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PM outlines foreign policy in broad strokes


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Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. — Photo by AFP
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. — Photo by AFP

ISLAMABAD: Newly-elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday outlined the priorities of his government’s foreign policy, stressing immediate attention on Pakistan’s neighbouring countries.

In a message for all heads of Pakistan’s missions, the prime minister said a policy of an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned process of peace and reconciliation would be pursued by Pakistan.

“Unless the region is peaceful, our efforts for growth and development will not meet with success. I stress on the importance of developing regional consensus on supporting a stable government and peace in Afghanistan," said Sharif.

With India, the prime minister stressed upon the need to progressively pursue normalcy in bilateral relations, while actively seeking solutions for all outstanding issues, including the disputed Jammu & Kashmir region.

On relations with the US, Sharif noted that the two countries have many areas of common interest. “We will build on convergence and wherever there is divergence, we will work to try to minimise and remove such divergence.”

“With China, which has always been a great friend and a significant economic partner, Pakistan will strengthen this valuable and much appreciated strategic relationship.”

With Russia, which is an important partner and regional power, we shall continue to enhance ties, the prime minister’s message said.

The prime minister stated that the people of Pakistan had pronounced themselves clearly on the future direction that the country should take.

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

“Heads of missions and embassies, that are our first line of defence and our primary interface with the outside world, have important roles to play to achieve this objective,” the message said.

The prime minister also provided an outline of priorities of the government on foreign policy to serve as basic guidelines for the embassies and missions abroad.

Prime Minister Sharif said national interests would drive Pakistan’s foreign policy in all circumstances, and there was an across the board consensus on this.

The premier noted that Pakistan’s large, youthful population’s potential needed to be harnessed for the country’s development.

The message further stated that the core of the country’s internal strength lay in sustained economic growth, resulting in the overall well-being, progress and prosperity of the people of Pakistan. It added that Pakistan’s diplomatic missions had a pivotal role in advancing this central objective of the national agenda.

The prime minister directed the missions to aggressively pursue economic diplomacy --promotion of Pakistan’s interests in the realms of trade, foreign investment, and economic cooperation.

Effective economic diplomacy would require a synergistic relationship between the diplomatic missions and relevant stakeholders in Pakistan, including the ministries as well as the business community at large. The economic ministries and department must provide the requisite information and backup support needed by the missions to undertake practical steps for facilitating traders and current and prospective investors at both ends.

Prime Minister Sharif expressed his firm commitment to address the energy crisis facing Pakistan in the shortest possible time. He encouraged the heads of missions to identify potential bilateral and multilateral partners to help to address the energy crisis and formulate tangible project proposals in the traditional and renewable energy sectors.

Stressing the importance of science, technology and education, the prime minister also directed the missions to actively reach out to institutions and the private sector in search of technologies and know-how in order to develop institutional linkages between the country’s research and educational centres with those abroad.

He expressed the desire to strengthen relations with countries in the Middle East, adding that Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran were friendly countries with which Pakistan would continue to pursue close cooperative relations.

The prime minister’s message added that despite its recent economic troubles, Europe remained an important player on the global scene and was Pakistan’s largest trading partner.

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

On terrorism, the prime minister said the 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 the challenge. His message moreover said that at the same time, it was 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 the regional and global community,” the premier’s message said.

Prime Minister Sharif directed that one of the main tasks of Pakistan’s embassies would be to look after the increasingly large number of Pakistanis living abroad who were an asset for Pakistan. He directed the embassies to provide efficient consular services and protect the interests of overseas Pakistanis.

He moreover directed the missions to make concerted efforts to project Pakistan’s positive image abroad and promote the country’s historical heritage, music, arts, culture and cuisine.

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Comments (35) Closed

Suleiman Jun 06, 2013 07:08pm

its easy to say one thing but to act upon it is another. we've been down this route many times. lets hope there is a pakistan outside punjab.

Dr. Malek Towghi/Tauqee Jun 06, 2013 08:41pm

JUST A REMINDER: Given the competing interests of all powers including Russia -- and of all neighbors including India -- in the region, giving exclusive status and access to a single country, e.g. China to any Part of the country including Gwadar and the northeastern territories will be inviting trouble.

jg Jun 07, 2013 05:34am

mature approach as compared to IK immature stance of shooting down drones with the very aircrafts provided by USA.

NS combined with a mature Foreign policy and support from local business and more sincere team, is likely to take Pakistan to the path of progress.

