Islamabad: Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that bilateral relations between countries are above religious sentiments, as he tried to play down the UAE conferring the Gulf country's highest civilian award on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, according to a media report.
Qureshi's comments came after Pakistan's Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani on Sunday cancelled his official trip to the UAE, a day after Modi was honoured with the 'Order of Zayed,' UAE's highest civilian award.
Sanjrani was scheduled to visit the UAE from August 25 to August 28 with a parliamentary delegation. He cancelled the trip as Pakistan vehemently supports the Kashmiri people after India revoked the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated it into two Union Territories.
Talking about the award that Modi received as a mark of appreciation for his efforts to boost bilateral ties between the two nations, Qureshi said the UAE or any other country had the right to maintain bilateral relations with countries of their choice, the Dawn newspaper reported.
"International relations are above religious sentiments. The UAE and India have a history of relations in connection with investment," he was quoted as saying in the report.
"I will soon have a meeting with the UAE foreign minister to inform him about the prevailing situation in Kashmir, Qureshi said.
Qureshi tried to play down the significance of the UAE's highest honour to Modi, which many in Pakistan interpreted as endorsement of his Kashmir policy.
"Pakistan also enjoys cordial relations with the UAE and once facts will be presented to them (the UAE leaders), I am hopeful that they won't disappoint Pakistan," he said. Qureshi said that the UAE and India enjoyed close ties as a lot of Indian expatriates work in the Gulf country.