FM Bilawal Bhutto confides in politicians during visit to India

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Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto.  APP/File
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto. APP/File
  • FM Bilawal leaves for Goa today.
  • No bilateral meeting with Indian leaders.
  • Bilawal will meet FMs from friendly countries.

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto confided in heads of PDM political parties and others during his first-ever visit to India on Wednesday.

The Foreign Minister will leave today to attend the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) scheduled for May 4-5 in Goa, India.

Bilawal Bhutto called Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Ameer Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP) President Sardar Akhtar Mengal, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) Convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Jamat-e -Islami (JI) Ameer Sirajul Haq and National Party (NP) leader Tahir Bizenjo.

He consulted with them during his two-day visit to Goa.

SCO meeting

According to a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs, the FM will attend the SCO moot on the invitation of the current Chairman, Foreign Minister of India, Dr S. Jaishankar.

“Our participation in the meeting reflects Pakistan’s commitment to the SCO Charter and processes and the importance Pakistan attaches to the region in its foreign policy priorities,” the FO spokesman said.

Sources at the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said that the foreign minister, accompanied by a delegation, will depart from Karachi for Goa via a chartered flight.

The sources aware of the development said that the Indian civil aviation authorities have contacted the PCCA and finalized the route for the special aircraft.

In addition to deliberating on key regional and international issues and signing some institutional documents, the council will finalize the agenda and decisions to be adopted by the 17th SCO meeting of the Council of Heads of State on 3-4 in New Delhi will take place. July 2023.

The meeting will also witness the signing of Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with five countries, namely Bahrain, Kuwait, Maldives, Myanmar and the UAE, to become dialogue partners of SCO.

On the sidelines of the SCO, FM Bilawal will also meet its counterparts from friendly countries.

In addition to Pakistan, SCO member states include China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and India.

The main objectives of SCO include promoting mutual trust and good neighborly relations between member states, strengthening regional peace, security and stability, and creating a framework for effective cooperation in the fields of politics, trade and economics, culture , science and technology, education, energy, transportation, tourism and environmental protection etc.

Since joining in 2017, Pakistan has actively and constructively contributed to all SCO activities to achieve its multi-sector goals and objectives in a mutually beneficial manner.

No bilateral meeting with Indian leaders

Last week FM Bilawal dismissed speculation surrounding his visit to India and clarified that it should not be “misinterpreted in terms of bilateral ties” between the two neighboring countries.

Bilawal, while talking to Geo newssaid he had not made any request to arrange a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“We are committed to the SCO Charter and this visit should not be seen as a bilateral visit, but in the context of SCO. Our participation in the meeting reflects Pakistan’s continued commitment to the SCO Charter and process and the importance Pakistan assigns to the region in its foreign policy priorities,” said Bilawal.

He had said that they cannot let India further isolate Pakistan.

It will be the first visit to India by a top Pakistani official since then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attended Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony in 2014.

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