Pakistani FM calls Pompeo, discusses India’s ‘regressive policies’ in Kashmir

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shakes hands with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi before a meeting at the US State Department on January 17, 2020, in Washington, DC. (AFP)
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Updated 08 August 2020

Pakistani FM calls Pompeo, discusses India’s ‘regressive policies’ in Kashmir

  • Qureshi tells the US state secretary that Pakistan will be Washington’s peace partner in the region
  • Says Islamabad hoped for the earliest convening of intra-Afghan negotiations

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Friday thanked US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for American participation in the United Nations Security Council debate over India’s “continuing regressive policies” in Kashmir on August 5, adding that the Security Council deliberations had once again reaffirmed the disputed status of Jammu and Kashmir.
According to an official handout circulated in Islamabad, Qureshi had a phone call with the US official in which he discussed the United States-Pakistan relations along with other regional developments.
Stressing the importance of the bilateral relations between the two countries, the foreign minister said that “Pakistan would be a partner for peace with the US.”
Qureshi also noted that “the continued interest and commitment of the international community would help generate the necessary momentum toward the resolution of Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the wishes of the Kashmiri people and the relevant UN Security Council security resolutions.”
Reviewing the recent developments in Afghanistan, he also reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to an inclusive and comprehensive political settlement in the war-torn country.
“The Foreign Minister stressed that the Afghan peace process should be pursued in earnest. Noting the holding of Loya Jirga, he expressed the hope that a conducive environment would be created for the earliest convening of the intra-Afghan negotiations,” said the statement.
Exchanging notes on the COVID-19 pandemic, Qureshi thanked Pompeo for the US support and assistance. He also added that the government’s “smart lockdown” policy had helped Pakistan gradually open up its economy.


Pakistan to establish 18 markets on Afghanistan, Iran borders to boost trade, curb smuggling

Updated 18 September 2020

Pakistan to establish 18 markets on Afghanistan, Iran borders to boost trade, curb smuggling

  • Under the plan, the government will set up 12 markets along the border with Afghanistan and six along the Iran frontier
  • Prime minister approves setting up two border markets in Balochistan and one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by February next year

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan government has decided to set up markets along its borders with neighboring Afghanistan and Iran to boost trade opportunities, foster peace and check smuggling, the commerce ministry said on Friday.
Main crossing point into Pakistan for both goods and people from Iran and Afghan also serve as major smuggling routes.
“The border markets will help create job opportunities and establish a peaceful relationship with the neighboring countries,” Aisha Humera Moriani, joint-secretary at the Ministry of Commerce, told Arab News.
Under the plan, the government is establishing 18 markets: 12 along the border with Afghanistan and six along the Iran frontier.
In a meeting on Thursday, Prime Minister Imran Khan approved setting up two border markets in Balochistan and one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province as a pilot project, to be functional by February next year.
Moriani said the markets would contribute to local development and help the government address “smuggling and boost legal trade across the border.”
Pakistan is fencing its borders with Afghanistan and Iran to check cross-border militancy, illegal movement of people and smuggling, which is a major source of income for people living along border towns and villages.
Sardar Shoukat Popalzai, President Balochistan Economic Forum, said the government should have built “common markets” along the Afghanistan and Iran borders with the mutual consent of the neighboring governments to maximize benefits for people on both sides of the borders.
“The government has not released a feasibility report, if there is any, of these markets as to how are they going to help the local population,” he told Arab News.
Popalzai said Balochistan border areas were sparsely populated and establishment of a few shopping terminals would “hardly make any difference in the lives of the people.”
He said cross-border smuggling was a major source of income for people living in the frontier areas of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, so “this requires a lot more effort than mere setting up of markets to check this undocumented economy.”
Zubair Motiwala, chairman of the Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the government should establish cold storages and warehouses in the border markets to boost the export of perishable and other items to the neighboring countries.
“The taxation system on the exports and imports of different items through the land routes should be well defined to encourage businessmen and locals to boost the legal trade with Afghanistan and Iran,” he said.