Zinc Jun 07, 2013 08:56pm
What doesn't said a word about Iran-Pakistan gas Pipeline ? that's fishy , People and world can clearly see who is pulling his strings.
Mohammad Saleem Jun 07, 2013 01:48am
Peace and security in Afghanistan is inexorable for peace and security in Pakistan itself. There are many more incidents of terrorism in Pakistan then in Afghanistan . Nawaz Sharif should curb and abandon all jihadi proxies to pave the way for regional cooperative relations,without which progress and economic growth will remain a distant dream in pakistan.
Mohinder Jun 06, 2013 10:38pm
PM should have explained the historical heritage in more detail.
AHMAD Jun 06, 2013 08:00pm
Mr. Prime Minister, be careful with India. They speak from both sides of their mouth. You may be a smart business negotiator, but you can not take the face value of their words. They are doing their best to bankrupt Pakistan. We are not any better by creating religious divide.
Shahjahan Jun 06, 2013 07:11pm
To WHOM WE SAY???Through this platform i would like to draw the attention of the honorable Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif as well as equally respected Chief Minister Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif on the issue of Scholars Stdying Abroad.As New Prime Minster and respective Chief Ministers have taken the lead of Nation, I want to ask about Overseas Pakistanis,are we your own??? There is no shadow of Doubt that Pakistan is surrounded with grave challenges but it should not be neglected that one of the main challenge is to educate the youth and provide every possible support to the ones who are pursuing education inside Pakistan or studying outside the country. I am a Pakistani scholar in China 2012 under Inter provincial committee(I PC) Punjab. I came to China since August 2012 with an affidavit that Government of Pakistan will provide us sufficient funds in order to pursue our education smoothly , with great disappointment i have to write that we haven't received even a single penny from our Government.Inquiring multiple times to the IPC Islamabad and embassy of Pakistan in China personnel have made them stubborn.Its my request to the honorable Prime Minister and Chief Minister that please Look over on our issues as well. we are as yours as Hamza or Marium are..
marghoobahmedsiddiqui Jun 06, 2013 06:09pm
What about Drone attacks? He is silent on that.
Jalaluddin S. Hussain Jun 06, 2013 06:13pm
Simple living, high thinking and establishing a society based on fair play and justice, can gradually help in improving the Pakistani society
tas1951 Jun 06, 2013 05:05pm
How can the Embassy personnel take care of overseas Pakistanis when their main mission is to worry about what merchandise they will take back home when their tenure is over! A to Z thats what they do and think. Tariq
Nadim Jun 06, 2013 05:14pm
Iban Batota Jun 06, 2013 05:16pm
What Nawaz Sharif has outlimed about his new foreign policy is like "easier said than done", so let's wait and see how true he is to his words and promises. The time will prove whether has has a change of heart and vision, or he is said old Nawaz Sharif to whom people of Pakistan have tried twice earlier.
Muhammad Farooq Jun 06, 2013 04:50pm
Jinnah's vision for Pakistan is non interference of the State in the religious practices of different religious or faith groups. Let us see how far Mian Saheb will go to pursue the vision of the father of nation. I wish new PM best of luck!
aftab Jun 06, 2013 04:26pm
Glad to see no reference to religion.
Maajid Jun 06, 2013 04:10pm
Sar-e-mimbar ye khwabo'n ke mahal taameer karte hain, Ilaj-e-gham nahi karte, faqat taqreer karte hain. -Habib Jalib
Nasir Jun 06, 2013 03:53pm
All good on the paper. The proof is in the pudding (execution)
pathanoo Jun 06, 2013 03:47pm
Good thoughts. No one can argue with them. Now, let us see them implemented.
Azam Jun 06, 2013 03:45pm
We really need professional, polite, and educated individuals with strong customer relation skillset in foreign Pakistani Consulates.
Reehan Ahmed Jun 06, 2013 03:21pm
The nation is facing many huge problems in these days. Power crisis is a big problem of the all countries. People are facing hot weather without electricity and water in the many cities of the Punjab. Many private institutions still open after the government school closed down in summer vacations. The power outage schedule is hitting specially poor peoples and they have fighting against it. After the new government people of the Pakistan has very hope full this government for immediate solution.
Jamshed Khan Jun 06, 2013 02:52pm
Sounds all good. But appoint capable, patriotic foreign missions 'on merit', which will be key to a successful foreign policy.
Tariq Jun 06, 2013 02:51pm
Plenty of of lip service from our elected representatives, how will it actually translate at the ground level with our antiquated "ambassadors" in their missions abroad? Our premier should have a "incognito task force" to check out how our missions abroad actually perform!
