ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who has been having a series of meetings with various key arms of the government, arrived at the foreign office on Saturday, with his national security and foreign affairs advisers in tow for an in-depth briefing.
During the briefing, Nawaz termed evocative dialogue with India and Afghanistan a need of the hour and directed the Foreign Office to chalk out a strategy to initiate comprehensive dialogue between the two nations.
With the Foreign Affairs and National Security adviser Sartaj Aziz due to embark on a day-long trip to Afghanistan on Sunday, Nawaz outlined his vision for the nation's foreign policy and gave specific directions in this regard.
Nawaz "strongly emphasised the imperatives of promotion of trade and pursuit of economic diplomacy," a statement said.
Besides Aziz, the Federal Minister for Planning and Development, Ahsan Iqbal, and the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Tariq Fatemi, were also present at the meeting along with other officials.
As the Foreign Secretary highlighted the main aspects of the major relationships of the country and presented Foreign Office’s recommendations, the Premier declared that promotion of cordial relations with neighbouring countries as one of his top priorities.
Policy on Afghan peace process
The Prime Minister categorically declared his support for an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned method for the restoration of peace in Afghanistan. He rejected the idea of supporting any militant or political groups.
Nawaz was also briefed on the upcoming visit of Adviser on Foreign Affairs and National Security, Sartaj Aziz, to Afghanistan.
During the briefing, Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani highlighted the current regional and international background of Pakistan’s foreign policy and noted the positive international reaction to the successful democratic transition in Pakistan following the last general elections.
Nawaz stressed the importance of a peaceful and stable neighbourhood and Pakistan’s positive contribution to the creation of such an environment.
On other subjects, Prime Minister Sharif directed the FO and Pakistani missions abroad to work towards promoting Pakistan’s economic interests.