ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Tuesday told his cabinet that China, Russia and Iran had backed Pakistan’s position on the Afghanistan issue.

Speaking at a meeting of the federal cabinet, PM Abbasi said that Pakistan was firm not to compromise on its sovereignty under any pressure.

The PM, according to a cabinet member who attended the meeting, said that Pakistan desired to have good ties with the United States in the interest of both the countries but will not tolerate uncalled for anti-Pakistan statements.

The cabinet member told The Nation that all the ministers supported the decision of an aggressive foreign policy as Islamabad was being asked to prove its seriousness in the war on terror despite rendering unprecedented sacrifices.

The cabinet, he said, discussed the foreign policy in detail and decided to defend the country’s image at all forums. “The PM told the ministers that as always, China had backed Pakistan. He shared with us that Russia and Iran had also responded well which was encouraging for Pakistan,” he said.

Last month, US President Donald Trump announced his policy for Afghanistan and South Asia and questioned Pakistan’s role in the war on terror. Much to the annoyance of Pakistan, Trump also urged India to play a ‘bigger role’ in Afghanistan. Pakistan launched diplomatic efforts to counter the damage.

A three-day envoys’ conference was held in Islamabad to discuss the foreign policy after Trump’s criticism. Later, Foreign Minister Khawaja Mohammed Asif said that Pakistan was undergoing a ‘seismic shift’ and needed to find a ‘correct direction.’

Asif flew to China afterward to discuss Trump’s speech. He visited Iran and Turkey this week and is expected to make a trip to Russia before joining PM Abbasi at the United Nations General Assembly.

The foreign minister was in Ankara on Tuesday on a day-long visit.

A foreign ministry statement said that the foreign minister held talks with Turkish President Recip Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoglu “on further strengthening relations between Pakistan and Turkey and deepening mutual coordination on regional peace, security, and connectivity.”

During his call on the Turkish president, Asif reaffirmed Pakistan’s strong desire for further strengthening the strategic partnership between the two countries through increased cooperation in political, economic, defence and people to people ties. President Erdogan reiterated Turkey’s unflinching commitment to broaden and expand brotherly relations between the two countries, the statement said.

“They agreed on maintaining regular high-level exchanges between the two countries. Emphasizing that lasting peace in Afghanistan was important for stability in the region, they agreed that Pakistan and Turkey would continue to work together for peace and stability in Afghanistan,” it said.

Later in the day, the foreign ministers of the two countries held bilateral talks covering all areas of mutual cooperation and coordination on peace and security in the region with particular focus on Afghanistan in the light of recent developments.

“They agreed that there was no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and reiterated that Afghanistan’s neighbours and regional countries needed to work together for facilitating a politically negotiated settlement under an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process,” the statement said.

Another participant of the cabinet meeting told The Nation that there was a consensus among the cabinet members that Pakistan needed to have good ties with the regional countries as well as Muslim-majority countries. “The whole team supported the idea of concentrating on the Muslim-majority countries and the regional powers like Russia,” he said.

The new foreign policy , he said, would focus on enhancing ties with the whole world and removing the misunderstandings of the western countries over Pakistan’s role in the war on terror.

An official statement issued after the meeting said that as a major step towards mainstreaming of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), the cabinet approved placing a bill before the Parliament that seeks to extend the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and the Islamabad High Court to the tribal areas.

It was decided that after its passage through the Parliament, the abolition of the Frontier Crimes Regulations, the extension of the jurisdiction of the superior courts and implementation of normal laws of the country would be enforced in the tribal areas in a phased manner.

“This will be reinforced by a massive development effort which will be financed through the allocation of additional resources from the divisible pool after concurrence of all stakeholders,” the statement said.

A National Implementation Committee under the prime minister has already been constituted for overseeing the political, legal, administrative and developmental mainstreaming of FATA, the cabinet was told.

Besides, the cabinet also accorded approval for laying the annual report of SECP for the year 2015-16 and that of Competition Commission of Pakistan for the year 2013 and 2014 in the Parliament after publication in the Gazette of Pakistan.

The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority’s annual report for 2015-16 and state of industry report for 2016 was also presented before the cabinet.

The prime minister directed the ministry concerned for a comprehensive presentation to the cabinet on power generation, distribution and transmission, liabilities and recoveries and load management in the country, the statement said.

The cabinet also approved the signing of an agreement between Pakistan and Tanzania on the abolition of visa for diplomatic and official passport holders.