Bilawal’s trip to Goa overshadows Sharif’s London ‘mission’

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Minister of Foreign Affairs Bilawal Bhuto Zardari’s trip to India for a Shanghai Cooperation Organization conclave (SCO) in Goa eclipsed Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s visit to London for the coronation of King Charles III in terms of optics, which suits the government at the moment. Shehbaz, plagued by political and constitutional challenges, is expected to meet his exiled brother and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of Saturday’s coronation ceremony to seek his advice on how to deal with the crisis in his country.
The Prime Minister had his eye on Bilawal’s visit from London, indicating the importance his government attaches to the trip. More importantly, he would be relieved that the Foreign Secretary landing in India stared at him as he embarked on what could be an even bigger mission in the British capital. Based on advice he receives from three-time Prime Minister Nawaz, the young Sharif is expected to make crucial decisions upon his return to the country to escape possible contempt for defying supreme court orders on holding elections in the province of Punjab on May 14. .
With his foreign minister’s visit so far garnering all the attention from the mainstream and digital media, the prime minister has done his part to keep the attention there. “Pakistan’s decision to attend the SCO meeting reflects the country’s commitment to the organization’s charter and multilateralism,” Shehbaz tweeted on Thursday. “We are committed to playing our part in advancing our common values ​​of peace and stability in the region. We are all for win-win agreements based on mutually beneficial connectivity, trade and cooperation,” he said. he writes.
Bilawal’s trip, the first by a Pakistani foreign minister to India since Hina Rabbani Khar’s visit in July 2011, even split the ranks of the opposition PTI party. Bilawal’s predecessor, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, said the SCO was “an important forum” that Pakistan should use, taking a stand opposed to some party colleagues. “In my eyes, there is no harm…If we want the political, economic and security integration of Eurasia, then this is the forum,” he said of the visit. But PTI’s Shireen Mazari issued a discordant note, saying the country’s ‘imported’ foreign minister was in Goa ‘to show his loyalty to the Bajwa plan (a reference to former army chief General Bajwa) aimed at appeasing the United States over Israel and India”. “Despite the insult of India’s refusal to hold bilateral meetings, he was desperate to go,” she said.


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