LAHORE - Former secretary for foreign affairs Shamshad Ahmed Khan said on Thursday that external issues were offshoots of internal problems.  Speaking at a sitting on challenges faced by Pakistan’s foreign policy arranged by Freedom Forum International at Tech Club on Thursday, he stressed the need of putting own house in order, improving governance, resolving internal issues and facing external challenges with dignity through diplomatic engagement.

Chairman Pakistan Freedom Movement Haroon Khawaja chaired the seminar. Qayyum Nizami, Shabbir Ahmed, Dr Muhammad Sadiq, Prof Qutab and notables participated in the sitting.

“Pakistan is important due to her geo-strategic location. We are on the global lane. Every important region is linked with Pakistan. We were crucial during cold war and now in war on terror. No one could isolate Pakistan until or unless we are bent upon fulfilling desire of the enemy. Country of such a location cannot surrender. There is need of acting and reacting responsibly. Some people consider this geo-strategic location a liability. There is need of transforming this liability into our strength”, Shamshad Ahmed Khan said while speaking as chief guest.

“Our rulers are not getting protocol like they were getting in the past. Rulers are in the habit of using foreign connections for strengthening own rule. Giving priority to own interests is harmful for the country. Our passport has lost value, economy is deteriorating and industries shifting to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. There is need of bringing political stability and improving economy. Improving governance can put the country on right track”, he said, adding, the country was created democratically and the same formula should be adopted for bringing a real and long lasting change.

Referring to ongoing war on terror, he said that terrorists and their hideouts could be eliminated with force. Long lasting and real peace could be achieved only by changing the mindset and countering forces producing terrorists.

Referring to role of establishment in devising foreign policy, he said that there was no harm in getting viewpoint and feedback from security agencies.

“Security agencies give input and not dictation. It is up to civil administration to devise strategy. This is in practice everywhere on the globe. No one has given me dictation during my tenure as foreign secretary”, he said.

Referring to the CPEC, he said that China has huge interest in the project.  “CPEC will give access to China to the warm waters. We have given enormous concessions to China. Chinese are taking huge benefit from the scenario. In reality they are acting like kafeels and locals investing in their projects. They (Chinese) are setting up warehouses and not industries. As such China has benefitted a lot and we are on the losing side. Our debt has increased considerably. There is need of assessing the scenario and safeguarding own interests”, he said. He said that there was no issue of any intervention if civilians improve governance and deliver.

“Pakistan has enormous sources and resources. We only need capable rulers who can deliver”, he said.