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"Let's not get caught up in weaponising terrorism for diplomatic point scoring": Pak FM Bilawal at SCO meet
Panaji: Calling SCO a platform of mutual understanding and security, Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Friday said that the potential of peace can be unlocked when great powers play the role of peacemakers, as he addressed the SCO-Council of Foreign Ministers meet in Goa.
In his keynote address at SCO Foreign Ministers' meeting, Zardari urged to collectively eradicate the menace of terrorism. "Let's not get caught up in weaponising terrorism for diplomatic point scoring," he said. This comes after Jaishankar talked about cross-border terrorism in his opening address at the SCO meet and underlined how it continues "unabated". He added by saying that it must be stopped in all its forms and manifestations, including cross-border terrorism.
Zardari is here to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) and incidentally, the first Pakistani foreign minister to visit India in almost 12 years.
Reiterating Pakistan's commitment to multilateralism, Bilawal further added "Unilateral and illegal measures by States in violation of international law and Security Council resolutions run counter to the SCO objectives."
Relations between India and Pakistan have been precarious for many years with regard to issues of cross-border terrorism from Pakistan, even as Islamabad has been seeking the restoration of Article 370 for the former Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir for any talks.
On April 20 recently, an Army vehicle passing Bhimber Gali and Poonch in the Rajouri sector of Jammu and Kashmir was fired upon, by unidentified terrorists, likely through grenades, which lead to the death of five soldiers.
As per sources, the terrorists were suspected to have been from the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
In his address, Zardari highlighted SCO's role as an intergovernmental organization. He said, "SCO has emerged as a platform for promoting mutual understanding, security and development through constructive and mutually beneficial cooperation."
He also urged for collective action and stated that the collective security of our people is our joint responsibility during his address in Goa.
Zardari reiterated Pakistan's strong commitment to SCO. "There couldn't be a more powerful indication of the importance that Pakistan attaches to the SCO than my presence here in Goa for this CFM," the Pakistan Foreign Minister said on his arrival in India.
Earlier today, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar greeted Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari with a "Namastey" in Goa at a conclave of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
The two-day-long meeting of SCO member states began here on Thursday.
Visuals showed the Jaishankar greeting Zardari in Indian tradition with a "Namastey", avoiding a handshake.
On his arrival in the coastal State yesterday Zardari had said he looks forward to constructive discussions with his counterparts from friendly countries. The Pakistan minister was received at the airport by Indian diplomat JP Singh (Joint Secretary, Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran desk).
The Pakistan politician is attending the SCO conclave at the invitation of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. (ANI)