India must apologise over blasphemous statements: Bilawal

Holds talks with his German counterpart: Rules out peace sans Kashmir resolution: Says Pakistan advocates Russia-Ukraine talks to end conflict: Annalena Baerbock says Taliban are going in wrong direction

By: News Desk
Published: 12:59 PM, 7 Jun, 2022
India must apologise over blasphemous statements: Bilawal
Caption: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari shaking hands with his German counterpart at Foreign Office.
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Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said that India must apologise over the recent provocative and blasphemous statements by the leaders of the ruling BJP, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

Addressing a joint new conference with his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock in Islamabad on Tuesday, Bilawal Bhutto said such outrageous and highly condemnable statements by the BJP leaders had hurt the sentiments of the Muslims all over the world.

He said the international community must immediately take notice of the increasing incidents of persecution of minorities and rising tide of Islamophobia in India.

The foreign minister maintained that the statements were a proof that India had turned into a fascist country and it was no longer secular, but dominated by Hindutva ideology.

Bilawal said Pakistan wanted peace with India, but it required a rational approach from the other side, adding with such irrational steps by India, the space for peace was being squeezed.

He reiterated that peace in South Asia was linked to peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue.

The foreign minister said that Pakistan always advocated for holding of dialogue and use of diplomacy as tools for pursuit of peace in the world.

Bilawal referred to the Russian-Ukraine conflict and said Pakistan had a firm position that it should not be dragged to any conflict. Pakistan is a small and developing country, but it always advocated that international laws should be adhered to, he said, adding that all world conflicts should be resolved through peaceful means.

Replying to a question, Bilawal maintained that humanitarian crises in Ukraine could not be ignored and stressed that Pakistan would continue to advocate for dialogue and diplomacy as means in the pursuit of peace. He said considering the plight of people in Ukraine, Pakistan had dispatched four planeloads of humanitarian aid.

Bilawal said Pakistan wanted to engage with all its neighbours. Pakistan played an important role in establishing diplomatic ties between China and the US and it would continue to play a role of a bridge.

About the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) issue, the foreign minister said that he had been vociferously raising the Indian atrocities during his engagements at the global fora and in his meetings with his counterparts of various countries including the US secretary of state.

He warned that the situation in IIOJK had been fast deteriorating due to provocative steps of India that was trying to undermine the Muslim majority by marginalizing and turning it into minority through illegal steps.

On bilateral relations, Bilawal said Pakistan has close cooperation with Germany in a number of areas and we desire to expand it further up to other areas of mutual benefits of the two countries.

The foreign minister said Pakistan looks forward to continuing to work with Germany for further deepening bilateral ties.

He said Germany is the largest trading partner of Pakistan within the European Union and also the 5th largest export destination for Pakistan internationally.

He said last year, Pakistan exports to Germany stood at 2.5 billion dollars, while imports from Germany were 1.3 billion dollars.

The Foreign Minister said Germany is the 7th largest Foreign Direct Investor in Pakistan with 35 German companies are investing in the Pakistan.

Turning to Afghanistan, Bilawal said Islamabad supported a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan contributing to stability and regional connectivity.

He said the international community must be actively engaged in preventing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

Bilawal assured the German FM of continued support to foreign governments, the European Union and the United Nations in the evacuation of their personnel from Afghanistan. “So far the country has facilitated the evacuation of 90,000 people belonging to different countries and organisations,” he said.

Bilawal added that he believed that releasing frozen Afghan funds would provide financial stability to the country’s economy as currently the world’s focus and resources are concentrated on the Ukraine crisis.

On her part, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called for the international community to send Afghanistan’s Taliban leadership the message that it is heading in the wrong direction. “Our influence on what happens inside Afghanistan is very limited. It depends on the Taliban making rational choices in their own economic interest, and that is not what they are doing right now,” said Baerbock during the visit to Islamabad, warning of a humanitarian disaster brewing in the country.

“It is not the Afghan people’s fault that their government was overthrown by the Taliban,” she said on Tuesday at a joint news conference with her Pakistani counterpart, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

Baerbock added that Germany and Pakistan have restructured their system for bringing Afghan refugees to Germany via Pakistan to make it faster and that over 14,000 Afghans who are particularly at risk have been able to travel to Germany over the past months.

Earlier, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari held talks with his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock at Foreign Office in Islamabad.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock arrived in Islamabad on two-day-long visit to hold talks with Pakistani leadership on matters of mutual interests. 

On her arrival at Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar and other senior officials accorded her warm welcome.

She is visiting Pakistan on the invitation of Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

During the visit, the two Foreign Ministers will hold delegation-level talks on the entire range of bilateral matters and exchange views on regional and global issues.

The German Foreign Minister along with Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also planted a sapling in the premises of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.