Border fencing issue to be resolved through talks, diplomatic channels, says FM Qureshi

MULTAN, Jan 07 (APP): Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday said that the government has received positive response from Afghan authorities to resolve border fencing issue through diplomatic channels.

The Foreign Minister expressed these views while addressing a press conference along with Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar and PTI’s Chief Whip in National Assembly Malik Muhammad Amir Dogar at Raza hall in Multan.

Border fencing was in the interest of both Pakistan and Afghanistan to regulate and facilitate trade and regulate movement through border so that unscrupulous elements do not get any opportunity to misuse Afghanistsan or Pakistan’s land for their nefarious designs.

“It was meant to regulate movement across the border through visa and we are moving forward to that end,” he added.

Qureshi said, 94 to 95 per cent work has been completed on the border fencing and country suffered difficulties, hurdles and martyrdoms in the way.

The foreign minister said that he was hopeful that the issue would be resolved through diplomatic channels, talks.

“There were some incidents that we have taken up with the Afghan authorities, our talks were ongoing and they have given a positive response,” the FM said.

“We must not forget there are spoilers who do not wish to see the exemplary friendly relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan moving forward. They do create hurdles and would continue with it but we will thwart their nefarious plans.”

Border fencing issue to be resolved through talks, diplomatic channels, says FM Qureshi

He said that while on way to muster up support from international community to help Afghan people facing crisis situation, Pakistan has recently contacted neighbours of Afghanistan and established a new platform titled ‘The Immediate Neighbours of Afghanistan’ adding that its first meeting took place in Islamabad, another in Tehran and the third meeting was scheduled to take place in China in February.

Qureshi said, Pakistan had been making strenuous efforts in raising the serious issue of humanitarian crisis and economic collapse in Afghanistan at different forums adding that Prime Minister Imran Khan advocated the case of Afghan people at the United Nations while he himself talked to foreign ministers of different countries to initiate a global effort to save Afghan people from troubles.

This resulted into an extraordinary meeting of around 30 OIC countries’ Foreign Ministers and deputy foreign ministers on Dec 19 last year, after around four decades.

Special representatives from European Union, Canada, Germany, Australia and other important countries also attended the meeting that was organized with the sole objective of saving Afghan population including children, women from the food crisis and extreme cold and address their other troubles.

“By the grace of Almighty, we were able to get a special OIC trust formed under Islamic Development Bank, a special envoy of OIC dedicated to Afghanistan was nominated, we diverted international community’s attention towards Afghan humanitarian crisis and then at UN Security Council USA moved a resolution that was adopted to soften sanctions on humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.”

Humanitarian assistance would soon start reaching Afghanistan and the first consignment of aid announced by Pakistan has reached the neighbouring country, Qureshi said.

Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi ruled out inviting India in the OIC Foreign Minister Council meeting scheduled on Mar 22.

Responding to a question, FM Qureshi questioned, would you like to invite a country that was involved in atrocities against innocent Kashmiris in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and in creating unrest in Balochistan and other parts of Pakistan.

When asked about PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s announcement to initiate protests from Feb 27, Qureshi said that staging protest was their democratic right and government has no problem with it if they do it within the ambit of law.

He said that a good tradition of transition of power of civilian government through elections has taken roots in the country adding that PPP transferred power to PML-N in 2013 and then it was PTI that came to power in the wake of elections in 2018.

He said, he had invited Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, the Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety to Multan to aware the locals about the mega welfare initiatives of PTI government in Multan.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr, Sania Nishtar said that poverty survey has been completed and advised the people including women that those who do not have their CNICs must get their identity cards prepared from Nadra to be able to avail a variety of relief services available online to get relief.

She said that people can visit https://ehsaastracking.pass.gov.pk to get themselves registered for relief under Ehsaas Rashan programme under which they can buy Atta (wheat flour) at a low price discounted by Rs 22/kg, edible oil discounted by Rs 105 per kilogram and pulses discounted by Rs 55 per kilogram.

They can also check the status of their request on this website.

She said that 20 million families would benefit from the Ration relief initiative launched on special instructions from Prime Minister Imran Khan.

She said that a document has been sent to ministry of information technology suggesting amendments in some provisions of Pakistan Electronic Crime Act (PECA) for enhancement in punishment for those who defraud people online.

She said that government was taking concrete steps to save poor people from becoming victim of online fraud and added that she used to attend meetings with DG FIA and experts to discuss ways to strengthen online security.

She announced that system for payment of assistance to beneficiaries was being upgraded to enable them get financial assistance from multiple outlets instead of the dedicated outlets to save them from unnecessary botheration.

FM Qureshi appreciated efforts being made by Dr. Sania Nishtar in initiating and enforcing sixteen different kinds of relief mechanisms on orders of Prime Minister Imran Khan and said that Ehsaas KIfalat Programme would benefit 8 million families.

He added that it was benefiting over 160,000 families in Multan. Under ehsaas scholarship programme for students of class 1-12, 10 million students would take the benefit in its first phase, FM said.

He added that 91000 students have been registered in Multan alone while another 5087 students availed scholarships under undergraduate programme.

Foreign Minister elaborated different development projects in progress in Multan district and praised the administration on achieving 50 per cent of the fund utilization so far.

He said that 1000 sanitary workers would be recruited in the waste management company to improve city cleanliness and performance of those 1700 staffers already working would be monitored closely.