Pakistan’s new Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that war with India is not an option.
Qureshi,who is attending the UN General Assembly session in New York, told Al Jazeera news network, ‘There is no military solution. The only solution is a dialogue.’’
Talking about Pakistan-India relations, he referred back to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s first public address on July 26, in which he said, “You take one step towards peace, we will take two,” and pointed to Prime Minister Khan’s subsequent requests for constructive, peaceful dialogue with India as part of the new government’s approach.
“What we did.. we thought made sense. Two neighbours with outstanding issues, atomic powers. How do you fix things? War is no option. There is no military solution. The only solution is a dialogue,’’ Al Jazeera quoted him as saying.
Qureshi acknowledged that another priority of the new government will be to address internal corruption and foreign debt and to the use of Pakistan’s resources for “human development, the most valuable asset of Pakistan, the people of the country, we haven’t invested enough in education, in health.”
He spoke to Al Jazeera about the challenges and options facing a new government, which is led by a political party that’s never governed and a new prime minister who’s never held political office.
On allegations of aiding the Taliban, Foreign Minister Qureshi said that previous Pakistani governments had been “helping their own country. They were helping overcome a situation which was not of their own creation. Who were these people? Who supported them? Who trained them? We forget history and at times we overlook that friends change. People that you support, some of the people, were called extremists. Weren’t they invited to the US? Weren’t they entertained in the White House? So, friends change. Circumstances change. We were just defending and protecting ourselves.”
Though Foreign Minister Qureshi expressed that the US, as a global power, expects “special treatment”, Pakistan does hope “to be friends” with the US, while exercising its option to cultivate relations with China and others: