ISLAMABAD - Members of the Senate Tuesday emphasized the need for a meaningful and effective foreign policy to address the major challenges confronting the country.

Initiating debate in the Upper House on the foreign policy, PML-Q Secretary General Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed noted with concern that there was enormous confusion in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs because of the administration of the foreign policy.

He maintained that there were five people apparently running the ministry, which was adversely impacting the functioning of the ministry, and consequently the policy has lost a clear vision and direction.

Mushahid was of the view that geo-politics in the region was fast changing as the balance of power is being shifted from West to East economically and politically.

He believed that United States and its allied powers are engaged in a cold war with China, and were struggling to contain it, therefore, these changes will have far reaching implications for Pakistan and the region.

He sought clarification from the government and its policy on three key issues directly relating to Pakistan and these included government position viz a viz proposed Bilateral Security Agreement between the US and Afghanistan, Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline and efforts to improve Pak- India ties.

Mir Hasil Bizenjo of National Party described the foreign policy as a failure and said that EU's GSP Plus status to Pakistan is appreciable step but Pakistan would only benefit from it when there is peace in the country.

He was of the view that peace in Pakistan was directly lined to peace in Afghanistan; therefore, it was imperative to deepen relations with Afghanistan and other neighbouring countries including India.

Terming the sectarian killings in Pakistan as a proxy war of only two countries and called a more balanced policy to tackle the major challenging issue.

Former Interior Minister Rehman Malik from PPP said that terrorists cannot be defeated unless all the stakeholders in the country are on the same page.

Abbas Khan Afridi from Khyber Agency said that the blockade of NATO supply by PTI has snatched the employment of the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA.

Begum Kalsoom Parveen stressed the need for reviewing the foreign policy and makes it more effective to improve the image of the country.

Earlier, Minister of State for Commerce and Textile Khurram Dastgir informed the House Pakistan will get immediate benefit of $700m to $1b by increasing its exports to 27 countries.

He said that the GSP Plus status to Pakistan by the European Union is a big achievement of the economic diplomacy, adding that it is the first clear progress towards the government's policy of "trade and not aid".

He acknowledged the role of different countries including Germany‚ Britain and Sweden who supported Pakistan for this achievement. He also acknowledged the efforts of the previous government in this regard.

He said that Pakistan would get immediate benefit of $700 million to one billion dollars by increasing its exports to 27 countries at zero rating from the first of next month. He said that it will create hundreds of thousands new employment opportunities particularly for the unemployed youth.

Kamil Ali Agha and Mushahid Hussain Sayed appreciated the government's efforts to get GSP Plus status and termed it a big success.  The Senate was also informed that all payments relating to government expenditure are made out of Federal Consolidated Fund.

Minister of State for Education Baligh ur Rehman on behalf of Finance Minister told the House during question hour that the whole process of payment of circular debt was transparent.

To another question‚ he said the privatization process will be carried out according to the rules and interests of the workers will be safeguarded.

Answering a question‚ Balighur Rehman said the government is taking steps to arrest the depreciation of rupee and following a strict financial discipline.

He said that artificial buying of dollar is being discouraged and efforts are being made to increase the inflow of dollar in the country. Minister for States and Frontier Regions Abdul Qadir Baloch on behalf of Minister for Industries and Production told the House that the government has introduced Telegraphic Transfer Charges Schemes to enhance foreign remittance through banking system.

He said that Pakistan Remittance Initiative was launched with the objective of facilitating‚ supporting‚ faster‚ cheaper‚ convenient and efficient flow of remittances.