ISLAMABAD: Amid rising tensions between China and the United States, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that Pakistan does not want to become part of any camp and wanted to concentrate on its economic and social issues.
In a conversation with Voice of America (VoA) Urdu, the foreign minister urged the US not to push the world towards another cold war through its actions against Beijing.
The comments by the foreign minister came days after Pakistan skipped a democracy summit hosted by the US president. China and Russia were not invited to this summit.
Qureshi said that it will not be easy for Pakistan to maintain a balanced relationship with Washington and Beijing due to the US policy of going after China. “The United States is [also] ignoring India’s missteps to keep China in check,” he added.
“The world needs to save itself from the cold war mentality,” the FM said, adding that it was not in the best interests of Pakistan to become part of any confrontation.
The Pakistani government has shifted its policy from geo-politics to geo-economics and the US can help Pakistan in this respect through trade, investment, technology transfer, the foreign minister said, adding that Islamabad wanted good relations with Washington.
He said he recently talked to the US Deputy Secretary of State who stated that the US will continue to cooperate with Afghanistan and this statement was satisfactory.
Qureshi further stated that the US also wanted to deepen relations with Pakistan, which showed that there was a positive change in the thinking of Washington.
The foreign minister said the US also recognised the role of Pakistan for stability in Afghanistan and during the negotiations with the Taliban, and evacuation of people from Kabul.
Speaking about Afghanistan, Qureshi said the international community has decided to engage with Afghanistan on the issue of humanitarian assistance.
According to Qureshi, Pakistan is persuading the world not to abandon Aghanistan because it will destabilise the country and create space for terrorists.
The FM said the upcoming Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) moot in Pakistan also focused on Afghanistan, especially the severe humanitarian crisis brewing in the wake of the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul.
Pakistan has invited the special representatives of P5 countries for the conference of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, the minister added.
He said the OIC conference will be an opportunity for the Afghan interim government to remove apprehensions of the world. The conference has one-point agenda i.e. the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
The foreign minister said an inclusive government, protection of women’s rights and not giving space to terrorists was in the interest of Afghanistan.
Pakistan wanted peace, stability and prosperity in Afghanistan, he said adding the peace, stability and prosperity of the war-torn country and Pakistan were interlinked due to their shared interests.
He said the policy of abandonment of Afghanistan by the international community in the 1990s was not beneficial, adding that the Taliban should be “encouraged [by the global powers] to bring change in their behaviour”.
The neighbours of Afghanistan and now the Islamic countries, including Turkey, Iran, Indonesia, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia wanted the government in Afghanistan to adopt a moderate approach, he concluded.