Govt not afraid of JUI-F march but its timing is not right: FM Qureshi

MULTAN: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Monday said that the government was “absolutely not afraid” of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl’s (JUI-F) upcoming ‘Azaadi March’.

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Talking to reporters in his hometown of Multan, the minister said: “It is their (JUI-F) democratic right but I had said earlier and I repeat that the timing is wrong, the date is not suitable.”

The foreign minister said, “October 27 is the cursed and black day when India occupied Kashmir. It is the day when Indian forces invaded Kashmir, so the day is observed as a Black Day every year.”

“The sentiments of the Kashmiri people will be hurt if the JUI-F links the day to domestic politics,” he said.

“The nation is not liking their decision for October 27,” he said, adding that in his opinion, there is no need for this protest because the international focus is already on Kashmir.”

The minister said, the conduct of opposition parties on the issue of Kashmir is their political need.

Further talking about the Kashmir issue, he said, “I don’t think that India is in position to allow anyone to visit [occupied] Kashmir, where they have imposed a curfew, where basic rights are suspended.”

“US Senator Chris Van Hollen told me that he wanted to visit [occupied] Kashmir but he was denied permission,” he said, adding that if everything was okay in occupied Kashmir than why he was denied permission.

“Pakistan had briefed the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in Bangkok about its viewpoint and explained the measures, taken by Islamabad, to the FATF Asia-Pacific Group,” FM Qureshi said while responding to a question.

“I do believe that Pakistan — to a considerable extent — has satisfied the friends that we are serious against money laundering and that we have taken solid steps to keep checks on money laundering and the incumbent government has taken more steps in one year to keep checks on terror financing than all the steps taken during the last one decade,” he said.

Despite Indian efforts to push Pakistan into the blacklist of the FATF, Pakistan’s viewpoint and efforts will be recognised in the FATF session in Paris, he added.

Talking about the concerns expressed by the opposition over the pace of projects related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he said that the opposition often expresses reservations over it but there is no point to worry about.

“The opposition unnecessarily takes the issue up, China is satisfied, Pakistan is satisfied. We have stepped up to the next phase [of the CPEC],” he further added.

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