Qureshi discusses FATF, Afghan situation with Spanish leadership | The Express Tribune


Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday met President of Spain’s Congress of Deputies Meritxell Batet and discussed a range of issues including Pakistan’s progress on the FATF action plan and Afghanistan’s situation.

On his arrival at Spain’s Parliament House, FM Qureshi and his delegation were welcomed by Meritxell Batet.

During the meeting, the foreign minister said Spain is Pakistan’s important partner in the European Union.

Pakistan, he said, is resolved to strengthen cooperation in multiple spheres and the recent visit of his Spanish counterpart also helped strengthen the bilateral ties.

Mentioning the celebration of 70 years of Pakistan-Spain diplomatic relations, Qureshi emphasised the exchange of high-level delegations and activation of the parliamentary friendship groups.

Highlighting Pakistan’s successful strategy to tackle the Covid pandemic through smart lockdown, he said Prime Minister Imran Khan’s proposal for debt relief to the developing countries to help them overcome the economic impact of the pandemic was lauded globally.

FM Qureshi also said Pakistan paid a huge price of instability in Afghanistan by sacrificing 80,000 lives and facing an economic loss worth $150 billion.

“Pakistan always advocated for a political solution to the Afghan issue and that after 40 years, an opportunity for the revival of peace has come which should not be missed.”

Referring to the recently held meeting of the OIC’s Council of Foreign Ministers on Afghanistan in Islamabad, the foreign minister called for taking solid steps for financial support of the Afghan people.

He also thanked Spain for a donation of 20 million euros for Afghanistan and its intimation of efforts for the education of Afghan children, particularly girls.

During the visit, FM Qureshi also interacted with a delegation of members of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Congress headed by Pau Mari Klose.

The committee members thanked Pakistan for celebrating the 70th anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic relations.

Referring to the huge potential for cooperation in trade and commerce, the foreign minister stressed the need to exchange the parliamentary delegations.

Discussing the Afghan situation, he said the world should not repeat the past mistake rather avail the opportunity of peace by making concerted efforts as any instability there would imperil the peace of Pakistan as well as the region.

Qureshi told the committee members that after the August 15 takeover of the Taliban, Pakistan had formed a platform of six neighbours to formulate a uniformed strategy.

He also drew the committee’s attention towards the unilateral Indian actions of August 5, 2019, in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) which had risked the regional peace.

Terming 125,000 Pakistani expatriates in Spain as a driving force to strengthen the bilateral ties, FM Qureshi also highlighted the difficulties faced by them including some local laws which required Pakistanis to revoke their Pakistani citizenship.

He also invited the committee members to visit Pakistan, who thanked the country for supporting the evacuation of Spanish citizens from Afghanistan.

Earlier, the foreign minister also interacted with think tanks, journalists and defence experts at the Pakistan House wherein he said Pakistan had shifted its focus from geopolitics to geo-economics.

He said through its economic diplomacy, Pakistan is attracting the world towards the massive opportunities of investment in an emerging market of 200 million people.

The think tanks played an important role in building public opinion particularly amidst the fast-changing circumstances in the global scenario.

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