Need for a resilient foreign policy stressed

LAHORE – ­Pakistan desperately needs a resilient foreign policy to achieve political and economic independence and protect its sovereignty.

Speaking at a dialogue hosted by the Pakistan Foreign Affairs and Media Institute (PFAMI) here on Friday, speakers said that America’s “do more” policy should be dealt with a constitutional vision guided by national interest without getting carried away. On the back of Trump’s declaration of recognising Jerusalem as capital of Israel, the Palestine issue has taken centre stage and this issue will set the tone for future relations between the Muslim world and the United States of America, the speakers said.

Former foreign secretary Shamshad Ahmed, academic Dr Rashid Ahmed, foreign affairs expert and political leader Muhammad Mehdi, senior anchor Sohail Warraich, senior journalist Javed Farooqi, Humsub Editor Adnan Khan Kakar and other senior journalists joined the discussion.

“If Pakistan wants to live as a living nation, a lively and vibrant foreign policy is a must,” Shamshad Ahmed said while defining the foreign policy in the emerging scenario where Pakistan has to make sure its survival and freedom. He said that dream of transforming Pakistan into a welfare state may be materialised if Pakistan does not let its sovereignty and national interest get impaired by any influence. Relations with countries ought to be on equality basis as envisaged by founder of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, he emphasised.

Dr Prof Rashid Ahmed said that new status of Jerusalem was reflective of US President Donald Trump’s anti-Islam policy embedded in his policy afrom day one. Its repercussions, he said, may be in the shape of US isolation, EU tension, escalation in terrorism and unrest in the entire world.

Foreign affairs expert Muhammad Mehdi, who is also founder and chairman of PFAMI, said that foreign policy, true soul of national interest, required to represent Pakistan as a responsible and strong country with forwarding looking approach. Shedding light on the connotation of PFAMI, he said, “PFAMI is a think tank designed to thrash out serious discussions on Pakistan foreign policy, international relations and diplomacy. It also aims to reinvent role of media in Pakistan foreign policy building up Pakistan-centric narrative with adaptive vision.” Humsub Editor Adnan Khan Kakar was of the view that people-to-people contact should be given due role to play to help improve Pakistan’s foreign affairs with the world, saying that positive and negative public perceptions could never be ruled out in effecting the foreign policy.

PFAMI President Yasir Habib Khan, executive member Javed Farooqi, Imran Adnan and Anwar Sumra said that being a non-profit and nonpartisan institute, PFAMI is dedicated to improve the understanding of Pakistan foreign policy and international affairs through the free exchange of ideas. “It plays the role of a bridge among the stakeholders — public, government and media — to suggest and help strategise connotations of foreign policy,” a speaker said.

The speakers said that PFAMI was determined to promote, safeguard and defend the national interest of Pakistan. It is programmed to contribute to a secure, equitable and democratic international community. “Upholding the banner and engaging all, especially neighbours, in low and high times fosters multilateral growth through expansion of ties and integrates a country into global relations, they said.

 

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