Shah Mahmood Qureshi rakes up Kashmir issue as Imran Khan faces no-trust vote

Updated on Apr 09, 2022 06:09 PM IST

The Pakistan foreign minister also talked about the accidental fire of a missile from India last month that landed in Pakistan, saying that the accidental firing could have led to an "accidental war"

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Party leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi talks to reporters outside the Supreme Court.(AP file)
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Party leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi talks to reporters outside the Supreme Court.(AP file)
By | Written by Aniruddha Dhar, New Delhi

Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi raked up the Kashmir issue while defending Prime Minister Imran Khan in the National Assembly which resumed a session on the no-confidence motion against the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Saturday afternoon.

"There are issues on Pakistan's concerns. Why do they (the Pak opposition) remain silent on that? Is the Jammu and Kashmir issue not our issue? If we ask them to take a stand they say no, do it bilaterally," Qureshi said speaking on the no-trust vote against Khan and his government.

Qureshi also talked about the accidental fire of a missile from India last month that landed in Pakistan, saying that the accidental firing could have led to an "accidental war".

"When India fired their missile into Pakistan accidentally, I said that that accidental missile could have led to an accidental war. Are human rights violations not happening in Indian occupied Kashmir?" Qureshi said.

India earlier said that it had accidentally fired a missile into Pakistan on March 9, attributing the unheard-of incident to a “technical malfunction.” The government said it had taken a strong view of the incident and ordered a high-level court of inquiry, on a day Pakistan registered a strong protest over the “unprovoked violation of its airspace by a super-sonic flying object of Indian origin.”

“On 9 March 2022, in the course of a routine maintenance, a technical malfunction led to the accidental firing of a missile. It is learnt that the missile landed in an area of Pakistan. While the incident is deeply regrettable, it is also a matter of relief that there has been no loss of life due to the accident,” the Indian defence ministry said in a statement without giving out further details.

The Pakistan foreign minister said that the former National Security Advisor (NSA) of the country Moeed Yusuf was categorically told by the US that Khan should not go on his Russia visit. He conceded that today is probably his last day as the foreign minister of Pakistan.

"The NSA of the United States of America calls the NSA of Pakistan and says, do not go... categorically... where does this happen that a sovereign state is stopped from a bilateral visit and which self-respecting society accepts this?" Qureshi said.

Khan had made an ill-timed bilateral visit to Moscow on the eve of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

"I want to tell the nation that the meeting in Washington happens on March 7 and can you believe it that the no-trust motion started on March 8?" he added.

The PTI leader also alleged that the US wants to view Pakistan and India on different platforms. "They (US) said that they look at India through the lens of China. The PTI government wants good relations with everyone and to expand our diplomatic reach," Qureshi said.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari asserted that the Supreme Court has passed an order to vote on the no-trust motion against Khan and anything against this order cannot be discussed.

Earlier on Thursday, the session of the National Assembly was adjourned as the opposition continued to chant slogans, pressing for the taking up of the no-confidence motion, while Qureshi was speaking in the House.

In an apparent move seen as part of the strategy of the ruling PTI to delay the proceedings, Pakistan National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, while chairing the Saturday session to take up the no-confidence motion against the Khan-led government, said that the House should also hold a discussion on the issue of "international conspiracy."

The speaker's suggestion was met with strong protest by the Opposition members who asked the Chair to stick to the mandate of the session spelt out by the Supreme Court.

Pakistan's Supreme Court in a judgment on Thursday had called for the convening of the session of the National Assembly "not later than 10:30 am on Saturday" after setting aside the April 3 ruling of the deputy speaker Qasim Khan Suri against the no-confidence motion on "Constitutional grounds".

The court also fixed the Saturday session with the conditions that the session cannot be prorogued unless the motion is voted upon, and in case Khan loses the no-trust vote, the next PM has to be elected in the same session.

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