Turkish Foreign Minister arrives in Pakistan

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu holds one on one talks with his counterpart Foreign Minister of Pakistan Shah Mehmood Qureshi. (Photo courtesy: Foreign office)
Updated 14 September 2018
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Turkish Foreign Minister arrives in Pakistan

  • Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is in two-day official visit to Islamabad
  • Cavusoglu is carrying a message from Turkish President Erdogan to Prime Minister Imran Khan

ISLAMABAD: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu met his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday morning.
Bearing a message from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu landed in Islamabad on Thursday late night for a two-day official visit.
“Turkish Foreign Minister will arrive tonight and there will be delegation-level talks with our Foreign Minister. The Turkish Foreign Minister will also call on the Prime Minister,” Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mohammad Faisal told reporters in a weekly news briefing on Thursday.
Cavusoglu’s visit follows an invitation by Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. Besides Qureshi, he is also scheduled to meet with President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan.
“Pakistan and Turkey already enjoy exemplary and historic relations based on heritage, culture, religion and there are very strong bonds,” Ankara’s ambassador to Pakistan Mustafa Yurdakul told Turkish News Agency Anadolu about the visit.
Top on the agenda are discussions relating to the bilateral ties of the two countries, enhanced cooperation and views on regional and international developments.
According to the Turkish News Agency, the bilateral trade volume between Turkey and Pakistan was around $650 million by the end of 2017, while Istanbul intends to improve this volume to $1 billion.
On August 10, US President Donald Trump slapped steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey in an attempt to force it to release US pastor Andrew Brunson. 
"Brunson, who had been living in Turkey for more than two decades, was placed under house arrest for allegedly helping supporters of US-based Fethullah Gulen. Gulen stands accused by Turkey for a failed coup attempt in July 2016."
Turkey established the Maarif Foundation in 2016 to take over the administration of overseas schools linked to Fetullah Organization, Anadolu reported.
Pakistan has expressed solidarity with Turkey and its government over the economic crisis and the unilateral sanctions imposed by the US government. 
“The solution to any and all issues should lie in dialogue, mutual understanding and goodwill. Any steps or actions to the contrary only undermine the peace and stability and make the solution to a problem more difficult and intractable,” a statement issued by the Foreign Office, on August 13, said. 
Earlier, during a telephonic conversation with Cavusoglu, Qureshi had said that Pakistan-Turkey relations had transformed into a mutually-beneficial and strategic partnership over the years.


Pakistan ready to respond to a full spectrum threat — army spokesman

Updated 46 min 45 sec ago
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Pakistan ready to respond to a full spectrum threat — army spokesman

  • Prepared to counter any attack from Indian security forces
  • Warns New Delhi against action; says Islamabad “would surprise you”

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan army spokesman Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor warned India on Friday against any military action, saying that should New Delhi “show any aggression,” it would be Islamabad that would “surprise you”. 
He added in the same breath that “we do not wish to go to war”.
In his statement — which was in response to growing threats from its nuclear-armed neighbor — the spokesperson said that Islamabad was prepared to respond to a “full spectrum threat” without enabling its nuclear capability.
“Pakistan is not preparing for war. War and revenge threats are coming from you. We are a sovereign state and hold the right to respond to your threats. We are not preparing to initiate, but response and defense is our right and we will exercise that,” he said, adding that he hoped India “got the message”.
Ghafoor said Islamabad delayed its response to the Pulwama attack to investigate New Delhi’s baseless claims of state-sponsored terrorism to ascertain the veracity of the allegations, following which Prime Minister Imran Khan responded in a televised address to the nation on Tuesday wherein he rejected the assertion and warned New Delhi of retaliation if attacked.
He said that Khan has offered to assist India in investigating the attack if it can back its claims and would take strict measures against the person who is “an enemy of Pakistan”, an offer Ghafoor said has been given before as well. He added that “terrorism is a regional problem and Pakistan is willing to table talks with India on the matter”.
Ghafoor made the comments at a press briefing which came a week after a deadly suicide attack in the Pulwama district of Indian-administered Kashmir. The attack killed more than 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel and left scores injured.
Listing terror incidents of the past in India or Indian-administered Kashmir, Ghafoor said there is a pattern of occurrences of this nature adding that “when an important event for Pakistan is scheduled to happen, this type of stage action arises”.
The brazen bombing came before eight very important engagements for Pakistan, Ghafoor explained connecting India’s previous attempts to paint Pakistan as the sponsor of terrorism, hold its western neighbor responsible and push it toward diplomatic isolation.
“Saudi Crown Prince was due in Pakistan to hold a (historic) investment conference, talks on terror listing at United Nations Security Council was scheduled, development on Afghan peace reconciliation process was underway, discussions on human rights violations in Indian-administered Kashmir at the European Union was due, the decisive hearing of (Indian spy) Kulbushan Jhadav case at the world court, a discussion on Financial Action Task Force was to take place for a decision on Pakistan, both sides (India and Pakistan) were to hold a meeting on the Kartarpur border crossing development, and Pakistan super league cricket matches [in which foreign players are participating] had begun,” he said.
The military spokesman questioned how cross border infiltration could have happened when the number of Indian security forces is larger than the population of Kashmiris. “India should ask its forces which have been there for seven decades and spent a huge quantum on defense, how infiltration occurred?” he said.
“The attack happened miles from the Line of Control (LoC), the explosives used were under use by Indian security forces and administration – it didn’t come from Pakistan. The vehicle used was local, not from Pakistan. The attack [was carried out ] by the young Kashmiri, who was resident of Indian-administered Kashmir,” Ghafoor said.
He added that Pakistan is the only country in the world that has not let terrorism take control of its narrative and has given ample sacrifices to counter it. He cited the example of Islamabad helping other nations eliminate Al Qaeda from Afghanistan.
Kashmir, he said, is the biggest issue of the region and offered India to resume talks on the matter. Being the world’s largest democracy, India needs “introspection” on the Kashmir issue and two democracies can’t afford war, he said.