LAHORE - During the current year, Pakistan would like to engage with India in a sustained, meaningful and comprehensive dialogue not only to evolve additional confidence-building measures but also to focus on resolving longstanding disputes like Jammu and Kashmir, Siachen and Sir Creek. “Implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement of 2003 will also receive priority to ensure tranquillity on the Line of Control and the Working Boundary”, says an internal Foreign Office document circulated by the foreign secretary.

As for challenges in the Middle East, Pakistan will continue to pursue a balanced and principles-based approach in its relations with Saudi Arabia, Iran, GCC and other countries in the Middle East. Pakistan regards Saudi Arabia as a close friend, and will continue its support to it in fighting terrorism and against any threat to the territorial integrity of the kingdom, the document says.

Explaining the policy that Pakistan pursued during the year 2015, the document said: In the light of past experience when Pakistan got involved in different regional conflicts and jeopardised its security, it was important to give high priority to Pakistan’s own security through a policy of noninterference. “Such an approach provided policy space to Pakistan’s leadership to focus on Pakistan’s own priorities. “Throughout the political turmoil in the Middle East, Pakistan took principled positions so that the fires raging in the Middle East do not reach our shores.

“On Syria, we supported sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria, and called for Syrian-led peaceful resolution of the crisis. “On Yemen, we supported Saudi Arabia’s territorial integrity and its political objectives, while expressing our support for a political solution of the crisis in Yemen.

“Similar approach was also followed in the Ukraine and other crises”.

The document claims the year 2015 brought “significant achievements for Pakistan in the realm of foreign policy, both at home and abroad. Our successes in countering terrorism are now resonating in world capitals. Our outreach to our neighbours and beyond is widely hailed. Our leadership is united in pursuance of our foreign policy objectives. Overall, a positive appreciation for our diplomacy is discernible as a result of a series of efforts across multiple priority areas”.

 The strategic priorities and guiding principles for the future direction of Pakistan’s foreign policy include: Peaceful neighbourhood, so that the government could focus on economic revival and address energy deficits; Pakistan’s own security based on a principle-based policy of noninterference; Trade and investment, not aid; Focus on connectivity to take advantage of Pakistan’s geo-strategic location; Cooperation with international community to counter terrorism; Looking after Pakistani diaspora.

Enumerating what the government did during the outgoing year, the document says: “We consistently reached out to Indian leadership (New Delhi, Ufa, Paris, Bangkok, Islamabad). Finally the two countries have now decided to resume dialogue and address each other’s concerns and promote bilateral cooperation. All this was achieved while maintaining Pakistan’s principled position on the Kashmir dispute and effectively projecting our view point at the UN and other forums”. 

“We made concerted efforts to promote peace in Afghanistan (President Ashraf Ghani’s visit in Nov. 2014 while PM’s visit to Afghanistan took place in May 2015). Pakistan is making genuine efforts to facilitate reconciliation. The efforts culminated with Heart of Asia Conference on 9 December, where a quadrilateral process was agreed to restart the peace process”. “We have further consolidated our relations with China. President Xi’s visit in April 2015, led to the landmark initiative of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

“We are persisting with our policy of good neighbourly relations with Iran, which will improve further after the removal of international sanctions”.

According to the document, restoration of durable peace in Afghanistan remains one of the most serious challenges which our region faces. For Pakistan a peaceful and stable Afghanistan is very important. It is, therefore, making sincere efforts to promote reconciliation talks between the Government of Afghanistan and Taliban with support from USA and China.