Time not suitable for political point scoring: Qureshi

MULTAN: Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Tuesday the country was passing through difficult times and could not afford political point scoring at such a critical juncture.

Talking to newsmen upon his arrival at the airport, he said the kind of national solidarity we need today was never felt before and added, ‘I want to request Pakistan’s national political leadership, intellectuals, youths, students, farmers and workers to show a sense of responsibility, forbearance and solidarity at this point of time.’ He said, ‘There should be a limit to political point scoring and it should not be stretched to the extent that it hurts national interest.’

He said after hearing apprehensions about the Kerry-Lugar bill, he went to the US to speak for Pakistan during meetings with US leaders. He said US Vice-President Joseph Biden said the US wanted bilateral relations with Pakistan regardless of Afghanistan and fears that the bill was against the sovereignty of Pakistan were contrary to the soul of the aid bill.

He said a joint explanatory statement was prepared and signed by chairmen of Foreign Relations Committees of House of Representatives and Senate and was attached to the bill to address the concerns. Moreover, he said conditions were not imposed on Pakistan but on the executive branch by US Congress. He said he gave a detailed statement in parliament on the issue and it was now up to the House and the government to take a decision.

Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi said he believed that there was no ambiguity in the US aid bill after the attachment of an explanatory statement with it and the visit of Senator John Kerry to Pakistan.

He said it was because of democracy that the Kerry-Lugar bill had been brought before parliament for discussion and it was also being debated by the media.

He said he had provided copies of the joint explanatory statement to Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, and others.

He said Senator John Kerry had also met with Nawaz Sharif and added that ‘I have not heard that the PML-N chief has rejected the point of view of the US senator.’

The foreign minister said good relations with the US were in the interests of Pakistan and added the government had made a sincere attempt to allay apprehensions without affecting relations with the US.—APP

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