ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has appointed a 19-member advisory council on foreign affairs to obtain impartial input on the foreign policy.

The council, headed by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, comprises former ambassadors and foreign secretaries.

The members of the council include former ambassadors Salman Basheer, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi and Muhammad Sadiq, Dr Riffat Hussain, Dr Huma Baqai, Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi, Dr Adil Najam, Dr Rabia Akhter and Qasim Niaz.

The minister for law and justice, minister for finance and economic affairs, adviser on commerce, textile, industry and production and investment or their representatives, foreign secretary, director general of the Institute of Strategic Studies, director general of the Foreign Services Academy and additional secretary of foreign affairs will also be ex-officio members of the council.

According to a notification issued here on Friday, all members of the council will serve in honorary capacity. The minister for foreign affairs may appoint ad hoc additional council members with expertise and specialisation in different areas, if deemed necessary.

Headed by Qureshi, panel comprises ex-ambassadors and foreign secretaries

The council will be assisted in its work by a secretariat comprising designated officials of the foreign affairs ministry.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said in a statement that the advisory council comprised seasoned and experienced people. He said that the members of the council would give their expert opinions based on their rich experience.

He said that veteran academicians associated with renowned universities had also been included in the advisory panel so that they could enrich the foreign policy with credible research carried out in their respective universities.

He said that much-ignored problems like national resource constraints and different social issues would also be focused.

“That is why we have included internationally recognised scholar Adil Najam in the council,” he said.

The foreign minister said that the foreign policy was often criticised for focusing on defence and ignoring social aspects.

“Keeping in view this criticism, we have also included in the council personalities associated with the fields of economy and trade,” he said.

He expressed the confidence that in line with comprehensive guidelines given by the members of the council, the foreign policy would encompass wide areas. The foreign minister said that the first meeting of the advisory council would shortly be convened where all rules and regulations of the council would be presented.

He said that the council would later meet on a regular basis.

Published in Dawn, December 29th, 2018

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