ISLAMABAD .: Foreign Minister Abdullah Hussain Haroon has urged that Pakistan should stand ready to take advantage of the emerging realignments in the changing global scenario.
“The world is changing and new alignments are taking shape. In this changing scenario, new opportunities are being created and Pakistan should stand ready to take advantage of this emerging situation. Pakistan should be ready for a change,” Haroon said on Wednesday.
The caretaker foreign minister was addressing a conference on ‘Pakistan’s Foreign Policy: Challenges and Opportunities’ hosted by the Centre for International Strategic Studies (CISS) in Islamabad.
He said success of Pakistan’s foreign policy depends on how best it utilises its national resources. He noted that special emphasis needs to be laid on economic diplomacy and projecting the country as a modern and dynamic state.
In his welcome remarks, Ambassador Ali Sarwar Naqvi while laying out the agenda for discussion, outlined challenges as well as opportunities in the wake of the upcoming election and looked forward to fruitful proceedings that can provide useful input on foreign policy for the new government.
Ministry of Planning’s DG Projects Hassan Dawood Butt spoke about the opportunities for Pakistan in the evolving geostrategic environment with reference to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
“The CPEC has immense benefits but it is a long-term process, which exploits Pakistan’s geostrategic location,” he said, while also dispelling the popular misconceptions about the project.
He said the centre of economic power is shifting from the West towards the East. He said China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) would promote and build new platforms for International cooperation, and create new drivers of shared development.
Talking about importance of the project in regional connectivity and growth, he said the CPEC provides a stimulus for growth and a corridor to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Pakistan in power, infrastructure and construction sector. “The CPEC has now become the development brand of Pakistan.”
Talking about the nuclear order and its impact on nuclear stability, Pakistan’s former ambassador to US Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhary said that the Grand Bargain in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has not been honoured by the possessor of the nuclear weapon states (NWS).
He highlighted four challenges to the current the nuclear order including lack of political will on behalf of the NWS, nuclear arms control and danger of collapse of disarmament treaties, deadlock on the multilateral processes and the regional dynamics in South Asia, Middle East and Korean peninsula.
“Though the US and Russia have decreased the number of nuclear weapons they are simultaneously taking measures to modernise their stockpile. There is limited scope of breakthrough in talks on nuclear disarmament and arms control after new start expires,” he added.
Former ambassador Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, while providing an overview of changing international strategic environment and imperatives of Pakistan foreign policy, said the foreign policy should be a priority for the coming government, as it is actually the central policy of a state which supports other sectors like economic and social policy etc.
He laid emphasis on fundamental reforms in foreign policy issues to portray Pakistan’s positive image abroad. Qazi said Pakistan foreign policy needs to define short-term and long-term goals, for instance, Kashmir issue does not have any short-term solution but Afghan issue needs immediate solution.