KARACHI: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Friday said the leaders of PPP, MQM and other parties also faced jails and hardship but they always stood for democracy, without resorting to violence. He was speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony of the K-IV water supply project here.
Bilawal said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was keenly focusing on the development of Sindh, particularly Karachi. He said two major political parties of Karachi voted for the prime minister and his government enjoyed a ‘super majority’ in Sindh. He said the people of Sindh also pinned hopes on the prime minister for resolution of their issues. Bilawal said the K-IV project faced a huge delay and Karachi needed ‘Shehbaz Speed’ for resolution of its issues.
Regarding the floods, the foreign minister said concerted efforts were needed for the rehabilitation of the people in Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, south Punjab and other areas, including the metropolises. He said around 52 percent of Sindh’s educational infrastructure had been damaged by the floods, impacting the education of around 47 percent population.
Bilawal Friday called on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif here at the Chief Minister’s House and discussed the overall political situation in the country. The meeting was also attended by federal ministers Syed Naveed Qamar, Syed Faisal Sabzwari, Marriyum Aurangzeb, State Minister Dr Musaddiq Malik, Sindh Governor Kamran Tessori, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and MQM leader Dr Farooq Sattar.
Earlier on Thursday, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari informed the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs that the decision to participate in the SCO summit held in the Indian city of Goa had proved productive and positive for Pakistan. “As far as the Kashmir issue, bilateral issues between Pakistan and India and the responsibilities of multilateralism are concerned, my conclusion after the trip is that it was a productive and positive decision to participate in the event,” he said. “We thought, we should project Pakistan’s case and point of view in front of not only Indians but also the other participant countries,” he informed the committee. “It was also decided not to provide an open opportunity to India. It was a difficult decision to participate in the event and a lot of work was done by the foreign ministry to evolve a consensus in that regard.”
The minister said former foreign secretaries, leaders of allied parties and other stakeholders had been taken on board for their feedback on participation in the event in India. “SCO is a multilateral forum and it provided opportunities to hold meetings with the world leadership and project Pakistan’s point of view on various points,” he added. Bilawal said the second point considered for attending the event was that Pakistan’s all-weather friends China and Russia were the founders of this organization. He said the SCO had provided an opportunity to highlight Pakistan’s narrative, as it was the Indian objective to abuse this important forum.
He said Pakistan had effectively responded to the Indian narrative of linking terrorism with Pakistan, Muslims and Kashmiris. “The event provided an opportunity to make them understand that I am the son of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto who became a victim of terrorism. The people of Pakistan are most affected by terrorism,” he added.
“It is our principled stance that we will not seek a meeting with our Indian counterpart,” he added. He was of the view that the SCO meeting also provided an opportunity to interact with the Indian people, senior anchors and media persons and counter the Indian narrative of linking terrorism with Pakistan and Muslims. He said that Pakistan would host the SCO conference in 2026-2027 and there was hope the Indian counterpart would attend the meeting.
Regarding Afghanistan, he said after the takeover of the interim Afghanistan government, terrorist attacks in Pakistan had increased. The issue of Afghanistan had also been discussed with the participants of SCO conference during sideline meetings. About relations with Saudi Arabia and Iran, he appreciated the role of China in bringing the two countries closer. “China has proved itself as a superpower and peacemaker,” he added. He said that improved relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia would also bring a positive effect on Pakistan. He said the Indian decision to hold the Group of 20 Youth and Tourism convention in Indian-Occupied Kashmir was condemnable. He said that during his stay in India, he told the Indians that they would not achieve 100 percent participation because the meeting was being held in a disputed area.