MULTAN - Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Saturday the IMF would have to show flexibility in its behaviour, saying the government did not want to put any burden on people.

Talking to the media men here, he added that after announcement of financial support from brotherly countries, the IMF should show flexibility. He said that it was PTI government’s policies that the strain in relations with the UAE ended and it had announced three-billion-dollar aid package. He added that Saudi Arabia had already announced an aid and oil package worth $12 billion for Pakistan.

He declared that the Crown Prince of UAE would visit Pakistan in first week of January while Saudi Crown Prince intended to visit Pakistan in February.

He claimed that the results of China and Malaysia visits would soon be before the nation. He said that the PTI government found itself stuck in a quagmire of financial issues right after coming into power but it did not want to put any burden on the people.

He said that the foreign ministry was striving to uplift national economy through economic diplomacy and a two-day conference would be held on December 27-28 which would be attended by the envoys of those 11 countries which could make heavy investment in Pakistan. He disclosed that Prime Minister Imran Khan would present his vision before economic experts and the ambassadors of these 11 countries to make Pakistan an attractive place for investment. He hoped that the conference would leave far-reaching impacts and boost foreign investment in Pakistan.

He claimed that a visible change had taken place in foreign ministry after just first three nmonths of the government. He said that the PTI government believed in practical steps rather than making mere claims. He said that the government had put country’s foreign policy on the right track.

Responding to a question, Qureshi said withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan will lead to peace in the war-torn country. He said that withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan was one of the major demands of Afghan Taliban. He said the new development will boost Afghan peace process.

He disclosed that Pakistan played an arbitrary role for peace in Afghanistan and he visited Afghanistan twice for this purpose. He said that the final decision for peace in Afghanistan was to be made by the Afghans.

He said that the USA had expressed its willingness to hold talks with Taliban and few sessions regarding talks had taken place in Abu Dhabi. He hoped that the recent Abu Dhabi activity would produce positive results. He revealed that Pakistan had released some Taliban leaders to facilitate the talks.

Referring to Kashmir, he said that Pakistan highlighted Indian barbarianism and violation of human rights in Kashmir. He added that Prime Minister Imran Khan recently telephoned UN Secretary General to get stopped violations of human rights in Occupied Kashmir. He said that Pakistan had been saying since the day first that Kashmir issue could not be resolved with force and UN Human Rights Commission had also endorsed Pakistan’s stance.

He claimed that Pak-US relations improved after PTI’s coming into power. He said that there was no truth in reports regarding release of Dr Shakil Afridi against the release of Dr Aafiya Siddiqui.

Separate budget for South Punjab

To a query on South Punjab province, he said that the government was sincere in making the province as it would further strengthen the federation. He added that good governance in Punjab was subject to its division into two provinces. He said that the PTI believed in devolution of power and it wanted to transfer powers from centre to provinces and provinces to districts. “But we need to chalk out administrative and constitutional line of action for creating the province,” he noted.

He declared that the government would set up an administrative secretariat in South Punjab and allocate separate budget for this region. He added that the South Punjab sub-secretariat would become functional by next financial year. He said that the creation of South Punjab province required practical measures and not mere political point-scoring.

He said that those political parties, which did not want to create South Punjab province, had raised the issue of Bahawalpur province to create hurdles in way of the province. “But we’ll not let them accomplish their plans. People of Bahawalpur are our brothers and we’ll convince them through talks to develop consensus on the province,” he added.

Answering another question, he said that the government wanted to check mega corruption and flight of capital worth billions to foreign countries. “Work on this task is underway. We’ll bring back our looted money,” he caimed.

About Nawaz Sharif’s conviction, he said that saying anything on this topic was premature. He added that the judiciary was independent while accountability process is nfree and transparent.