FO wants to move on from ‘foreign plot’ to diplomacy

ISLAMABAD: The foreign office on Monday sought to move on from the controversy surrounding the diplomatic cable, saying the National Security Committee (NSC) based on the assessment of all the stakeholders has already concluded that there was no foreign conspiracy to oust the government of prime minister Imran Khan.

Foreign office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar began his press conference by stating that the briefing was taking place after a gap during which “a peaceful, democratic political transition has taken place in accordance with the Constitution of Pakistan”.

Since the briefing was taking place after a hiatus because of the tumultuous last few weeks on the political front, most of the questions were directed at the spokesperson on the “Lettergate”.

The spokesperson made it clear that the NSC had already reached a conclusion that there was no foreign conspiracy to seek the ouster of Imran Khan. He went on to add that since the matter had already been settled the focus should be on “diplomacy” and on “our important relations in the best interest of Pakistan”.

As the lettergate further damaged bilateral ties between the two countries, the spokesperson said the core focus should be on “improving relationships with our partners and the United States”.

“The US is one of the key partners of Pakistan and both sides are keen to build on the long standing relations and as well as further strengthen and diversify our relations,” he added.

He called for avoiding making “irresponsible comments” since there was an element of “trust and confidentiality” central to conducting effective diplomacy for a country and such episodes carry the potential of undermining the diplomacy and complicating the country’s external relations.

The spokesperson said Pakistan had the full capability to defend its interests as well as promote its stability and security.

The statement clearly indicated that the new government wants to reset ties with the US.

On the claims by some PTI leaders that the classified communication sent by the Pakistani ambassador in Washington was withheld from the foreign minister, the spokesperson dismissed it as baseless.

“Assertions of holding back the telegram are unfounded and incorrect. Cypher telegram was received and appropriately shared with authorities concerned,” the spokesperson said.

To another question, Asim said protest was lodged with the US as soon as direction was given by the leadership. The infamous diplomatic cable was received on March 7 but the demarche was made to the US on March 31 after the meeting of NSC. Questions were asked as to why the then government took so long to take up the issue with Washington if there was a serious threat of regime change through a plot.

Minister of State Hina Rabbani Khar in one her TV interviews claimed that the Pakistani ambassador recommended a demarche but then Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi stopped the foreign office from doing so.

The spokesperson confirmed that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif would undertake a bilateral visit to Saudi Arabia on April 27. Further details of the visit would be shared in due course of time, he added.

On the current border tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the spokesperson insisted both were “brotherly countries” and consider terrorism as a serious threat for peace and stability. Asim called for effective cooperation between the two countries to halt cross border terrorist attacks.

There has been a surge in cross border terrorist attacks in recent weeks with scores of Pakistani soldiers were martyred. Pakistan reportedly launched air strikes in Kunar and Khost provinces to target the terror hideouts.

Pakistan also strongly condemned the cross border attacks and said terrorists were operating out of Afghanistan with impunity.

After Pakistan’s strong warning, official sources told media that the Taliban government was taking steps to shift some of the terrorists from border areas to other parts in order to stop further attacks against Pakistani security forces.

The post FO wants to move on from ‘foreign plot’ to diplomacy appeared first on Pakistan Today.

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