Pakistan's new FM wants better relations with India

Pakistan's newly appointed Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi vows to improve Pakistan's ties with countries, including India, Afghanistan, and the US, in his first press conference after being sworn in as a Cabinet member. (Photo by Pakistan Foreign Office)
Updated 20 August 2018
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Pakistan's new FM wants better relations with India

  • There is a need for continued and uninterrupted dialogue between Islamabad and New Delhi, says Shah Mahmood Qureshi
  • Pakistan to improve relations with the US but on the basis of mutual respect, he says

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s new Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Monday promised to improve his country’s relations with India, Afghanistan and the US through diplomatic engagement and negotiations.
Addressing a news conference at the Foreign Office in Islamabad hours after being sworn in as Pakistan’s foreign minister, Qureshi said that peace and stability in the region would be a cornerstone of his government’s foreign policy.
“We will review Pakistan’s foreign policy and set a new direction where necessary in order to achieve peace and stability in the region,” he said.
Speaking about war-ravaged Afghanistan, the foreign minister said he wanted to visit Kabul with a message of peace and love from Pakistan because stability in both countries is interlinked.
“We need to help each other ... I ask the people of Afghanistan to resolve our issues through bilateral talks and negotiations,” he said.
“I have heard that we have a bilateral agreement in place which has five tracks and we want to move forward with those.”
The foreign minister who is also the vice chairman of the ruling party — Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) — said that his government also wanted to resolve all outstanding issues, including that of Kashmir, through dialogue with India.
“We both — Pakistan and India — are nuclear powers and cannot afford any adventurism,” he said. “We have to engage; we have to accept the realities and resolve all issues amicably.”
“We know the issues are tough and will not be solved overnight, but we have to engage,” he said.
The foreign minister said that there was a need for continued and uninterrupted dialogue between Islamabad and New Delhi as this was the only wise approach for moving ahead.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has written a congratulatory letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan and expressed his desire for dialogue, Qureshi said.
As an answer to one question, the foreign minister said that he was aware of concerns and priorities of the US administration and would try to bridge the trust deficit on both sides.
“We want to improve bilateral relations with America, but on the basis of respect,” he said.
About the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he said that it was a game-changer and a long-term project and that the PTI government would continue working with the Chinese leadership on it.
“We would like to see how to enter the phase of socio-economic development as there has been a lot of emphasis only on infrastructure development in the past,” he added.
Qureshi emphasized that the government would try its best to improve the quality of life for the common man through economic diplomacy and international engagement.
“Socio-economic development will remain one of the top priorities of our government,” he said.
The foreign minister said that he would try to build a national consensus through a bipartisan approach regarding the country’s foreign policy. “We will take the opposition parties on board too … I will be representing Pakistan in an upcoming important meeting at the UN,” he added.
The foreign minister also urged Pakistani missions abroad to remember that they are “not rulers. You are meant to serve. The intent with which Prime Minister Imran Khan addressed the nation and our attitudes will have to change towards our people.”
“A good nature and courtesy never make you lose anything. You gain friends. Treat our overseas Pakistanis with respect. This is now the duty of all our embassies abroad,” he added.


Father of boy saved by Paris ‘Spiderman’ convicted for negligence

Updated 1 sec ago
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Father of boy saved by Paris ‘Spiderman’ convicted for negligence

  • Mamoudou Gassama was propelled to global stardom in May after footage of him scaling the facade of the apartment building with his bare hands to save the child went viral
  • The 37-year-old father found himself in hot water for leaving the child unattended in their sixth-floor apartment while he went shopping

PARIS: The father of the little boy who was rescued dangling from a fourth-story Paris balcony by a Malian migrant dubbed Spiderman received a three-month suspended jail sentence Tuesday for leaving the child home alone.
Mamoudou Gassama was propelled to global stardom in May after footage of him scaling the facade of the apartment building with his bare hands to save the child went viral.
Gassama, who was living illegally in France at the time, was rewarded with French citizenship and a job in the fire service.
But the 37-year-old father found himself in hot water for leaving the child unattended in their sixth-floor apartment while he went shopping — the boy was just four at the time.
Apart from the suspended sentence he was also ordered to take a parenting course.
The public prosecutor had asked for the father to be given a six-month suspended sentence, noting that had Gassama not sprung into action the child “might now be dead.”
The father told the court that after spending the day at the Disneyland theme park near Paris with his son on May 26, he decided to pop out for some provisions, leaving his son in front of the TV at his insistence.
Expressing remorse he said he had not realized that by leaving the sliding door to the balcony open the child was in grave danger.
He also admitted to being gone longer than he thought — around an hour — because he was playing the popular Pokemon Go game on his phone.
The child told the police he thought his father had gone back to Disneyland without him and decided to follow him.
Finding the apartment door locked he climbed over the balcony and then appears to have fallen, before miraculously managing to grab the rail of a balcony on the fourth floor.
Footage of the incident, filmed by a bystander, shows him dangling in mid-air with a neighbor on the adjoining balcony desperately trying to hold onto him.
Gassama, 22, then scales the building Spiderman-style and pulls him to safety.
Under France’s penal code parental negligence carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a fine of up to 30,000 euros ($35,300).
The boy’s mother was on a visit to her native Reunion island, a French territory in the Indian Ocean, at the time.
Both parents were said at the time to be extremely shaken by the incident but hugely grateful to Gassama.