Relations with neighbours crux of new foreign policy, asserts Khar

Published: January 5, 2012

Says Islamabad will bring regional stability by engaging India, China, Afghanistan and Iran. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: 

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar announced on Wednesday that Pakistan’s foreign policy was being reassessed with a significant focus on improving relationships with its neighbouring countries.

“Islamabad’s focus is to bring regional stability by engaging India, China, Afghanistan and Iran,” Khar informed the National Assembly.

“Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has asked for a reassessment of the country’s foreign policy,” Khar said while responding to a query by Awami National Party MNA Bushra Rehman.

“We took this decision in wake of the Nato attacks when Pakistan’s sovereignty came under threat. A joint session of parliament will endorse the recommendations of the envoys’ conference and Parliamentary Committee on National Security soon.”

Last month, in an effort to review its foreign policy with regards to the US, Islamabad hosted a conference of its ambassadors in key world capitals. Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Committee on National Security is currently preparing its recommendations pertaining to the recent history of the strained alliance between Washington and Islamabad.

“Parliament will take the final decision about Pakistan’s future relations with Nato, Isaf and the US,” she told the lawmakers.

Khar said that Islamabad’s foreign policy was based on principles of non-interference in internal affairs, respect of sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“Policies which protect our national interests will remain the focus point of our agenda.”

In focus: India

Replying to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz MNA Pervaiz Malik’s question, Khar stated that Islamabad was committed to constructing a sustainable process of engagement with New Delhi.

Minister for Professional and Technical Training Riaz Hussain Pirzada told the National Assembly that the cabinet had authorised the finance ministry to normalise trade relations with India, while answering a question regarding the impact of giving the status of Most Favoured Nation to India.

“Fruitful recommendations for significant trade with India will be submitted before the Cabinet next month. With this, fresh trade initiatives between the two countries will begin,” he added.

In focus: Afghanistan

Regarding the Afghan endgame, the foreign minister said: “Pakistan continues to support an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process.

“As peace and security must be underpinned with economic development, Pakistan has pledged $330 million for carrying out development and reconstruction work in Kabul,” she revealed.

In focus: Libya

Regarding the transition to the new Libyan government and overseas Pakistanis there, Khar said: “We are aware of the problems Pakistanis are facing in Libya.

“We are monitoring the situation and will hopefully be able to engage maximum number of Pakistanis once a new government in Libya gets ready to receive foreign workforce.”

She added that Islamabad had nominated an ambassador to explore possibilities for engaging Pakistanis in Libya after the revolution.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 5th, 2012. 

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Jan 5, 2012 - 10:49AM

    Today in this political world ; the countries make their road map and then follow the way accordingly. Any how , if we are streamlining the policies , then these should be clear , straight and in the best interest of the people and country.

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  • Abdullah
    Jan 5, 2012 - 11:36AM

    we should include srilanka and bangladesh in any foreign policy strategy making

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  • from India
    Jan 5, 2012 - 11:37AM

    “Khar said that Islamabad’s foreign policy was based on principles of non-interference in internal affairs, respect of sovereignty and territorial integrity.” – Really ? Then please make sure you maintain this !!

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  • hahaha
    Jan 5, 2012 - 12:28PM

    more sensible approach.Hope we see quick justice to Mumbai attacks, good for both nations.O yeah may be the Great Trade Game begin

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  • Feroz
    Jan 5, 2012 - 12:40PM

    FM Khar has neither the Power to make foreign policy or implement her policy. She should confine herself to enjoying the perks of office and keep mum.

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  • Cautious
    Jan 5, 2012 - 4:09PM

    The term – day late and dollar short mean anything to you? You don’t have good relations with anyone including your “all weather friend” China. India, Afghanistan and Iran don’t like you and China doesn’t like Muslims period.

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  • It's (still) the economy, stupid
    Jan 5, 2012 - 4:39PM

    There is a contradiction or disconnect in madam Ministers statement and the policy. For e.g. While you would like to improve relations with India but at the same time you are taking India to International Court of Arbitration over construction of Dam. If the intent was to improve the relationship you would have negotiated an agreement to share the electricity produced by those dams. This would have saved tons of money on those expensive lawyers fee and the electricity would have helped Joe average Pakistani. The bitter truth is that you have money for expensive lawyer’s fee but have no money for constructing dam to generate electricity for average Pakistani. Still it is not too late.

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  • G. Din
    Jan 6, 2012 - 1:23AM

    @It’s (still) the economy, stupid:
    “…at the same time you are taking India to International Court of Arbitration over construction of Dam. “
    There is nothing wrong in doing so. There can be great differences of opinion between even the best friends. So, one can always seek a neutral opinion. In this case, there is a difference of opinion on interpretation of a legal instrument -Indus Pact and Pakistan would be perfectly within its right to seek arbitration as called for in that pact. As far as sharing the power, (assuming it is available) that is a business proposition and would depend on what price is acceptable to both parties which is dictated purely by commercial practices. No favours asked, no favours shown!

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  • Gabriel
    Jan 6, 2012 - 3:51AM

    @It’s (still) the economy, stupid:
    Dam construction and regional stability are two different issues and they are addressed differently, on international diplomatic front things are not the same, regional stability and energy resources are two different issues and both the countries will engage in dialouge and address the issues separately but thanks for the your genuine concerns for pakistan’s well being. I apreciate it.

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  • Anwar Khan
    Jan 6, 2012 - 4:16AM

    The fact is, Madam Minister. today we do not have trusting relationship with Iran, India and Afghanistan. For our so called “all weather” friend China, it is all about dumping cheap products on our market while seriously competing with our manufacturers overseas. If India was not a factor, China would not give us a hoot. What China has done to uplift our economy? We need to develop a practical strategic foreign policy that is based on our economic development and mutual respect; and not allow anyone to use us as a cheap mercenary.

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