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ISLAMABAD: Former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday took strong exception to the government’s decision to resume trade with India, saying it must review its decision.

Speaking at a presser, he said the Kashmiri leadership should be taken into confidence before proceeding any further with regard to the resumption of trade with India as a trade minister had already been designated which is unfortunate.

The former foreign minister, who is also vice chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), said India’s annexation of Occupied Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370, on August 5, 2019, was against the spirit of National Security Council (NSC)’s resolutions on Kashmir.

“Pakistan had reduced its embassy personnel to 50 percent and our government took the decision all alone. So, I would like to urge the government to review its decision of resuming trade with India as it will hurt the sentiments of the people of Kashmir,” he maintained.

He lambasted foreign minister Bilawal Zardari for his mysterious silence over the government’s decision to resume trade with India, saying his silence indicates “he is scared of whom”.

Qureshi said there had been no contradiction on the stance of the Pakistani leadership on issues of Kashmir, and Palestine, but the solo flight taken by the government without taking the Kashmiri leadership into confidence shows how serious it is about the Kashmir issue.

He said India had initiated a new project over Chenab River, violating the Indus treaty as India was bound to inform Pakistan about any development and design under the treaty.

Qureshi feared that there would be a shortage of wheat, creating another flour crisis in the country in the coming days, adding the PTI government was going to sign an agreement with Russia for importing wheat at a cheaper rate.

“I want to ask the present regime whether it will pursue the agreement which we’d initiated with Russia to purchase wheat at 30pc cheaper rate to avert any flour crisis in the country,” he added.

He also came down hard on dissident PTI MNA Noor Alam Khan for introducing a bill in the National Assembly on the behest of the ruling government to deprive the overseas Pakistanis of their right to franchise.

“We’d given voting right to expatriate Pakistanis but the imported regime is bent upon depriving them [the overseas Pakistanis] from voting which is not acceptable,” he added.

The PTI vice chairman accused the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) of intentionally barring the PTI from submitting more evidence in a disqualification case of 20 PTI defectors.

He said Sindh House sanctuary had become a sell-out point for the PTI turncoats, but the ECP did not decide the case on merit, adding the PTI asks the apex court what could be done against the PTI defectors who openly violated the party’s discipline.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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