Senate of Forum for Policy Research in its meeting on Friday was given a briefing by Spokesperson Foreign Office Dr. Faisal on the foreign policy of Pakistan highlighting key areas of progress as well as concern with all the major regional and global players. The briefing encompassed details of recent developments, upcoming prospects and well as the importance and direction of an inward looking foreign policy.
The meeting of the forum was held under the Chairmanship of Senator Col. (R) Tahir Hussain Mashhadi here at the Parliament House on Friday and was attended among others by Former Senators Ilyas Bilour, Afrasiab Khattak, Seher Kamran, Nisar Muhammad and sitting Senator Faisal Javed Khan. In his briefing to the forum, Dr. Faisal told that the incumbent government has reached out in a very sincere manner to India by writing a letter that talked of not just Kashmir but also trade, tourism and other bi-lateral matters. However the other side has continued the state of stalemate and has not responded aptly perhaps due to the upcoming Indian elections. He said that Pakistani side believes that the only roadmap with India is through dialogue. He said that the Prime Minister’s visits to Saudi Arabia have been very useful and at the same time the Iranian Foreign Minister’s arrival in Pakistan twice since the change of government is a good sign and shows that Pakistan’s foreign policy direction aims to balance its relations well instead of inclining on any side.
The forum was also told that the country has somewhat subdued relations with the European countries and there are some immigration issues that need to be sorted out. While talking about Africa he said that the foreign office has been taking measures to reach out to African countries for a number of reasons one of them being the low number of representation of Pakistan in African countries. Out of 52 African countries Pakistan has embassies in only 9 countries, a number which was around 27 in early years of Pakistan. Dr. Faisal observed that Pakistan and US do not see eye to eye on a number of issues and there are issues but the visit of key US representatives to Pakistan and the meetings during visit of Foreign Minister is a ray of hope. He said that Pakistan is a major stakeholder in Afghan peace process and has always advocated an Afghan led and Afghan owned solution.
Members of the forum were of the view that Foreign Office is fighting the impossible odd and appreciated the efforts being taken to make the foreign policy road smooth and in national interest. Senators remarked that foreign policy is always reflective of country’s internal policies and situation. They also called for putting a geo-economic turn to country’s foreign policy instead of geo-strategic.