ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said on Thursday that US President Donald Trump’s new policy on South Asia was a non-starter.

Chairing a federal cabinet meeting here, the premier said that Pakistan will not compromise on its integrity and sovereignty.

Abbasi, quoted by a participant of the meeting, said that India tried every bit to target Pakistan at the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) summit in Xiamen but China failed New Delhi’s bids. He said the outfits named in the BRICS declaration had already been banned by Pakistan.

Sources told The Nation that the federal cabinet also discussed the upcoming the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session where the PM will lead the Pakistani delegation and will deliver a speech.

Abbasi told the ministers that he will raise at the UNGA the Kashmir issue and India’s interference in Pakistan’s internal matters.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Abbasi presided over the concluding session of the envoys’ conference in which the recommendations put forward by the participants for a new foreign policy were finalized.

Addressing the participants, PM Abbasi reiterated that there was no military solution to the Afghanistan issue. “Trump’s new Afghan policy will fail. We will not allow bringing the war into Pakistan,” he said. The premier stressed that India must be stopped from using Afghan soil against Pakistan.

The conference which started on September 5 discussed important foreign policy matters in the aftermath of Trump’s policy on Afghanistan and South Asia .

The cabinet, according to the sources, decided that Pakistan should enhance contacts with the regional countries, especially Russia to put pressure on the US.

“The cabinet acknowledged China’s friendship and decided to reach out to other countries to diplomatically compete with India as Trump was clearly siding with New Delhi,” a cabinet member told The Nation.

He said that Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif’s visit to China, Russia, and other countries before the UNGA trip was aimed at strengthening ties with the regional powers.

Asif flew to Beijing on Thursday to discuss the foreign policy and the future strategy. He will hold talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi today (September 8) and is expected to exchange views on Trump’s speech. The foreign minister will also visit Russia, Iran, and Turkey before joining PM Abbasi at the UNGA.

The cabinet also passed a resolution against Myanmar on the Rohingya Muslims’ genocide. The resolution read: “The government of Pakistan condemns the cold-blooded and callous genocide of innocent Rohingya Muslims, including women, children and even infants under the direct patronage of state institutions of Myanmar.”

It added: “The brutal and barbaric acts perpetrated against the unarmed civilian population not only constitute state terrorism but also question the collective human conscience across nations and societies. These atrocities have also revealed the appalling hypocrisy of the democratic leadership of Myanmar.”

The resolution said: “We call upon Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to take immediate steps to stop the atrocities being committed in Myanmar where her party is in power. We also call upon the United Nations to take the lead, which it must under its mandate, in stopping immediately the genocide of Rohingya Muslims by Myanmar.”

The cabinet also approved the agenda items including ratification of the Air Services Agreement between Pakistan and Belarus.

It granted ex-post facto approval, in principle, to start the negotiation and approval to sign the memorandum of understanding between Pakistan and Senegal for cooperation in the field of higher education and research, said an official statement issued after the meeting.

Ex-post facto approval of the cabinet was granted to start negotiations and signing of an agreement on industrial, scientific and technical cooperation between Belarus and Pakistan.

The cabinet approved to amend the existing convention between Pakistan and Finland for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income for up-gradation of the article on exchange of information.

Approval was granted to amend the existing convention between Italy and Pakistan for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income for updating of the article on exchange of information.

The cabinet approved to amend the existing convention between Pakistan and Turkey for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income for updating of the article on exchange of information.

The cabinet approved to sign the protocol amending the convention between Pakistan and Bahrain for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income.

The cabinet also approved the appointment of Justice Muhammad Saleem Jessar as Judge Special Appellate Court under Section 46(1) of the prevention of smuggling Act, 1977 in the province of Sindh.


 

SHAFQAT ALI