MULTAN               -           Foreign Minister (FM) Shah Mahmood Qureshi disclosed on Sunday Pakistan has made relentless efforts during the last one-and-a-half years to bring USA and Taliban on the table as a result of which both the countries are going to finalise a peace deal by the end of this week.

Talking to media here, Qureshi revealed that the intra-Afghan talks would begin after the success of US-Afghan dialogue. He added that the USA and Taliban would sit together on February 29 in Doha to ponder over the Afghan issue. Qureshi reiterated that some powers did not want peace in the region and, therefore, they wanted to create hurdles in the way of peace pact between US and Taliban.

“They want bomb blasts and bloodshed. We’ve told USA that we need to protect ourselves from these spoilers,” he disclosed.

He said that Pakistan convinced the world through its efforts that the solution to the Afghan issue lied in dialogue. He said that many sessions of talks took place between USA and Taliban in recent past and Pakistan played the role of a facilitator.  “If there is peace in Afghanistan, trade will increase as investments will go up in Afghanistan. It will also leave very positive impact on Pakistan,” he added.

To a query on US President Trump’s India visit, he said that he hoped Trump would talk about oppression in Kashmir and controversial citizenship bill during his tour. He expressed his hope that Trump would soon visit Pakistan too. He said that the government took Kashmir issue to the UN which was in the cold storage for the last 55 years and today this issue was under discussion in the world due to the efforts made by Pakistan. “Today the international media, human rights organizations and parliaments of the whole world are raising voice against oppression in Kashmir,” he added.

The foreign minister was of the opinion that world’s action was slow because its interests were linked to India. He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan briefed the UN Secretary General on the situation in occupied Kashmir and demanded him to play role on this issue.

He declared that Pakistan’s human rights minister would become occupied Kashmir’s voice in the upcoming human rights conference in Geneva.

He disclosed that India wanted to push Pakistan into the FATF blacklist but it was absent from FATF meeting in Paris. He claimed that the government would bring the country out of the FATF grey list after four-month efforts. He said that there was no casualty due to the Coronavirus in Pakistan. He added that Pakistan took timely steps against the virus outbreak besides expressing solidarity with China on this issue. He said that the Prime Minister Imran Khan has recently talked to the Chinese President during which China announced that Pakistanis would be looked after like their own nationals.

He said that Pakistan had concerns on reportage of Coronavirus cases in Iran and minister of religious affairs was in contact with Iran.

Responding to a question, he said that the speculation regarding end of government was Bilawal’s personal opinion. “Those giving deadlines to oust the government should look at themselves first. Sindh is under PPP rule for the last one decade and what is the condition of Sindh. Media should go into interior Sindh and see the situation there,” he suggested. He said that Punjab was under N League rule for the last three decades. “Had they solved all problems of Punjab?” he posed a question.

He asked the critics to let the PTI government accomplish its tenure, adding that it was responsibility of democratic institutions to let the elected government complete its term. He said that there was no doubt that sugar and wheat flour prices increased in the country, however, the prime minister had formed a committee to investigate into this crisis. He said that the government announced Rs. 15 billion grant to the Utility Stores to give relief to the people.

He said that the prime minister kicked off the Ehsaas Programme from Layyah and soon a comprehensive policy for the programme would be announced.  He said that the programme was meant to support those living below the poverty line and bring them out of poverty. He said that one year of Indian attack on Pakistan would complete on February 26 and the Prime Minister would address the nation on this day to pay tribute to the heroes of the nation.