Pakistan rejects meeting with Indian external affairs Minister at sidelines of SCO conference

Pakistan rejects meeting with Indian external affairs Minister at sidelines of SCO conference

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan on Thursday strongly rejected the ongoing arms race in the region, however said it was ready to thwart any threat to its stability.

“In case of any external threat, we and our forces are ready to give a befitting response,” Foreign Office Spokesman Muhammad Faisal said in response to a question on India’s recent $5 billion deal to purchase S-400 missile system from Russia.

The Spokesman at a weekly press briefing here said the government had a stated position on this issue and its manifesto clearly emphasized directing resources to human and economic development.

He said Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi would represent the country at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s (SCO) 17th Council of Head of Government Meeting in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on October 11-12. When asked about any chance of meeting between the foreign ministers of Pakistan and India during the SCO conclave, the Spokesman said Pakistan would not again make a request for any such meeting.

He recalled that Prime Minister Imran Khan had formally sent a letter to his Indian counterpart for the two foreign ministers’ meeting at the UN General Assembly Forum and said that “Pakistan would not repeatedly make such requests”. He regretted that India was reluctant to hold talks with Pakistan and was avoiding discussing several important issues.

“On the other hand, Pakistan is not shying away from anything and is not running any secret policy,” he said.

The Spokesman said new Attorney General would lead the case of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jhadav at the public hearing by International Court of Justice (ICJ) on February 18-19, 2019. He termed as “sham” the local body elections in Indian held Kashmir and also highlighted the continuous human rights violations in the valley. On Saudi Arabia’s inclusion in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Spokesman said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia held discussions on the matter, however details had not been worked out.

He clarified that both China and Pakistan were open to the third-party inclusion in the project, however said that “the agreement was not being reviewed”.

Whether Pakistan was going to play a mediatory role in Middle East conflict, the Spokesman said Pakistan was ready to play such role subject to request by the parties, which so far, had not been made.