beijing during PM Khan’s recent visit to China.
“The MoUs are focused on enhancing cooperation between the two countries in socio-economic development, agricultural cooperation, poverty reduction, strengthening trade and economic relations and expanding ties in science and technology, climate change and security fields.”
HUMAN RIGHTS RESOLUTION:
The house also unanimously passed a resolution in connection with the International Human Rights Day, reaffirming its “commitment to the undeniable rights of every individual”.
The resolution, which was presented by Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari, called upon the government to ensure the fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution for all citizens.
It also called for freedom of speech, including freedom of the press, and said the house believed in a dire need to reduce poverty and hunger in the country.
The resolution said the state must ensure implementation of all obligations related to the social and economic well-being of the people, adding that all political parties needed to work together for prosperity, interfaith harmony, minorities’ rights, women empowerment, sustainable development and peace.
RUCKUS IN HOUSE:
During the session, a quarrel broke out between lawmakers of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), following which NA Speaker Asad Qaiser gave all members of the lower house the “final warning”.
According to reports, PTI’s Raja Riaz mocked Opposition Leader and PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif upon the latter’s arrival in the house. Reacting to the “disgraceful remarks”, PML-N lawmakers raised slogans in favour of the party chief and against the treasury members.
Amid the brief ruckus, the NA speaker stepped in and said, “This is the final warning to all members of the parliament against breaking the decorum of the house.”
The house will now meet again Tuesday (today) at 11 am.