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India showed negative approach by cancelling foreign ministers meeting

Lahore : Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain Saturday said India showed negative approach by cancelling the scheduled meeting between the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan.

In an interview with a private television, he said Pakistan extended the hand for negotiations but India withdrew its hand which exposed face of India at the international level and highlighted the positive image of Pakistan.

The world was watching and the internal differences of India had come into the open, he said adding, “The world is saying that Pakistan is extending the hand of peace while India is rejecting it.” “We will live in peace and we will say to those in India who favour peace that they should look at the role of their government and condemn its thinking.”

He said today Pakistan was standing on the right side of history and it was ready to open the border at Kartarpura.

The minister pointed out that on the matter of Kartarpura border, debate had started between Indian Punjab and New Delhi. “Opening of Kartarpura is in the interest of people of Indian Punjab. We are fully prepared and wanted that border should be opened to facilitate Sikhs crossing the border for their religious worship. “We have set a procedure in this regard and completed the arrangements.”

He said DG MOs of India and Pakistan remained in contact and India had been unofficially informed about the situation. “Now India has to move forward and we want that when Sikhs come to Pakistan on the 450th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, they should be provided facilities through Kartarpura border.”

He said India had a complaint that the army and the civilian government of Pakistan had different policies but our government and army had the same thinking. “We extended our hand for peace and it was the opportunity to take forward the peace talks.”

He said before taking oath, Prime Minister Imran Khan in his first speech said that if “they will take one step forward. We will move two steps forward”.

Fawad said, “We invited Kapil Dev, Navjot Sidhu and Gwaskar and Navjot Sidhu came to Pakistan and what is happening to him in India, it is before everybody.”

He said army chief announced to open Kartarpura border to facilitate the Yatrees, adding it was a big step for the Sikh community of Indian Punjab. “I also said in my interviews that we are ready to open this border.”

In this backdrop, Prime Minister Imran Khan had stressed that foreign minister of Pakistan and India should hold a meeting.

He told that Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi would meet with foreign ministers of different countries while attending the session of General Assembly of the United Nations.

After the visit of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, the Foreign Minister had left to attend the UN session.

Fawad reminded that India agreed that meeting would be held during the UN General Assembly session but it seemed the government of India was divided and non-serious and half of the people were in support of negotiations and half of the extremists did not want talks.

The minister said after the visit of United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Pakistan, US had changed its thinking.

After the visit of US Secretary of State, an important statement of US Department of Defence came,stating that the US considered Pakistan an important partner in Afghanistan and it could play an important role in finding solution in Afghanistan. It seemed that United States had changed its thinking but if India did not change its thinking then it was up to it, he continued.

He said there were two sections in India and Pakistan. One section in both the countries wanted normal relations but another section did not support it.

He was of the view that it was job of the leadership as to which sections it wanted to strengthen and which sections it would ignore.

He said, “We are fighting for the last seventy years. Millions of people sacrificed their lives for the dignity of Pakistani flag. For us, nothing is ahead of respect and honour of our country.”

“Millions of people in our region are living life below the poverty line. Now we have to see whether we want war or want to give them a better future.”

He said Parliament had the task to formulate policy and the Prime Minister had presented his vision on the foreign policy in the house, adding Parliament was working on the finance bill.

Prime Minister had given the policy to normalize conditions in the region, he added.

Elections were near in India and anti-Pakistan slogans sell in India, he remarked.

The minister said Imran Khan talked to Turkey, India, Saudi Arabia and other countries at state level while Nawaz Sharif had connection with billionaires like Jindal. “When you hold your personal interest above the national interest then it creates problems.”

He said thinking of Pakistan army was based on peace and amity. Fawad said CPEC was a project of communication and setting up of special economic zones. Industries would be set up and millions of people would get jobs.

He said CPEC would make Gwadar and Karachi the hub of economic activities, adding the connectivity of these two ports would decrease dependency on other ports.

The minister said, ”We want that the benefits of CPEC should reach the public. Saudi Arabia is also ready to invest in CPEC. We welcome the Saudi investment in Pakistan.”

He asserted that most of the people were not aware of the relations between Nawaz Sharif and the leadership of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia share close strategic and economic interests, he added.

He said on one occasion, Shah Abdullah interfered in the matter of Nawaz Sharif but Imran Khan was not the man who would do deals. “No one will even ask Imran Khan to do a deal.

Nawaz Sharif is not that important that he will talk about him.”

He said Avenfield apartment case was an issue of two plus two. “You have to tell whether you had money or not. Your accounts are showing that there was no money. If there was no money how you bought them?”

He said section nine of NAB was clear that if you were a public office holder and you had a property then you had to tell the sources for the property.

