Foreign Minister, Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi briefed the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee today for two and a half hours on the visits of Prime Minister to Saudi Arabia and China, CPEC, relations with Afghanistan and India and the issue of INGOs. The briefing was given in-camera where the Foreign Minister was accompanied by the Foreign Secretary as well as a team of 7 officials from the Foreign Office. The meeting was presided over by its Chairman, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed and the members of the committee expressed satisfaction over the detailed, comprehensive and informative briefing given by the Foreign Minister. Responding to a question, the Foreign Minister underlined the continued commitment of the Government to strengthen CPEC and take it to a new, higher level of development given that CPEC is a “strategic, national project which enjoys the full national consensus of all political parties and provinces”.
Talking to media, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed said that the Foreign Policy of Pakistan must be proactive and take out of the box initiatives to meet the contemporary challenges and in this regard, he categorically stated that the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee always functions above party lines to promote, protect and preserve the national interests of Pakistan.
The Foreign Minister also mentioned that economic diplomacy would henceforth be the top priority of the Foreign Office. The Committee was also updated on the case of Dr. Afia Siddiqui and in this regard, Foreign Minister referred to his meeting yesterday with sister of Dr. Afia Siddiqui. The committee members expressed their strong view that the government should make all efforts for the release and repatriation of Dr. Afia Siddiqui to her homeland.
On the issue of the INGOs, the Foreign Affairs Committee directed the Foreign Office to prepare a policy in this regard and it should be presented to the parliament for its information and approval since Pakistan, as an important global player, cannot afford to be isolated.
Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed also briefed the committee on his recent visit to the European Parliament at Strasburg as well as a Track-II dialogue on Kashmir in London and he said that the time is opportune to internationalize the Kashmir issue and Pakistan must take a proactive initiative to promote the Kashmir cause internationally with the help of the international community and Pakistani Diaspora. He proposed that on February 5, 2019, the Day of Solidarity with the Kashmiri people, there should be a strong show of solidarity both in Pakistan as well as outside particularly in London with active participation and support of Pakistani parliamentarians, the House of Commons and the European Parliament. The Foreign Minister readily accepted this propose and assured full support and cooperation of the Foreign Office and his government in this endeavour.
The meeting was attended by Senators Javed Abbasi, Asif Kirmani, Nuzhat Sadiq, Asad Junejo, Sherry Rehman, Anwarul Haq Kakar, Mian Ateeq Sheikh, Sitara Ayaz, Jehanzeb Jamaldini and Secretary of the Committee, Mr. Hafeez Sheikh.