Islamabad: Ever since the war clouds over Pakistan and India scattered, a number of foreign dignitaries have been visiting Pakistan and urging both sides to take credible action that can ensure peace and stability in the region.
The latest visit was that of German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas who arrived in Islamabad on Tuesday and held meetings with Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmoud Qureshi on bilateral matters as well as regional issues.
The German foreign minister talked about the focus on the expansion of bilateral ties and defusing tension between Pakistan and India. He appreciated the speedy release of the Indian pilot and PM Imran’s offer of dialogue to India, recognising that the steps helped de-escalate the tension.
During a joint press conference, Mass appreciated Pakistan’s efforts for elimination of terrorism and lauded Islamabad’s role in restoration of peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Qureshi pointed out that Pakistan has taken a number of steps to eliminate terrorism, “a global challenge, and a regional challenge” and that the present government is taking steps to implement National Action Plan on terrorism in letter and spirit, which was evolved after the horrific terror attack on Army Public School in Peshawar.
Commenting on the recent efforts and diplomatic engagements, a senior political analyst and head of Centre of Research and Security Studies, Imtiaz Gul, told Gulf News “it demonstrates that Pakistan remains an important country for the international community.” He suggested “Pakistan must present its case in a credible way to convince the world community that the Pakistan is against terrorism, and is taking action against terrorist groups, terror financing and money laundering.”
Recently, Pakistan’s interior ministry released an updated list of 70 proscribed organisations which now includes Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) and Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF) whereas Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) was added to the list in 2002. This is part of Pakistan’s efforts to crack down on counter-terrorism financing and anti-money laundering to put the house in order and to meet the requirements of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). However, “It is essential to sustain these efforts [against terrorism] to turn them into permanent success” Gul added.
Other dignitaries who recently visited Pakistan and played a role in defusing the tension included Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir, Foreign Minister of Luxembourg Jean Asselborn and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou.
The ongoing visits came in the backdrop of dozens of telephonic conversations to Pakistani leadership from a number of world leaders including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Jordanian King Abdullah II, as well as foreign ministers and foreign secretaries from Canada, Britain and Japan.
One of the most important calls Pakistan received was from US National Security Advisor, Ambassador John Bolton, on March 11. The Pakistan foreign minister informed him that Indian aggression was “a violation of Pakistan’s territorial integrity and sovereignty as well as the UN Charter; and that Pakistan’s response “was purely in self-defence against external aggression.”
Bolton appreciated Pakistan’s measures, which had helped lowering the tension, and urged the “need for dialogue between Pakistan and India to find peaceful resolution to all outstanding disputes.”
The ongoing tensions between Pakistan and India that appeared to have calmed down but the threat is not over, cautioned Islamabad-based defence analyst Maria Sultan.
Talking to Gulf News, Sultan said, “The Indian rhetoric has toned down after the release of Indian pilot but the tension on ground is still high which means tension is not over” she said adding, “Kashmiris continue to suffer at the hands of Indians.”
The intensive diplomatic engagements in Pakistan followed a war-like situation between the two nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours that developed after the Pulwama terror attack on February 14 and an Indian air incursion against alleged terror camps in Pakistan. It was followed by a surprising Pakistani reaction and downing of two Indian fighter jets and capture of one pilot on February 27.
As war threat reached its peak, PM Imran offered peace talks and the Indian pilot was released by Pakistan on March 1 — a gesture highly admired by the global community. The Indian pilot was released by Pakistan on March 1. However, border skirmishes continue at the Line of Control where few troops as well as civilians have been killed while people living close to the frontiers are still tense and worried.