2 March 2021
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Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Tuesday said Pakistan desires to improve relations with the United States.
“Pakistan desires to improve its bilateral relations with the US,” Qureshi said while addressing the Senate.
“Weightage will be given to the opinion of people and its elected representatives while taking forward relations with Washington,” he added.
Responding to Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Raza Rabbani’s request for a reply on the telephonic conservation between Prime Minister Imran Khan and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, Qureshi reiterated, “US State Department readout regarding the phone call was contrary to facts.”
“The conversation between PM Imran and Pompeo was cordial and constructive in nature,” the foreign minister said.
The press release issued by Pakistan on the conversation is based on facts, the foreign minister upheld.
Qureshi also shared that Pompeo is expected to visit Pakistan on September 5.
He further pointed out that national security and foreign policies are interlinked and we should “demonstrate unison” on them.
“Political differences should be kept aside on national security and foreign policy matters,” he urged.
Given the challenges faced by the country, unity will strengthen our voice, he said.
Further, the foreign minister assured that guidance will be taken from the Parliament in the formulation of foreign policy.
Not yet decided whether to take IMF bailout package: Asad Umar
Taking the floor, Finance Minister Asad Umar said Pakistan has not yet decided whether to take a bailout package from International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Consultations on the current economic situation are under way and a final decision will be taken after taking the Parliament on board, Umar said.
Regarding the National Finance Commission Award, Umar said it is a constitutional obligation and on the first day after assuming office he directed the finance secretary to initiate the process for the new NFC Award.
New govt will firmly take up water issue with India: Mazari
Meanwhile, Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari categorically stated that the new government will strongly and firmly take up the water issue with India.
She told the Senate during question hour today that India has not withdrawn from Indus Water Treaty and it is liable to the provisions of the treaty.
Mazari regretted that the previous governments resorted to the policy of appeasement and did not take up the issue of water effectively with India.
“India has constructed dams in violation of the Indus Water Treaty,” she said.
Pakistan did take up the matter with the World Bank but it refrained from playing the role of arbitrator. We will reassert the Indian side to adhere to the treaty, she added.
Pakistan trying to engage Afghanistan for possible water treaty: Awan
Further, Adviser on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan told the Senate that Pakistan is continuously trying to engage the Afghan government for a possible water treaty. He said that the Afghan side is so far non-responsive to the initiative.
Construction of new hydro power projects in Afghanistan will certainly have some impact on the water inflows in the country, he said.
“An Afghanistan cell has been established in the office of Pakistan Commissioner for Indus Waters which collects data through difference sources and monitoring inflows on the common rivers with Afghanistan,” Awan said.
Minister for Petroleum Division Ghulam Sarwar Khan said the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India [TAPI] will be completed during the tenure of the present government.
“This is an important energy project and a company has been constituted to oversee its construction,” Sarwar said.
On a point of order, senior PPP Leader Sherry Rehman appreciated the presence of Prime Minister Imran Khan in yesterday’s proceedings of the House.
The promise made by the government to ensure good governance is also welcomed and the government should fulfill the promises that it made to the nation during election campaigns, she said.

Abdul Gh Lone