By Zaman Bajwa
Islamabad, Pakistan: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari visited the United Nations, New York from 17-19 May has shown what a statesman should be. His casting has two generations of understanding of diplomatic norms which shows in his personality. Defending the country for garbage spread by the previous government was difficult if not impossible but Bilawal did an exceptional job and BBC reports that he defended the Foreign Policy of Pakistan in a way that no one could imagine.
This first visit of the Foreign Minister was in the multilateral context after assuming the office. There were two key meetings at the UN in which the Foreign Minister participated – the Ministerial Meeting on “Global Food Security Call to Action” (18 May) and the Security Council’s Open Debate on “Maintenance of International Peace and Security – Conflict and Food Security” (19 May).
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto made headlines in Pakistan when he defended former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s controversial visit to Russia during his interaction with the media in New York.
The foreign minister was speaking at a press conference at the UN Headquarters when he was asked to comment on Imran Khan’s Moscow visit that had angered the western capitals. The PTI chairman blames Washington for toppling his government due to an independent foreign policy — an allegation the US denies.
Bilawal Bhutto, who is the youngest Pakistani foreign minister, answered the journalist with “maturity, grace, and patriotism”, winning praise at home from political pundits and experts.
Bilawal Bhutto said, “as far as the former PM’s trip to Russia [is concerned], I would absolutely defend him,” adding that, “[the] Pakistani PM conducted that trip as part of his foreign policy”.
He said that no one knew that there would have been a Russia-Ukraine conflict.
“I believe it is very unfair to punish Pakistan for such an innocent action. Of course, Pakistan is absolutely clear as far as it comes to the principles of the UN [United Nations] of non-use of force and we stand by these principles,” he said.
The strong defence of Bilawal Bhutto against his political rival in a foreign land has been termed as a sign of maturity by the young minister.
1st visit to @UN focused on issue of food security. Climate, Covid & Conflict have aggravated the issue. 🇵🇰 welcomes all initiatives that aim to promote food security. We also call for dialogue & diplomacy in pursuit of peace to end conflict & work together on issues that matter. https://t.co/kYXT8rACQd
— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) May 21, 2022
‘Good demonstration of grace, maturity’
Financial expert Yousuf Nazar took to Twitter and praised the foreign minister for his diplomatic skills at the international forum.
Journalist Kamran Yousuf said even Imran Khan’s spokesperson couldn’t defend his Russia trip as effectively as Bilawal has done here.
I would absolutely defend the former PM of Pakistan. Former PM conducted that trip as part of his foreign policy without knowing that the current conflict would start.@BBhuttoZardari#PakFMAtUN
— PPP (@MediaCellPPP) May 19, 2022
Journalist Kamran Khan termed the move an “excellent gesture” by Bilawal Bhutto.
‘Pakistan well represented’
Ex-Pakistani diplomat Jalil Abbas Jilani also appreciated the foreign minister for holding a “brilliant” press conference in New York.
Bilawal also said that the new government of Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif should be given a chance to solve the country’s issues.
“We need to find out the solution to issues while working together with every stakeholder and party,” he said.
We believe that #Pakistan must continue to engage with the #UnitedStates at all levels — I am particularly anti the politics of hate, division and polarization: Foreign Minister 🇵🇰 @BBhuttoZardari said in an interview with @AP. pic.twitter.com/pmlYYonJhV
— PPP (@MediaCellPPP) May 21, 2022