In other lands: New PM outlines contours of foreign relations

Published: June 7, 2013
“Unless the region is peaceful, our efforts for growth and development will not be met successfully” says PM . PHOTO: FILE

“Unless the region is peaceful, our efforts for growth and development will not be met successfully” says PM . PHOTO: FILE


Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday outlined his government’s foreign policy priorities of pursuing aggressive ‘economic diplomacy’ and favouring a ‘peaceful neighbourhood’.

In a message to heads of Pakistan missions abroad, the newly-elected premier said national interests will drive the foreign policy in all circumstances.

According to the foreign ministry, the prime minister provided an outline of the priorities of the government on foreign policy to serve as basic guidelines for embassies/missions abroad.

Nawaz Sharif said the government will be guided by the wisdom of the people, the vision of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the desire to see Pakistan acquire its rightful place in the comity of nations.

While his priorities include improving ties with the country’s immediate neighbours, the crippling energy crises seems to figure high on the government’s foreign policy guidelines.

The prime minister directed heads of missions abroad to identify potential bilateral and multilateral partners to help address the country’s energy woes through tangible project proposals in the traditional and renewable energy sectors.

He also directed them to “aggressively pursue economic diplomacy and promotion of Pakistan’s interests in the realms of trade, foreign investment, and economic cooperation.”

Effective economic diplomacy would require synergistic relationships between diplomatic missions and the relevant stakeholders in Pakistan, including ministries as well as the business community at large, he pointed out.

He directed economic ministries and departments, including commerce, finance, EAD and BOI to provide the requisite information and backup support needed by missions to undertake practical steps for facilitating traders and current and prospective investors at both ends.

Peaceful neighbourhood

Prime Minister Nawaz noted that the government’s immediate attention was focused on the country’s neighbours.

“Unless the region is peaceful,” he said, “our efforts for growth and development will not be met successfully”.

Nawaz underscored the importance of developing a regional consensus on supporting a stable government in Afghanistan.

He affirmed that “the policy of an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned process of peace and reconciliation will be pursued.”

With India, the prime minister said there is a need to progressively pursue normalcy in bilateral relations, while actively seeking solutions to all outstanding issues, including Jammu and Kashmir.

The premier expressed his desire to deepen relations with “our friends and brothers in the Middle East.”

In an attempt to ensure a delicate balance, he said Pakistan will continue to pursue ‘close cooperative relations’ with Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran.

On relations with the US, the Prime Minister noted that the two countries have many areas of common interest.

“We will build on convergence and wherever there are divergences we will work to try to minimise and remove them.”

He said Pakistan will strengthen strategic ties with China, a country that has always been a great friend and a significant economic partner.

Nawaz also spoke of enhancing ties with Russia, which is an important partner and regional power.

Despite its recent economic troubles, Nawaz said Europe continues to be an important player on the global sphere and is Pakistan’s largest trading partner.

“We will continue to engage with European countries, both bilaterally with individual countries, as well as multilaterally with the European Union.”

Fighting terror

The premier said his government would develop a “comprehensive strategy and a national consensus” in consultation will all political parties, security forces, media and the civil society in dealing with growing threat of terrorism.

At the same time, he added, it is the government’s imperative to address the external dimension of terrorism.

“This would require plugging the sources of external funding of various extremists groups besides seeking cooperation of regional and global community,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 7th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • Polpot
    Jun 7, 2013 - 5:55AM

    Is there a country called Afghanistan that also deserved mention?
    Will Mian Nawaz really be in charge of Foreign Ministry?


  • k. Salim Jahangir
    Jun 7, 2013 - 5:57AM

    Impressed!The last few lines of ET report are after one’s heart desire & the essence of the entire report.One will continually pray that MNS succeeds in achieving what he has conveyed to those who are fighting proxy war in Pakistan.One is for Pakistan who ever delivers.May God bless you!!


  • abs
    Jun 7, 2013 - 6:38AM

    Let us see which country Mr Sharrif visits first ? A neighbor or some other. How about China via Afghanistan & India?


  • Babloo
    Jun 7, 2013 - 7:09AM

    The history of Indian subcontinent would have been much better and different if what Mr Nawaz is saying today was what Pakistan thought and acted upon 65 years ago. Hope he is able to execute what he says.


  • Humayun
    Jun 7, 2013 - 9:33AM

    I like it – ‘Aggressive Economic Diplomacy’


  • peace-lover
    Jun 7, 2013 - 9:41AM

    A peaceful neighborhood looks no less difficult of a task than PTI’s announcement of a corruption-free country in 90 days. Nevertheless, good to read that, and a hope and prayer that he indeed succeeds in achieving peace.


  • Jat
    Jun 7, 2013 - 11:59AM

    After managing and governing East Pakistan (Bangladesh), Baluchistan, FATA, KPK, Karachi and after outsourcing governance of Gwadar and Gilgit-Baltistan to the Chinese, Pakistan has proudly shown the world it is now ready to “govern” Jammu & Kashmir too.

    A country which sacrifices its independence and people for a few dollars, a country which leases out huge parcels of its lands to the Arabs for hunting and exterminating its endangered wildlife, a country which sells a part of the motherland to the Chinese for the “bomb”, a country which sells nuclear technology to North Korea for the Ding-Dong “missiles”, a country which acts as a mercenary and offers the services of its army to save and prolong the misrule of dictators – this country hasn’t learned its lesson yet.


  • Naseer Ahmad
    Jun 7, 2013 - 5:20PM

    Time will tell how far the new government fulfills its resolve of plugging the source of external funding for banned extremist groups keeping in view Sharifs personal relations with such a financier country.


  • Jat
    Jun 7, 2013 - 6:26PM

    No, no lesson learned – SRINAGAR: Pakistani troops shot and killed an Indian army officer on Friday

    C’mon Nawaz Sharif, we are either your friends or your enemies; decide one way or the other…


  • Rex Minor
    Jun 9, 2013 - 3:10PM

    The guy did not name country’s enemies but di emphasise on Natonal interests. India is the enemy by implication since it does not accept the role of Pakistan as a regional power, to its own peril.

    Rex Minor


  • Flag waving Indian
    Jun 29, 2013 - 1:00AM

    I am so inspired. I hope he comes to India first and not to some other country like China or Sri Lanka.


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