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Ex-Interior Minister slams Pakistan’s foreign policy

Former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan continued his onslaught against his own party’s government on Wednesday, criticising Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and the Foreign Office for not showing even ‘ceremonial displeasure’ against the September 15 US drone strike in Pakistani territory.

Speaking in the National Assembly, he also criticised the government for its failure on the foreign policy front against the backdrop of a declaration recently adopted by a forum comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS). He said the country’s diplomats in foreign missions appeared to have failed to counter India’s moves to malign Pakistan at the international level.

Taking part in a debate on the atrocities being committed against the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader said he first wanted to express his views about the drone attack carried out by the United States, the declaration adopted by the five major emerging national economies and Pakistan’s response to these developments.

“The BRICS declaration took all of us by surprise. It seems Pakistani diplomats were in deep slumber when developments to this effect were in progress,” he said, adding that diplomats’ work also included gathering information and intelligence related to the national interest so that the country could take the right decisions at the right time.

He said that because of timely moves by Pakistan, India had failed despite all its efforts to make the names of Pakistani banned organisations part of the proceedings of last year’s BRICS meeting hosted by it.

“This year the BRICS annual meeting was held in a friendly country, China, which shares all information with Pakistan. But neither Pakistani diplomats nor the Foreign Office had any timely information about this development,” he said.

He said Prime Minister Abbasi had recently held a meeting with diplomats but it was not sufficient and all those responsible for this failure should be held accountable. “Diplomacy is a 24-hour job. It’s not done in the aftermath of some event.”

He said it was surprising for him that just a day after the drone strike the US ambassador called on PM Abbasi but none of the government authorities had found it suitable to condemn the incident.

“Drone strikes are a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty. To my knowledge Pakistan has not condemned the attack even in a usual manner,” he said.

He also suggested that the House should send a letter of appreciation to the United Kingdom’s opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn for his support to Pakistan in the context of the war against terrorism. Nisar said Corbyn had sided with Pakistan in this testing time and asked the world to not shift the whole blame of its failure in Afghanistan onto Pakistan.

Earlier, responding to a calling attention notice regarding display of anti-Pakistan posters in Geneva, Minister for States and Frontier Regions Abdul Qadir Baloch said Pakistan had taken up the issue with Swiss authorities and handed over a demarche to the country’s ambassador.

Following a detailed debate, the House unanimously adopted a resolution condemning ongoing violence and grave human rights violations against Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar and called it genocide. The resolution moved by Law Minister Zahid Hamid reaffirmed the Charter of the United Nations, including the Principle of Humanitarian Intervention and International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights as well as Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

The minister also read out a statement released by the Foreign Office to express solidarity with the Rohingya Muslims and urge the international community to support the victims.

The resolution called upon the international community, especially the Human Rights Council, to urge the Myanmar government to ensure the realisation of the rights of Rohingya Muslims, investigate the incidents of human rights violations and hold the perpetrators accountable.

It reaffirmed Pakistan’s unwavering solidarity with the Rohingya Muslims for the realisation of their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.

It underscored the need to resolve and address the underlying causes in Rakhine state which had led to the incidents of violence and discrimination.

The Express Tribune

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