MULTAN, Dec 25 (APP): Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi Thursday expressed the hope that India would not commit the mistake of carrying out surgical strikes.
“We will be compelled to respond if it happens,” he said while talking to the reporters upon arrival at the airport on Thursday. To a question whether possibility of war can be ruled out, the FM said, “if you are asking me, I am not ruling out anything. But if war is imposed, we will respond to it like a brave, self‑respected and self‑esteemed nation”.
He said “I want to give a message to India that we are the torch‑bearers of peace and remain committed to our desire for peace”
“Contrary to our reasonable, cooperative and non‑aggressive attitude, some elements from India were issuing provocative statements” , he added.
“But we do not feel the need to do this. We have confidence on ourselves and we rely on the Almighty.”
FM said, Pakistan condemns terrorism and wants to expose those involved in terrorism and had already promised cooperation in this regard.
“We have also conveyed our grief to the families of those who had lost their loved ones in Mumbai attacks”, FM said. He added that “we will not resort to provocation while remaining committed to cooperation but at the same time we will also not tolerate any pressure”.
He said ,”we want to give a message that the whole nation stands united and knows how to defend the geographical boundaries of the motherland”.
He said, “We should not be complacent.” “Hope for the best but be prepared for the worst,” FM said adding that Pakistan is vigilant, and its armed forces are also vigilant.
To a question on reports of evacuation of civilians from Rajistan deserts, FM said that as far as the mobilization situation on the ground is concerned, the situation is not what it was in 2001. “But situation keeps changing and we will prepare a strategy after examining any change.”
FM said, “We are continuously monitoring situation on the ground and in the air. Our Air Force and armed forces are on alert.”
The Foreign Minister said that he will have a tele‑conference with his Chinese counterpart on Friday, (Dec 26), and different matters will come under discussion during the interaction.
He said that he has put forward a proposal before the President and the PM to send envoys to capitals of foreign countries to projetct Pakistan’s point of view.
He said he has suggested that delegations should comprise political parties’ representatives and seasoned diplomats so that a national message could be delivered from Pakistan.
He said that the proposal was under consideration.
The Foreign Minister said that Paksiatn has been making efforts from the day one to de‑escalate the situation and maintaining a soft tone while projecting its principled stance.
He lauded elected representatives for passing a unanimous resolution in the National Assembly. He said that Foreign Office had consulted all the political parties and made adjustments in the draft to give a message to India that nation stands united.
To a question, he said Pakistan was projecting its point of view before the world in an effective manner. He said that sane and wise people across world have appreciated Pakistan’s stance.
He said that spokesman for Chinese Foreign Ministry and top Interpol officer have also appreciated Pakistan’s stance.
To a question on recent meeting of Indian envoys, he said that this meeting was not specific for Mumbai attacks as its schedule was announced much before occurrence the Mumbai attacks. Since the Mumbai incident was important, it was discussed in the meeting of Indian envoys, he added.
To a question, he said that Pakistan was in contact with the Muslim countries and other countries.
He said that all Pakistani diplomats have been directed to express Pakistan’s point of view in the capitals of the countries where they are performiong their duties.
The Foreign Minister said that intellectuals and organizations should stand united while shunning petty differences and problems.
Defence of Pakistan is our top priority and nation stands united on this one‑point agenda, he added.
Shah Mehmood said that display of unity and solidarity can serve as a deterrence.
He did not comment on a statement that his name was being considered for slot of PM and added, “Let me play the role I am assigned. Interests of Pakistan come first and persons are not important.”
“My biggest desire is that I perform my duties successfully for the country in my present capacity during these testing times and everybody should pray for it.”
To a question on reported arrest of an Indian national in Lahore blast, he expressed inability to comment without getting detailed information about the incident.
Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Pakistan enjoys good relationship with the US and added that democratic government was ready for constructive engagements with the new US government.
To a question on UN probe into assassination of martyred PPP leader Benazir Bhutto, the FM said that Pakistan had requested for UN
probe for it was not an ordinary incident. It deprived us of a leader of international stature. It damaged Pakistan’s image and was an attempt to derail the democratic process.
He said Pakistan not only wants to punish those involved in terrorist activities but also to unmask those who behind it.
We believe that terrorism is a global problem and we need help from international institutions like the UN.
He said that President Asif Ali Zardari and he himself have met the UN secretary general on the matter and positive development has taken place.
The FM said a decision has been taken to appoint an inquiry commission to probe into Benazir Bhutto’s martyrdom but the question that who will bear the expenses is yet to be decided.
He said Pakistan has offered to bear its cost, however, UN officials think it would be inappropriate to put whole burden on a single country and proposal of sharing the cost with other countries was under discussion.