In an apparent reference to India’s stance that it can’t resume composite dialogue with Pakistan until Islamabad takes concrete action against all those who are responsible for terror attacks in the country, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday said he is confident that India will have to revisit its Pak-policy soon.
“I am of the view that Pakistan has been willing to engage, and I am confident as -- you know, two years down the line, I am confident of this relationship“.
“I am confident that India will have to revisit its policy and very soon,” Mr. Qureshi told reporters at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department.
Mr. Qureshi was responding to questions at a joint press conference with his US Counterpart, Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, following the US-Pak Strategic Dialogue.
“You see, in the discussions that we have had, we underscored the importance of reviving the bilateral track.
The last few years, the bilateral track was subsumed because of the Afghan situation understandably so“.
“We have now refocused on the bilateral track, and that means that our relationship goes beyond Afghanistan. And it has been discussed that the long-term US interests lie east of Afghanistan. That is to be understood,” he said.
“As far as India is concerned, you know, they are a sovereign country, and they have bilateral relations (with the US). We respect that. But all we are saying that those relations should not be at the cost of Pakistan, and we are very clear and I think you’re (Clinton) very clear on that,” the Foreign Minister said.
Earlier, Mr. Qureshi said there has been a complete change in perception about Pakistan in the US -- both among the lawmakers and the officials.
“I was at the Hill yesterday. The mood was completely different. I say it publicly. I was at the Senate, I was at the House. It’s a 180-degree difference. You know, we have turned the corner. And today, there was confidence. There were no question marks. There was no suspicion. There was no ‘Do more.’ There was recognition of what we already had done.
There was appreciation of what we had already done,” Mr. Qureshi said.
Mr. Qureshi met members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Committee on International Affairs on Tuesday.
“The other thing, the civil-military relations today in Pakistan are excellent. The fact, that the Army Chief is part of the delegation that is here, the fact that we were sitting on the same table, arguing, articulating Pakistan’s case, is unheard of in the past,” Mr. Qureshi argued.
“And today thirdly, you know, the Secretary (of State) mentioned the private sector, the vibrance of the private sector“.
Let me share with you that today at the State Department, we had a PPP conference. Let me qualify that – public-private partnership conference,” Mr. Qureshi said.