There had been much speculation on this visit. The last time a Pakistani foreign minister had visited India was in 2016, when the foreign affairs advisor (considered a de facto minister) Sartaj Aziz attended an Amritsar conference.
Pakistan on Thursday, April 20, confirmed that Pakistani foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will be attending the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) council for foreign ministers in Goa next month.
FM @BBhuttoZardari will lead 🇵🇰delegation to SCO-CFM meeting being held on 4-5 May 2023 in Goa,India. FM’s participation in Meeting reflects 🇵🇰’s continued commitment to SCO Charter & processes & the importance that Pakistan accords to the region in its foreign policy priorities.
— Spokesperson 🇵🇰 MoFA (@ForeignOfficePk) April 20, 2023
The announcement was made by the Pakistan foreign office spokesperson Mumtaz Zehra Baloch at the weekly briefing. She didn’t, however, give any indication about whether Pakistan defence minister Asif Khawaja will participate at the SCO defence ministers meeting in the last week of April.
In December 2016, Pakistan PM’s foreign affairs advisor Sartaj Aziz, who was seen as the de-facto foreign minister, took part in the multilateral Heart of Asia conference on Afghanistan in Amritsar. The last stand-alone bilateral trip by a Pakistani foreign minister was Hina Rabbani Khar in 2012.
According to the foreign office spokesperson, the Pakistani minister’s participation was a reflection of “Pakistan’s commitment to the SCO Charter and processes and the importance that Pakistan accords to the region in its foreign policy priorities”.