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ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz at the opening of an envoys' conference on Monday urged Pakistani ambassadors to proactively protect Pakistani interests and project the country's stance on vital issues.

Confronted with an aggravating foreign policy crisis, the government has convened the three-day conference to chart a way out.

This is the third such conference during the current government’s tenure and will focus on "critical issues in foreign policy", according to a source, Dawn earlier reported.

Nine Pakistani ambassadors accredited to various capitals and multilateral institutions are in attendance at the moot, Foreign Office Spokesman Nafees Zakaria said. Surprisingly, envoys to the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia are not present.

Issues that will be taken up during the event include relations with the US, India (especially in the context of Kashmir uprising), Afghanistan, China, Russia and the European Union; the upcoming Saarc summit; membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and disarmament affairs; terrorism, and UN-related matters.

Deliberations will also be important from the perspective of the upcoming presidential elections in the US and major international realignments currently under way.

"The envoy's conference is a regular feature in which Pakistan’s representatives in various regions brief the government on important developments in their respective areas of accreditation, and challenges and opportunities arising out of such developments," Zakaria said.

The FO spokesman added that the envoys also present their recommendations regarding Pakistan's existing foreign policy with a view to review, adapt, and recalibrate policy in accordance with prevalent strategic, political and economic trends.

The participants will also receive briefings from military and ISI officials, according to an earlier Dawn report.

Barring a couple of success stories, the foreign policy fiasco has pushed the country into international isolation.

While the envoys and the Foreign Office top brass brainstorm on the problems and strategy for climbing out of isolation, it is likely that fundamental issues causing paralysis in foreign policy functioning — the absence of a full-time foreign minister, duality at the top in the FO hierarchy, diminished role of the foreign secretary, and the military’s involvement in decision making and implementation — will not be discussed, Dawn earlier reported.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will attend the concluding session of the moot, where he will be briefed by ambassadors and share his vision for the country's foreign policy.

Envoys in attendance at the moot are Ambassador Jalil Abbas Jilani (Washington); Amb Maleeha Lodhi (United Nations, New York); High Commissioner Abdul Basit (New Delhi); Amb Masood Khalid (Beijing); Amb Qazi Khalilullah (Moscow); Amb Tehmina Janjua (United Nations-Geneva and Conference on Disarmament); Amb Naghm­a­­na Hashmi (Brussels and EU); Amb Ayesha Riyaz (Vienna and International Atomic Energy Agency) and Amb Abrar Hussain (Kabul).

Comments (17) Closed

Vish Aug 01, 2016 02:11pm

So what really is Pakistan's interest? Is it the interest of the people or the establishment or do both have the same interests?

Rohit Aug 01, 2016 02:29pm

Any guesses of why UK and KSA were missing?

Kamal Aug 01, 2016 03:04pm

Everyday is critical now. The foreign office should get very proactive watch the ambassadors' performance closely. Some ideas for this are: 1. KPI (key performance indicators) for each ambassador (events, social media promotions, business and investor seminars eg). There should be a quarterly review of their performance. The amount of money spent on the embassy vs the amount of promotion and business/tourism generated by the embassy should determine the usefulness of that embassy. 2. Unified image management of country (along with the green light from military promote areas that are open for tourism. There should be one credible website promoted on all embassy websites so people can get right information on travel and business) Currently all embassies have different style websites. Very incoherent. 3. Unified feedback system, perhaps a Facebook page or something, but it needs to be on each embassy websites and tracked by foreign office. 4. Mailing list by embassies to promote events.

M Rafique Aug 01, 2016 03:07pm

FIRST the leaders are supposed to be proactive so follower/subordinates to follow the same

Zak Aug 01, 2016 03:14pm

PML-N has no FM, for selfish reasons.

Zak Aug 01, 2016 03:16pm

Appoint a foreign minister, pick up the kashmir plight in IOK and take it up on each forum, media interview, UN. Let it be associated with the name of India. Each time they hear the word india, they should see young children faces with pellets that blinded them. Make it joint to the palistinian issue.

Zak Aug 01, 2016 03:20pm

@Rohit wow! You are following this as well. Why so obsessed with Pakistan. Is there nothing in your own country to follow?

Rohit Aug 01, 2016 03:26pm


SAARC is led by India who alone will set the agenda.....thats just the reality of it!

Timeto stopthis Aug 01, 2016 03:43pm

@Zak You could be asked the same question considering you are living in the US.

Ahmed bin Babar Aug 01, 2016 04:48pm

Diplomacy is an art, attitude, tool made for attaining your set goals...

Houlbelat Aug 01, 2016 05:19pm

Major international realignments currently under way is what is called "New World Order". Pakistan is the major international factor in the new Planning of the International Politics of Terror. But, without its own foreign policy in place, it is a broth in the pan without fire under it.

Guest Aug 01, 2016 05:27pm

@Kamal Just being proactive and PR does not change the opinion of other countries about you. Most countries have their own sources of information and act based on hard information and their self interest not based on propaganda.

Guest Aug 01, 2016 05:29pm

@Kamal What I meant was you can paint a rosy picture but what about the terrorist related violence that keeps businesses and visitors out.

ChNasir Aug 01, 2016 05:46pm

@Kamal Right, Foreign offices can easily see what they are LACKING

ChNasir Aug 01, 2016 05:49pm

@Zak G, PAKGOV-N thinks they are doing wonderful work, just as any company lands in PAK. Reality, is that MNC's are waiting to be invited, with a good "tax package".

Couldn't be easier with crisis in EU etc..

Thought Provoking Aug 01, 2016 06:17pm

Our country Foreign policy should need to be reviewed and formulated in the great interest of country with long term strategies AND foreign POLICIES specially having good relations and diplomacy with neighboring countries with having good friendly peaceful understanding in the great interests of this region. we have to restructure the poor domain of our Foreign policies in a appropriate direction diplomatically and strategically with its" strategic depth" We have to get understand its new political economic and diplomatic dimensions in the light of international political current scenario"

Basit Ali Aug 01, 2016 06:30pm

@Zak R u seriously residing in USA?