Establishment protects state’s interests within legal limits: FM

Says Hindutva policy buried concept of secularism in India

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that the establishment always ensures protection of the state’s interests while remaining within the framework of the Constitution and the law.

Referring to the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), the foreign minister in a statement on Monday said, “We have from the beginning been questioning the national service that can be provided by those whose philosophy is in-line with India.”

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He said that the opposition promotes India’s narrative every time it criticises the state institutions, that too at a time when India is sponsoring terrorism inside Pakistan. He also said that India has been continuously shelling at Pakistan’s borders and violating the ceasefire agreement at the Line of Control (LoC) whereas terrorist incidents are occurring one after the other in Balochistan. “This country is not a property of any dictator or any particular institution. It is also not under anyone’s occupation. This country belongs to its people,” Qureshi added.

PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on January 1 warned that the PDM could decide marching towards Rawalpindi – where the Pakistan Army’s General Headquarters are located – instead of marching to Islamabad – the parliament. The JUI-F reiterated the warning again at the Bahawalpur rally on Sunday last.

Speaking of the Bahawalpur rally, the foreign minister said that he would not call it a power show as it was a show but “without any power”.

“Who governed Punjab for the last several decades?” Qureshi remarked in reference to Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz’s comments at the rally that South Punjab has been kept deprived. “It remains to be seen who deprived South Punjab,” the FM said. “In whose era were the funds diverted elsewhere unfairly? In whose era was the slogan ‘we are prisoners of the throne in Lahore’ popular?” the foreign minister asked.

Qureshi said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has taken two major decisions regarding South Punjab in the last two-and-a-half years. “Two administrative secretariats have been set up in Multan and Bahawalpur to devolve power to lower levels,” the FM said. “Special funds have been allocated for South Punjab which will be spent on construction and its development,” he added.

Qureshi said that India has buried the concept of secularism owing to its Hindutva policy. He said that the international media is openly criticising India. He added that minorities are being treated in discrimination in India and farmers are also protesting there.

The minister said that Pakistan has put forth a dossier before the world community, exposing the Indian terrorism with evidence. He said that Pakistan will continue to raise the Kashmir issue at every forum and the movement of self-determination will succeed.

The foreign minister said, “We have also written letters to the UN Secretary General and Human Rights Commissioner in Geneva, demanding free and fair trial to all the political prisoners in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and their release at the earliest.”

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