Khan Jun 06, 2013 02:31pm
All this is fine, first put educated people in these embassies who are literate and understand current geo political environment. Most of the staff if embassies are rude, uneducated Punjabis
Aftab alam khan Jun 06, 2013 01:45pm
The message does not say any word about putting an end to drone attack and tracing out missing person.
Ailly Jun 06, 2013 01:39pm
Our PM ( unfortunately ) of Punjab ML is speaking out his heart. Trying to divulge people's attention from much needed solution to energy crisis, unrest viz terrorists and drones. Well noted comments like: will improve infrastructure, will do more on education, will dialogue with ttp and co., will take china into confidence, will do this, will do that and so on, will depute best men on foreign missions........ having said this, when 'WILL' these thing work the way it should be done. when PMLN 'WILL' will cease to exist and let actions speak. Five years this part will live on legacy of their "WILL DO THIS". Come on Nawaz Sharif, not only be a man of words, please think, process, execute and deliver the end product to the nation. In all fairness this will never come to such point .... pmln shed crocodile tears when they were twice ousted from premiership; first due corruption, secondly due coup ( state was on verge of collapsing, country was wilting under sanctions and criticism for their nuclear game ). this coup was blessing in disguise for this party, as they died to live another day. Nevertheless, lets come out of past and start living in present and plan for future. again, i failed to understand what agenda they have on papers or in mind ( this seems slightly funny ). Friends dont forget he is an iron man, brought up by military regime, nourished and nurtured at the hands of establishment, agencies and army. he is iron fisted ( when matters come to money plundering ). he is a lion ( no matter what if die hard fans of pmln cannot differ between an lion and tiger as was evident from their lat vote buying rallies or last 10 days spree before electioneering campaigns ) who can run away out of Attock jail through an agreement with tail wagged between his legs. he is a steel man who has steel industry in Pakistan. He can expand his business, even in exile. but he could not improve or bring Pakistan Steels at profitable levels. What more to say ?. Endless prime examples of their failures based upon their fragile schemes, policies, short-visioned planning. Both the brothers have declined PM and CM houses, indeed good example, but again a borrowed example they will infest upon as they will lend easy-installment loans to youth. so the youth remains over-burdened with debts. wow only a genius of such magnitude can conjure up such tricks to pocket easy votes. PMLn will have a short-life government, as they are habitual for short sighted projects and hence their governments. Wish if we can have equal number of national assembly seats in all provinces ( or at least reduce Punjabl's seats ) then see the real nation's true party winning in all four provinces. If independent candidates may be shunned. Sharifs, Zardaris, wont be able to ruin our country and lives. What an irony that people of Punjab have given mandate to one party and same will be ruling on other three provinces as well, if they have their mandates in hand, as well. So be it; matter of missing persons in baluchistan, or unrest in karachi or drones in kpk or tribal areas, PMLn will and can NOT take any conclusive measures to improve this situation in nation's favor.
ozman Jun 06, 2013 01:33pm
Positive image of pakistan must come from Pakistan. Pakistani living abroad are already doing their best.
Razi Jun 06, 2013 01:27pm
A great mandate. Shaer (Tiger) as symbol but 'pussy cat' in heart. A timid PM would not be able to do much. So 5 more years of load shedding, corruption, nepotism etc.
Manish Gupte, PhD (@ManishMGupte) Jun 06, 2013 01:31pm
Great! Positive development based way..Economics!
M. S. Alvi Jun 06, 2013 01:06pm
We have heard these political statements before. We also know what happened to those statements. Sounds like history is repeating itself. We can wait and see, but not with high hopes.
TT Jun 06, 2013 12:34pm
everyone who comes in speaks wise words but are rarely acted upon!
syed baqar ahsan Jun 06, 2013 12:21pm
PM make sure send no shafarshi or chamcha or quota selected ambassador to any country if you want to concentrate on domestic affairs.Otherwise your maximum time will be eaten by foreigners, media teams so avoid them.They only come to make you fool and media interviews is create controversies..
Salma Khan Jun 06, 2013 12:13pm
Mr. PM, best wishes for sincere intentions, insha'Allah!
wafaq Jun 06, 2013 11:55am
is Iran not our neighbor? Jun 06, 2013 11:33am
Jamshed Khan Jun 08, 2013 08:46am
Where I live, most embassy staffs are from Karachi, not from Punjab.