Pakistan resets foreign policy under new govt
ISLAMABAD – Pakistan is resetting the foreign policy under the new government after the previous government led by Imran Khan put Pakistan face-to-face with the United States and Europe.
Former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Russia ahead of the Ukraine invasion had annoyed the US and Europe.
The new government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has tried to control the damage with Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s visit to the US and his meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken cleared the air to a good extent.
The two sides pledged to enhance cooperation and stay in close contact after the meeting between the top diplomats.
Senior diplomats told The Nation that the foreign policy was being rest in a way envisioned by Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah to remain friendly with all countries.
The blue-print of Pakistan’s foreign policy was outlined by Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, in February 1948, when he said: “Our foreign policy is one of friendliness and goodwill towards all the nations of the world. We do not cherish aggressive designs against any country or nation. We believe in the principal of honesty and fair play in national and international dealings and are prepared to make our utmost contribution to the promotion of peace and prosperity among the nations of the world. Pakistan will never be found lacking in extending its material and moral support to the oppressed and suppressed peoples of the world and in upholding the principles of the United Nations charter.”
With the appointment of Hina Rabbani Khar as the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, India showed optimism as she has been a strong advocate of peace in the region.
Diplomats said the foreign policy was being reset according to the ideals of Pakistan. “China is important for us. We have that one the top. We also need the US and the European Union so we will give that importance too. With Russia we want closer ties but not at the cost of any other friend,” said one diplomat.
Another diplomat said Pakistan wanted to improve ties with India but New Delhi had always been giving wrong signals. “If New Delhi understands the situation and stops bloodshed in occupied Kashmir and discrimination against the Muslims, we are ready to move forward. We are neighbours and cannot afford to confront,” he added.
He said beside the major powers, Pakistan will also concentrate on smaller countries to enhance trade and business.
“The Arab countries have been a traditional priority. With Iran, we are going on smoothly, we will keep that up,” he remarked.
Former Ambassador Ali Sarwar Naqvi maintained that the US wanted to improve its bilateral relations with Pakistan due to a number of reasons. “In this region, the US wants to contain China and for this purpose it is increasing engagements with regional countries. The relations of all countries are based on national interests,” he commented.
Islamabad and Washington, he contended, have some differences on certain issues. “It is good that ties between the two countries are improving,” he mentioned.
International relations expert Dr Khurram Iqbal said that at a time when Pakistan was diversifying its foreign policy, the recent meeting of Charge d’ Affaires of the European Union to Pakistan Thomas Seiler with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was of vital importance.
He said in the past 7-8 years, Pakistan has been working on a balanced foreign policy and avoiding camp politics. “The European Union granted Pakistan GPS Plus status that provided a great boost to our exports. After the United States, the European countries are big trade markets for Pakistani exports. Moreover, a huge Pakistani diaspora in European countries are heavily contributing to the economic development of the country through their foreign remittances,” he pointed out.
Iqbal noted that was a dire need to strengthen Pakistan’s trade relations with the European Union. “As for the Kashmir issue, many international organisations in European countries are expressing concerns over human rights violations in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and keeping the Kashmir issue alive,” he observed.