Aaj TV

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Qureshi on Tuesday said Pakistan stands with Afghanistan in its efforts for peace, prosperity, reconciliation and categorically stated that it did not side with any particular stakeholder.

“We will remain partners in peace with Afghanistan and will continue to play our role as a facilitator,” the foreign minister said in a press conference held at Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that a political solution through negotiations was in the interest of Afghanistan.

He welcomed the recent ceasefire between the Taliban and Afghan government, saying that the positive development would enable a conducive environment towards negotiations.

Qureshi dismissed that Pakistan would allow any military bases on its soil in the wake of withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

“We will not allow boots on ground or allow military bases,” he said.

He assured the Afghan government and people that Pakistan wanted a strong and stable Afghanistan and “will not interfere in their internal matters”.

Speaking about Jammu and Kashmir Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Pakistan would welcome the third-party facilitation by Saudi Arabia or any other country for resumption of talks with India.

“Pakistan is ready for third-party facilitation. It is India that has always shied away from it,” Qureshi said.

Qureshi said Saudi Arabia was the friend of Pakistan and also had business ties with India, which was a big importer of Saudi oil.

“If Saudi Arabia wants to play a role (in facilitating talks), we will welcome,” he said.

He recalled that the ceasefire agreement between Pakistan and India was welcomed by the world including Saudi Arabia.

The foreign minister confirmed that there were “no formal talks” at the moment with India, however said if India wanted it to make it happen, it “must take the first step forward”.

“If India wants a meaningful dialogue with Pakistan, it has to review its policy on Kashmir and undo the revocation of their special status,” he said.

He called upon India to give relief to the Kashmiri people, who were suffering the 19-month-long military siege and the search and cordon operations, and thus “pave way for a conducive environment for talks”.

To a question regarding his recent statement on Article-370 of the India constitution, he said Pakistan was firm on its stance that “Kashmir is not an internal matter of India”.

“Pakistan has not taken any U-turn and will never do so. The dispute, which is at the agenda of United Nations Security Council with several resolutions on it, cannot be an internal matter of India,” he categorically said.

The Foreign Minister strongly condemned the Israeli violence against innocent and unarmed Palestinians. He urged the international community to mobilize its efforts to get stopped the Israeli atrocities against Palestinians and their forced evictions from their homes.

Referring to his telephonic conversation with his Turkey counterpart, the Foreign Minister said Mevlut Cavusoglu is in Saudi Arabia and during talks with the Saudi Foreign Minister today, he will propose an emergency ministerial level meeting of the OIC in order to effectively raise voice of Muslim Ummah on the Palestinian issue.

The Foreign Minister termed the recent visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Saudi Arabia as an extraordinary one saying its results will be visible in the coming days. He said an institutionalized mechanism has been put in place in order to further strengthen the bilateral relationship in different fields. He said a Saudi delegation of senior officials will visit Pakistan after Eid to build upon the discussion that took place in Jeddah. This will be followed by the visit of Saudi Foreign Minister.

Responding to a question, Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the Saudi visit defeated the designs of those elements who were trying to draw a wedge between the two fraternal countries.