• 23 May, 2024
Foreign Affairs, Geopolitics & National Security

Bilawal Bhutto’s BBC Interview: Pre SCO CFM Meeting

Arunav Singh Rawat
Mon, 08 May 2023   |  Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a Eurasian political, economic, international security and defence organisation. It includes India, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Pakistan.

India is hosting the meeting for SCO 2023 and the theme for this year is SECURE, S for security, E for economic development, C for connectivity, U for unity, R for respecting sovereignty, E for environmental protection. Goa was the venue for the Foreign Ministers meeting, many foreign delegates reached Goa, but the most discussed in media was Mr. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan. After a long time, foreign minister of Pakistan has arrived in India, last time it was in the year 2011.

The meeting agenda mainly comprised 15 proposals including extending SCO membership with Iran, Bahrain, Kuwait, Maldives, Myanmar and the United Arab Emirates and using a common currency for foreign trade to counter US dollar.

Bilawal Bhutto arrived at Goa on 4th may. In an interview with BCC pre–SCO CFM meeting, Bhutto replayed that he wants to have no bilateral meetings with India on any issue until India undo its action of 5 august 2019 i.e., abolishing the article 370 and 35A. He also mentioned that his arrival to India was only an act of greet and respect to the SCO corporation.

On asking about Poonch terror attack, Bhutto Zardari said that there is no direct declaration or statement by any officials of both nations.

Was the attack by Pakistan?

The attack on an Army truck in Poonch was purportedly by terror outfit PAFF last week was an attempt by Pakistan to show the world that Jammu and Kashmir remains ‘volatile, unstable and dangerous.

Bilawal continues to say Pakistan condemns terrorism and wants to promote peace across both the nations. He also mentioned that “I was also a victim of terrorism in Pakistan”, referring to the assassination of her mother, Benazir Bhutto on 27 December 2007. Benazir Bhutto was the first woman to lead a Muslim country and she was assassinated after she addressed a rally of PPP (Pakistan People Party) at Rawalpindi.

Further, the interviewer mentioned about India’s help and aid to Turkey during the 2023 earthquake and after highlighting the ongoing economic crises in Pakistan, he asked whether Pakistan need an aid from India or not? Bilawal said, “I think we are not asking, and they are not offering”.

About the Aid by India

India has sent emergency relief material and life-saving medicines and equipment worth ₹7 crore to Turkey and Syria. During the Covid crisis, India’s “Maitri initiative” distributed more than 235 million vaccines to 98 different countries. During 2023 budget session, India decided to provide an aid of 4.2 million dollar to Afghanistan and a total of 700 million to foreign countries.

We see a major change to India’s response to any crisis in Pakistan. For example, during the 2010 Flood crisis in Pakistan, India went on offering 20 million USD to Pakistan to help the victims. While, during 2022 floods in Pakistan, India did not announce any aid to Pakistan. This is majorly because of funding cross boarder terrorism by Pakistan and Global concerns after massive corruption in Pakistan’s flood relief system by Pakistani establishments and officials. Even countries like US and Europe showed their concern about the fact that their funds never reached the flood victims and ends up in the pockets of Pakistani government. So, India’s step of not providing funds was a good move to prevent instability in Indian territory.

The interview next highlighted about the political instability and rise in Imran Khan’s popularity. In reply, Bilawal said that political instability is very common in a democratic world and social media have a big hand in changing Pakistan’s people opinion. Interviewer further asked about Taliban’s takeover in Afghanistan, celebration by Pakistan’s citizens and about Lt General Faiz Hameed’s visit to Afghanistan in 2021. He asked about the terrorism and violence by TTP in Pakistan and how Pakistan look forward it. Bilawal responded that there was no such sort of celebration about Taliban’s take over and the visit of intelligence chief was just to look at the situation of the area. He said, “Well, I don’t recall any celebration in Pakistan after the fall of Kabul”.

Reality about the Celebration

But we all remember the statements by then Prime minister Imran Khan about Taliban’s takeover is like breaking cages of slavery and he congratulate Taliban. People also celebrated about India’s 3 billion dollar investment program in Afghanistan and titled it as Islamabad’s victory. PTI leader Neelam Irshad Sheikh even mentioned that “Taliban will help to take back Kashmir” but things didn’t turn that way.

Taliban helped TTP to promote terrorism in Pakistan. The last question went as “Can we expect Bilawal Bhutto to be the next Prime Minister of Pakistan” Bilawal replied, “No statement before election, the time will let us know in that regards.”


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