ISLAMABAD               -          Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi yesterday said the tussle between the old and emerging global powers was a big challenge for Pakistan’s foreign policy.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony of diplomats at Foreign Service Academy here, the foreign minister said competition between old and new global power houses was testing countries like Pakistan.

“This complexity has intensified with the rise of new powers and the resurgence of the old. New alignments are taking place. Asia is becoming pivotal of global politics. The resultant competition between the new and old powerhouses poses challenges for Pakistan’s foreign policy,” he added.

The foreign minister maintained heavy responsibility lied on the shoulders of Pakistani diplomats to cope with the challenges of changing times.

The FM said trade and investment will be key drivers of Pakistan’s prosperity in future.  He said the government was committed to protecting the interests of the country at any cost.

“Interaction of diplomats with various institutions will be helpful in safeguarding Pakistan’s interests abroad. Our diplomats were also given an opportunity to visit China which will be helpful in their professional learning,” he continued. He highlighted the importance of a dynamic foreign policy which must be capitalised on the complex changes taking place on the world map, possessing immense opportunities and challenges.

A total of 23 officers completed their training at the Foreign Office Service Academy. Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood, Director General Foreign Service Academy, Aftab Ahmad Khokhar, officers of the foreign office, former diplomats, the participants of the course and their families also attended the ceremony.

The FM said that emerging world order also offered immense new opportunities for Pakistan. He said their diplomats had a heavy responsibility to respond to these developments by representing Pakistan in the best possible manner and by protecting their national interests at the international arena.

Felicitating the graduating officers on their successful training, he said Pakistan would continue to be represented in the tradition of excellence. The diplomats, he said, must understand the opportunities and challenges afforded by evolving global landscape.

He said that they would be the face of Pakistan and would act as the bridge between Pakistan and the international community. “You all are the future of Pakistan. Always remember that you represent a democratic Pakistan, where we are all accountable to the Pakistani people. Never forget that you are public servants first and foremost. Be prepared to serve the nation to the best of your abilities,” the minister added.

Expressing his full confidence in the Foreign Office to safeguard and promote interests of Pakistan, he told the graduating officers that they had joined the Foreign Ministry, which was the premier institution of Pakistan.

Qureshi said it would be the beginning of a new journey in their career which entailed a transition from the realm of theory to the arena of a challenging professional environment.

The minister opined that they depended on the team of the finest officers at the ministry to be ready for the gigantic transformations taking place in their own region.

“You, as part of this team, will help us realise our vision of a peaceful and economically prosperous neighbourhood. This is a vision where Pakistan will realise its potential as a regional economic hub by developing regional trade, energy and communications corridors,” he added.

Qureshi said it was a vision where instead of foreign assistance, trade and investment would be the key drivers of the prosperity.

The foreign minister further said that diplomacy and study of international relations was of critical importance for the countries like Pakistan.

Today’s diplomats should not only be experts in the international law and politics but also in public and economic diplomacy. Their skill sets should not just be in the art of negotiations, public speaking and report writing; they should also be prepared to navigate and respond to the onslaught of electronic and social media, he opined.

Lauding the Foreign Service Academy, he said that it had constantly endeavoured to improve its training content and approach. He said the academy was the alma mater of some outstanding diplomats who had represented Pakistan with great distinction and honour.

Later, the foreign minister also gave away certificates among the participants of the course. DG Foreign Service Academy Aftab Ahmad Khokhar in his remarks congratulated the participants of the training and expressed the confidence that they would fulfil the expectations of the nation and the country.