The significance of the Turkish Foreign Minister’s visit to Pakistan in the aftermath of the failed military coup in Turkey cannot be overstated. Put simply, this visit was a means for Pakistan to choose its side, to stand by the Turkish government or risk losing the historically significant friendship, and we can rest easy knowing that the Foreign Office ensured that Mevlut Cavusoglu left satisfied.

The main issue discussed was the situation of Pak-Turk Schools network, which has at least 21 institutions registered on the organisation’s official website all across the country. The Turkish government wants these shut down because of the alleged links to Fatehullah Gulen. The school system’s website features a public declaration on its homepage stating that it has no political affiliation of any sort and did not support the coup in any way so shutting them down might be a tad extreme.

Closing down the schools is not an option, but handing over their administrative control to the Turkish government (as suggested by Sartaj Aziz) might just be a very good idea, both in terms of not denying the education or livelihoods of the students and teachers that are part of the system, but also to placate the Turkish government and on another level, carry on the principle of the Pak-Turk friendship that these schools were initially opened to promote.

Meanwhile, with Wednesday being the final day of the conference of Pakistani envoys, the Prime Minister’s attendance and subsequent speech were proof that the government finally seems to be taking matters of foreign policy more seriously.

The one thing that can be taken away from all that was said by the Prime Minister in the final note of this three-day conference is that Pakistan is keeping its options open. The glass-half empty version of this perspective would be that Pakistan has not done enough to reconcile all the outstanding issues; of India and Kashmir, terrorism and Afghanistan, with the subsequent link of the first two to the US relationship.

Then of course there are the Muslim countries to deal with; foremost among them Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran. The proper construction and handling of the CPEC project is the key to China’s everlasting friendship seemingly, and Russia must also be warmed up to, if we continue to drift apart from the age-old western allies.

But the more optimistic, and in this case more logical view would be to consider the efforts being made on all these fronts regardless of the immediate short-run consequences. The Pakistani foreign office has identified targets, the ones above, and all of these are being approached on at least some diplomatic level. With the Turkish Foreign Minister pleased with the outcome of his visit, we can only hope that this friendship continues to be as mutually beneficial as it has in the past.