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.