“Aaj nahin to kal, that day must come”: Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on engagement between India and Pakistan

Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said Wednesday he was confident that the day would come when his country would be able to engage with India both diplomatically and economically.

“Aaj nahin to kal, that day must come. On that day, we will unleash our full economic potential and all will share the fruits of prosperity,” Zardari said while discussing various steps needed to unlock Pakistan’s economic and trade opportunities, including with its various neighbors.

“I hope that the day will come in my life when we can resolve the conflicts in our region and unleash our full potential for growth,” he said, speaking of numerous conflicts in his country’s neighborhood.

However, Zardari assured that Pakistan will never compromise its national interests whenever it engages in diplomatic or economic ties with another country.

He also said that the only way to solve the Ukraine crisis is through dialogue and diplomacy.

He spoke at the annual Pakistan Breakfast Session in Davos organized by the Pathfinder Group and the Martin Dow Group on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2022.

“This is a time when humanity is facing not one but many existential crises, be it the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change or numerous conflicts,” he said.

“Do we want to be known in history as someone who resolved existential crises and conflicts through dialogue, or as someone who created more conflicts? Resolving conflicts is not in the interests of smaller countries like ours, but also of larger nations and everyone,” he added.

He said that while Pakistan has empathy and sympathy for the people of Ukraine, “we firmly believe that this conflict must be resolved through diplomacy and dialogue.”

Zardari said Pakistan is also facing severe economic consequences of various conflicts.

“Should we keep fighting the same old struggles or should we strive to be known as a country of modern Muslims and have a prosperous future?” he added.

The minister said the best way forward at the national and international levels is to put aside political squabbling on the sidelines and explore and unlock Pakistan’s vast untapped potential.

“We can show nationally and internationally that Pakistan is a functioning state that is willing to help itself, and then the international community will also understand our potential and help us continue to grow,” he said.

Zardari said Pakistan has China, India, Iran and Afghanistan as neighbors.

“We couldn’t maximize our trade with China. Our relationship with India has obviously not progressed, but one day we will come to the place where international institutions will come to ensure the international order.

“There will definitely come a day when we can not only work together diplomatically but also economically with our neighbor to the east,” he said.

Speaking on Afghanistan, he said he was in no hurry to recognize the new Taliban regime, but “I am in a hurry to see that the people there come out of despair and that Afghanistan comes out of the economic catastrophe it has fallen into “.

“We need to address the humanitarian crisis and the economic crisis there first and foremost, and I, as Pakistan’s foreign minister, will do everything to ensure that,” he said.

“We want the decision to freeze Afghan funds to be reconsidered. The girls and women of Afghanistan have the right to education and work and to contribute to their economy,” said Zardari.

The minister went on to say: “We in Pakistan, Muslims of Pakistan, have seen more than one woman elected prime minister and we expect Afghan women to also get the respect they deserve.”

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