Bilawal Bhutto makes pitch for re-engagement with India

Islamabad, June 16 (IANS) Describing Pakistan as “internationally isolated and disengaged”, the country’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Thursday made a strong pitch for re-engagement with India, asking whether cutting off ties with India served the nation’s interests, media reports said.

“Does it serve our interests, do we achieve our objectives whatever they may be, be it Kashmir, be it rising Islamophobia, the Hindutva supremacist nature of the new regimes and the governments in India? Does it serve our objective that we have practically cut off all engagements,” asked Bilawal while speaking at the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad, Express Tribune reported.

“That I as foreign minister, as a representative of my country, not only speak to the Indian government but I don’t speak to the Indian people and is this the best way to communicate or achieve Pakistan’s objectives,” he added.

There was some hope of rapprochement in February 2021 when the two countries renewed the ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC). The truce is still holding, but the two sides could not agree on the next steps to resume talks.

But with the change of government, there has been a renewed hope for some level of engagement. It is believed that some kind of “back channels” are active to find a way out of the current impasse.

Against this backdrop, the statement of Foreign Minister Zardari indicates that there is an eagerness on the part of the current government to bring some shift, Express Tribune reported.