Qureshi heads to Beijing after Imran Khan’s ‘Pak future with China’ remark

PM Imran Khan this week counted China as Pakistan’s only friend that had supported it politically during good and bad times.
Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi is leaving for China on Thursday on an overnight visit.(AP)
Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi is leaving for China on Thursday on an overnight visit.(AP)
Updated on Aug 20, 2020 04:06 PM IST
Copy Link
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Pakistan foreign minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi is leaving for Beijing for ‘strategic level’ discussions with his Chinese counterparts on Thursday, days after Prime Minister Imran Khan underscored that Pakistan’s future is connected with that of its long-time ally China.

Qureshi will be accompanied by a team of diplomats including foreign secretary Sohail Mahmood, people familiar with the development said.

Qureshi is scheduled to meet China’s foreign minister and state councillor Wang Yi. On the agenda, according to reports in China and Islamabad, are discussions linked to belt and road projects, bilateral ties and preparations for President Xi Jinping’’s visit to Pakistan expected later this year. Qureshi is also expected to seek support for Pakistan’s stand on Kashmir and discuss the India-China standoff in east Ladakh.

PM Imran Khan had underscored the importance of ties with China this week when he, in a television interview, insisted that reports about breakdown in relations with Saudi Arabia were “baseless”. On China, PM Khan said, Pakistan was strengthening ties with China. “It should be clear that our future is connected with China… China also needs Pakistan very much,” he said.

“China is our only friend which has remained politically steadfast with Pakistan during good and bad times,” PM Khan had said.

Like when Saudi kingdom signalled its displeasure by demanding that Pakistan return $ 1 billion out of a $ 3 billion loan extended by Riyadh in 2018, Pakistan had turned to China.

 Also Watch | ‘Pakistan is the nerve centre of terrorism’: India’s envoy to United Nations

Qureshi’s visit to Beijing comes at a time he has been under attack in Islamabad, both from within and without the Imran Khan government, for his broadside at Saudi Arabia for not convening the Organisation of Islamic Conference, or OIC meeting of foreign ministers on Kashmir.

Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa made a quick visit to Saudi Arabia this week in an effort to smooth relations between Islamabad and Riyadh.

Qureshi had threatened to approach other Muslim countries for a conference on Kashmir outside the OIC platform if Saudi Arabia did not play ball, a remark that did not go down well in Riyadh that last year prevailed upon Pakistan at the last minute to absent itself from a joint attempt by Turkey and Malaysia to create a new forum of Islamic countries. Foreign ministers of Malaysia, Turkey, Qatar, Iran, and Indonesia attended this meeting.

People familiar with the development in New Delhi said China has been pushing Pakistan to play a lead role in the OIC with support of Turkey and Malaysia.

Gen Bajwa, according to diplomats in New Delhi and Riyadh, is learnt to have conveyed Imran Khan’s regret at Qureshi’s comment and asked Saudi Arabia to agree to a meeting of the smaller group within the OIC, formally called the OIC contact group on Kashmir. From all available indications, Gen Bajwa didn’t get far.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Author of Indian Mujahideen: The Enemy Within (2011, Hachette) and Himalayan Face-off: Chinese Assertion and Indian Riposte (2014, Hachette). Awarded K Subrahmanyam Prize for Strategic Studies in 2015 by Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA) and the 2011 Ben Gurion Prize by Israel.

Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • French President Emmanuel Macron 

    On bid to cut oil prices, what Macron has been told by UAE, Saudi

    Two top OPEC oil producers, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, can barely increase oil production, French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday said he had been told by the UAE's president. Read: France holds parliamentary election in vital test for Macron "And then he said (the) Saudis can increase by 150 (thousands barrels per day). Maybe a little bit more, but they don't have huge capacities before six months' time," Macron said.

  • Police block the scene where a semitrailer with multiple dead bodies was discovered, Monday, June 27, 2022, in San Antonio.

    At least 40 migrants found dead in truck in US city: Report

    At least 40 people have been found dead inside a tractor-trailer in San Antonio, Texas, news agencies reported citing law enforcement official briefed on the matter. San Antonio's KSAT television reported 42 people dead inside the truck, in a presumed migrant smuggling attempt in South Texas. San Antonio police is yet to make an official statement on the incident. Mexican foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard said in a tweet that the victims' nationalities were still unknown.

  • In many European countries, monkeypox cases are rising,

    More than 3,400 monkeypox cases reported to WHO globally: 5 things to know

    The World Health Organization has confirmed over 3,400 reported cases of monkeypox and one related death globally as of last Wednesday, with majority of them from Europe. In an update on Monday, the WHO said that 1,310 new cases were reported to the UN health agency since June 17, with eight new countries reporting monkeypox cases. 5 things to know about monkeypox: Monkeypox is a large DNA virus belonging to the orthopoxvirus family.

  • People watch as smoke bellows after a Russian missile strike hit a crowded shopping mall, in Kremenchuk, Ukraine.

     G7 vows to keep pressure on Russia after missiles strike Ukraine shopping mall

    Russian missiles struck a crowded shopping mall in central Ukraine on Monday, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said, as Moscow fought for control of a key eastern city and Western leaders promised to support Kyiv in the war "as long as it takes". More than 1,000 people were inside when two Russian missiles slammed into the mall in the city of Kremenchuk, southeast of Kyiv, Zelenskiy wrote on Telegram. He said the death count could rise.

  • File photo of former President Donald Trump.

    Company buying Trump's social media app faces subpoenas

    The company planning to buy Donald Trump's new social media business has disclosed a federal grand jury investigation that it says could impede or even prevent its acquisition of the Truth Social app. Shares of Digital World Acquisition Corp. dropped almost 10% Monday as the company revealed that it has received subpoenas from a grand jury in New York. The new probe could make it more difficult for Trump to finance his social media company.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Tuesday, June 28, 2022