ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan yesterday said that political appointments in the past destroyed the institutions.

Speaking at concluding session of the Envoys’ Conference titled ‘Engage Africa’ here, PM Khan said the government was committed to strengthen the institutions. “The political appointments without considering merit destroyed the intuitions. We will reverse that. We will strengthen the intuitions. Merit is the key,” he said.

The Prime Minister said enemies of the country were expecting a clash between institutions in Pakistan but “they should know that the harmony that institutions enjoy today is unprecedented.”

He said Pakistan’s democracy has become mature, where institutions do not clash with one another.

He said the ruling Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf had a history of 23-year struggle for independence of the judiciary. “Today the anti-Pakistan forces have been defeated,” he said, citing the Supreme Court’s verdict to allow conditional extension in Army Chief’s tenure.

The premier said that the judiciary was independent in Pakistan, adding the verdict by the apex court was a special disappointment to external enemies of Pakistan.

Addressing envoys’ conference on Africa, PM says merit should be the key

“The BJP government (in India) was happy with the sit-ins, protest and current matter of the Army Chief’s extension in Pakistan. They were hoping for an institutional clash in Pakistan, but today’s verdict has shattered their dreams,” said PM Khan.

Criticising the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl) sit-in, the prime minister said the sit-in had harmed the Kashmir cause. He added: “JUI-F’s Azadi March harmed Kashmir issue and it was celebrated like a victory in India.”

Regarding better engagement with the African countries, the prime minister said “It is time to concentrate our focus on this region and our mission should utilise its full potential to bring investment and remittances to Pakistan and enhance exports.”

PM Khan said in the past “we neglected the African continent, which reflects our mindset.” He said things had changed and PTI-led government was pursuing an independent foreign policy in the best interest of Pakistan aimed at enhancing ties with the regional countries and the world.

He emphasised on improving performance of the press attaches abroad for better communication to ensure better understanding between Pakistan and other countries.

PM Khan said government believed in meritocracy without which no society can progress. He said the government had appointed an outstanding diplomat Munir Akram to represent Pakistan in the United Nations.

Imran Khan said now Pakistan was playing a role of reconciliation among various countries like in Afghanistan. He said: “We have better relations with all countries, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Malaysia.”

PM Khan said that for the first time in the history the government had raised Kashmir issue effectively at all international forums.

Earlier, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi expressed commitment to develop healthy ties with African countries.

Addressing the Envoys’ Conference, he said the Foreign Office would fully facilitate and cooperate with the commerce ministry to achieve this objective.

Alluding to the improvement in country’s economic indicators, the foreign minister said economic diplomacy was important for socioeconomic development of Pakistan.

He reiterated that the foreign policy could become effective and meaningful if the country was economically strong.

Speaking on the occasion, Adviser on Commerce Razak Dawood said their vision was to double trade with African countries in the next five years which currently hovers between three to four billion dollars.

He said Pakistan’s exports to Africa have risen by more than one billion dollars. “Our locally manufactured tractors are making their way in several African countries including Mozambique and Angola.”

Referring to the continent’s potential, the adviser said Pakistan was holding a trade conference in Nairobi next year to exploit more opportunities.