The minister said he did not understand the reason for suspension of sentence of Nawaz Sharif. “In our country, a thief of cycle gets the punishment but one who steals a plane is saved. Our law is like a web of spider in which a small bee gets stuck while bigger bees break the web and get out of it.”

To a question about performance of NAB, he said the performance of an institution could not be judged on the basis of a single case.

He said chief of NAB Justice ® Javed Iqbal was a respectable person and prosecutor Akram Qureshi was a capable lawyer. “It is to be seen what weakness was left in the case. It will not be right to say that NAB left some loophole. NAB changed prosecutor in these cases.”

He said Maryam Nawaz had the advantage as a woman, adding an impression had been sent that there was a different law for the powerful.

He said Nawaz Sharif would continue to go in and out of jail, adding the case had two parts. In the second part the allegation was that the money was of corruption and they had to prove that the money was not gained through corruption. It was responsibility of the accused to prove that the money was legal.

It was strange when Supreme Court asked Asif Zardari from where the money came, he said it would be trial of the grave of Benazir Bhutto. When Nawaz Sharif was asked he said it was great injustice as he carried out nuclear explosions and he was still being asked questions, Fawad added.

He said the family politics of Nawaz Sharif had come to an end and his release from jail would not have any effect on the bye elections. Shehbaz Sharif was doing politics and now Maryam could also do as it was her right to do politics.

“In the bye election of Shangla, Shaukat Yousafzai won with bigger majority than before. They cannot compete with us in elections,” he noted.

Fawad said a procedure was set with Britain to bring the accused back.

Ishaq Dar will be brought back to the country and his red warrant was issued. Ishaq Dar, Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz would soon be in the grip of law. Britain had recently took action against a Pakistani and soon progress would be made on the recent declaration between Pakistan and Britain.

“We are also signing an agreement with Switzerland and after that we will have access to the Swiss banks.”

He said, “When we put the name of Nawaz Sharif on the Exit Control List (ECL), the criticism was why we did it. Now they are out of the jail and if their name was not on the ECL they could have gone out of the country right away.”

He said debate was continuing across the globe on money laundering. After the matter of Panama came in the open, the western world knew that people of the third world countries looted money and invested there.

Every Pakistani ruler had his home in London so the investigation was necessary from where they got this much money, he added.

He said there was also pressure inside Britain for legislation on this issue. Ishaq Dar and former chairman Federal Bureau of Revenue had stated that $200 billion went out of Pakistan. “Now it is to be seen how this happened.”

“We are in contact with Britain to bring back Ishaq Dar, Hassan and Hussain.”

He said Pakistan had significant relationship with Britain on people to people level and “we are hopeful that Britain will cooperate with us about our money there”.

He said, “We look at everything in the context of vote. We say that a person who is not my voter should be thrown out.”

The Prime Minister had said that the matter of Afghans and Bengalis living in Pakistan, should be looked in the context of humanity. “The children are born here and it is their third generation. We have kept them limited to their camps. They do not have schools and employment and they have no role in the economy and society of Pakistan.

They should be made part of the system.” “This issue was first opposed by the liberal Peoples Party. A uniform policy should be made on this issue and those parties which are opposing it, they should be asked about the solution.”

He said in the last thirty years of governments, these people could not be sent away. Under the laws of UNHCR,these people could not be sent away and if the parties who were raising objections had any better policy they should tell the government.

On certain national issues, all political parties should think by staying above politics, he emphasized.

He said Zulfi Bukhari was part of Pakistan Tehreek I Insaf (PTI) since 2012 and he took part in the fund raising for the party and was prominent among the overseas Pakistanis. He rendered remarkable services for the party in Britain. He had business in Britain but not in Pakistan.

Zulfi Bukhari was made Special Assistant to the Prime Minister as PTI considered overseas Pakistanis backbone of the country, he added.

“We have given him this post to activate the ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and to play role as a bridge for the overseas Pakistanis.”

Fawad said Nawaz Sharif always brought money launders with him but Prime Minister Imran Khan would neither take bribe nor would give bribe to anybody.

He said Naeemul Haq was old companion of Imran Khan for the last 22 years and Aun Chaudhry was also with him for the last many years so it was wrong to say that friends were being rewarded.

He said bureaucracy was not changed in Punjab, adding it was wrong that Deputy Commissioners directly wrote letters as they should have informed their officers. Bureaucracy would have to do legal work of elected representatives and it would be wrong to declare it political interference.

Fawad said a university for media would be established. Media should present the facts, he said adding Prime Minister was following the austerity drive and he left the 100 kanal Prime Minister House and was living in a three bed room house.

Prime Minister House had 529 employees but Imran Khan had kept only four employees. As many as 103 vehicles were put on auction. 61 of them were sold while the remaining would also be auctioned soon, he concluded.

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