‘Robust economic diplomacy test for ambassadors’;Pakistan not isolated, more connected: Sartaj
Islamabad—While choosing to speak in camera on foreign policy issues at the concluding session of the three day envoys conference here at the foreign office, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that Pakistan has to play a more proactive role at multiple fronts to address all the challenges before they get further complicated.
The prime minister said, there are issues on which Pakistan has concerns and it expects other countries to take care of them. “Other countries might also have genuine concerns and we will have to understand them as well” from nine countries including China, the US, India, Russia, Vienna, United Nations, Afghanistan, Brussels and Geneva, attended the three day conference.
The Prime Minister said peaceful solution to outstanding disputes is imperative for durable peace and prosperity in the region. Pakistan desires peace but this should not be misconstrued as our weakness. He said Pakistan believes in the policy of non interference and respect of sovereignty.
Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan is better placed today to attract foreign investment and in this regard our envoys have a responsibility on their shoulders to project the country’s positive image abroad.
Regarding relations with China, the Prime Minister said these have strengthened with the passage of time. He said the CPEC will prove to be a game changer and guarantee regional peace and prosperity. Through this mega project we are introducing a new vision of relationship. This project carries opportunities for Iran, Afghanistan and the Central Asian States.
He said China is a time tested friend of Pakistan and expressed satisfaction that this relationship has transformed into a multi dimensional partnership. We are determined to take Sino Pakistan relationship to new heights.
Pakistan has been freed of the menace of terrorism to a great extent and now a comprehensive strategy is being evolved to purge the country of extremism in order to completely weed out the terrorism. With the grace of God Almighty, the terrorist sanctuaries have been eliminated for which our security forces deserve applause.
Nawaz Sharif urged the ambassadors to introduce positive image of Pakistan to the outside world. He said responsibility rests with the envoys to introduce Pakistan as emerging markets in the world which is far more strong and stable than in the past. He said Pakistan has the required infrastructure and offers incentives which are necessary to attract the foreign investment. He said the Ambassadors should take promotion of investment in the country as their mission and it will also be test of their economic diplomacy.
Turning to Kashmir dispute, the Prime Minister said resolution of this lingering dispute in accordance with the UN resolutions and the aspirations of the Kashmiri people is the corner stone of Pakistan’s foreign policy. Today Kashmir is witnessing a new wave of freedom movement. This movement is running into the blood of third generation of Kashmiri people and the world has itself seen its intensity in the wake of July 8. He said the Kashmiri youth are writing new chapters of sacrifices to exercise the right to self-determination. He said the Ambassadors should apprise the world that the Kashmir was not an internal matter of India. He said India itself has accepted Kashmir as a disputed territory.
About Afghanistan, he said peace in that country is vital for peace and stability in Pakistan. He said the QCG process should be taken forward adding Pakistan will always support efforts aimed at reviving peace in Afghanistan. He said Pakistan has a clear stance that it will not allow its territory to be used against any other country.
In his welcome address, Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said Pakistan is today more connected with the world than before.
Sartaj Aziz said the objective assessment of three years does not support the view being projected in a section of media that Pakistan is being isolated and its foreign policy lags directions. Pakistan, in fact, is now more connected integrated than before. He said Prime Minister’s vision of a strong, vibrant and prosperous Pakistan and peaceful neighbourhood has been pursued with great dedication. Monumental achievements of the Government in foreign policy are reflected in the CPEC and strategic partnership with China. Similarly, Pakistan has today more engagement and cooperation with Central Asian Republics as reflected in CASA-1000 electricity import project and TAPI gas pipeline project.
Sartaj Aziz said Pakistan has expanded its ties with the Muslim world and it is because of this that despite decline in oil prices last year, Pakistan exported nine hundred and fifty thousand workers. These include 523 million to Saudi Arabia and 326 million to UAE which is a big addition in a single year to our work force abroad. The Envoys Conference will act as a catalyst for ambassadors to pursue foreign policy featuring economic diplomacy as an important component, and highlight Kashmir issue in an intensified manner, envoys said here Wednesday.
During three day deliberations, the envoys gave their inputs on vital matters specially pertaining to Kashmir dispute and Afghan issue. Given the current improvement in security situation, the envoys were urged to project country’s image abroad in order to lure foreign investment in the country.