Islamabad, May 4
Pakistan’s foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari left for India on Thursday to attend a key multilateral meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation scheduled to take place in Goa on May 4 and 5, according to a media report.
Bhutto Zardari, who would be the first foreign minister to visit India since 2011, is leading the Pakistan delegation to the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) of the Beijing-based Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
The Foreign Office (FO) has said that the invitation to the Pakistan Foreign Minister to attend the SCO-CFM was extended by India’s Minister for External Affairs S Jaishankar, as the current chair of the SCO.
Upon Pakistan’s request, Bhutto Zardari was granted special permission by the Indian civil aviation authority to use the Indian airspace, Duniya TV reported.
On my way to Goa, India. Will be leading the Pakistan delegation at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization CFM. My decision to attend this meeting illustrates Pakistan’s strong commitment to the charter of SCO.
During my visit, which is focused exclusively on the SCO, I look… pic.twitter.com/cChUWj9okR
— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) May 4, 2023
“On my way to Goa, India. Will be leading the Pakistan delegation at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization CFM. My decision to attend this meeting illustrates Pakistan’s strong commitment to the charter of the SCO,” Bhutto Zardari tweeted before his departure.
“During my visit, which is focused exclusively on the SCO, I look forward to constructive discussions with my counterparts from friendly countries,” he said.
“The Foreign Minister of Pakistan Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will also meet with his counterparts of friendly countries on the sidelines of the CFM,” the FO said recently.
Pakistan has said that the Pakistani foreign minister would not hold any meeting with his Indian counterpart.
The visit is highly symbolic as it is the first by any Pakistani Foreign Minister since Hina Rabbani Khar travelled to India in July 2011 for peace talks.