APP03-13 MULTAN: December 13 – Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi. APP

MULTAN, Dec 13 (APP)::Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has welcomed an agreement with Switzerland about exchange of information for repatriation of the looted money stashed abroad, and termed it crucial for improving ongoing accountability process in the country.

Talking to the media here on Friday, he said that Switzerland would provide information about Pakistani account holders. The government would have no objection over keeping money in any country if the account-holders would prove their sources of income, money

trail and the use of legal channel for sending money abroad.
He said that US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad updated him about all matters relating to Afghan peace process and recent delegation-level talks between the United States and Afghan Taliban in a meeting at Foreign Office on Friday. He said that Pakistan always maintained a stance that there was no military solution to the Afghan conflict, adding that peace in Afghanistan was not only in favour of Pakistan but it would also be beneficial for the region.

Qureshi noted that Pakistan always supported sustainable peace in Afghanistan and it would continue efforts for the purpose. “Pakistan would continue playing its reconciliatory role with sincerity,” he added.

He said that Pakistan did not interfere in the recent presidential elections in Afghanistan, and it facilitated the neighboring country by opening Torkham boarder round-the-clock. He said that inter-Afghan dialogue was also needed after any agreement between US and Afghan Taliban for sustained peace in that country.

Qureshi said that Pakistan always tried to ensure unity in the Muslim Ummah as it was facing numerous challenges including Islamophobia, blasphemous caricature issues and the recent Indian Citizen Amendment Bill, which reflected discriminatory attitude with the Muslim community in that country. He said that Pakistan enjoyed cordial ties with all Muslim countries.

The Foreign Minister said that he called on newly-appointed foreign minister of Saudi Arabia in which he had updated him about the ongoing curfew in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K) from last 135 days and human rights violations in the occupied valley. He said that Pakistan had been convincing the international community on IOJ&K issue, adding that it has been discussed in the US Congress and Europian Union also.

He said that American Senator Lindsey Graham was arriving in Pakistan on Dec 16 to discus different issues with him including Kashmir issue.

Qureshi said that despite differences among political parties on various issues, defending country’s interests must be their top priority.

Answering a question, the Foreign Minister said that ongoing clash between lawyers and doctors was being tackled by the local administration and there was no interference by the federal government. He said that both parties were educated and sensible, adding that the issue must be resolved in peaceful manner because clash would affect the common man.
To another question, he said that Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Fazl-ur-Rehman had the right to say anything, but his dream of in-house change was not going to materialize.

To yet another question, the FM said that senior leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Jehangir Khan Tareen and he himself were on the same
page on establishment of south Punjab sub-secretariat as soon as possible for facilitation of people of south Punjab. He said that Multan would be more suitable place for the secretariat as compared to other cities, adding that the suggestion was justified keeping in view the location importance and population of Multan.

Responding to another question, he said that a parliamentary committee had been formed to reach consensus on appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner, adding that mature parliamentarians were members of the committee from the government and opposition. He said that all political parties should display positive attitude on the issue because free and fair election commission was a must for true democracy in the country.

He said that the government was waiting for a detailed judgment of the Supreme Court on extension to Chief of Army Staff (COAS). He said that the nation was united on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project and its completion would be beneficial not only for Pakistan but also for the region.

Earlier, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi attended the Chehlum of his cousin Riaz Hussain Qureshi and prayed for the departed soul. Among others, Parliamentary Secretary on Finance Zain Hussain Qureshi also participated.