Qureshi wants business community to be partner in economic diplomacy

11 Feb 2020

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FOREIGN Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi addressing the business community at the FPCCI head office on Monday.—APP
FOREIGN Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi addressing the business community at the FPCCI head office on Monday.—APP

KARACHI: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has invited the business community to become partner in the country’s economic diplomacy as the world states are focused more on markets keeping in view their economic interests.

“Throughout the world, the success of foreign diplomatic policy increasingly depends on vibrant economic diplomacy, and this is not possible without your support and partnership. There is need to create strong economic linkages with the world,” he said during an interactive session with the members of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) at the Federation House here on Monday.

To a proposal by FPCCI president Mian Anjum Nisar, the minister announced forming a working group comprising three or four senior FPCCI members and an equal number of senior officers from the foreign ministry to help resolve the issues and streamline the things linked to economic diplomacy.

Mr Qureshi urged the business community to make more investment in the country as it would be a win-win situation not only for the government but also for them.

Says India has turned occupied Kashmir into an open prison

As a part of its initiatives for strong economic diplomacy, he said, the government had revamped and strengthened Pakistan’s missions abroad, which included replacement of commercial counsellors with well-trained and competent trade and investment officers. The commercial counsellors had also been relocated to other countries where they could work better in bringing in more trade and investment to the country, he added.

He agreed with the FPCCI leadership that the country needed aggressive diplomacy, especially economic one, to properly market its products and investment potential in the world.

He said Pakistan would benefit a lot from the recently signed second free-trade agreement with China. “China wants to relocate major ind­ustries and Pakistan could attract the Chinese investment,” he added.

Mr Qureshi emphasised the need for diversification, value-addition and exploring new markets in the world, especially in Africa. “We are opening new missions in African states,” he said, adding that recently a big trade expo was successfully held in Nairobi, Kenya, which had huge participation from many African countries.

He said that the government had negotiated with Qatar to export 100,000 skilled Pakistani workers.

Peerzada Salman adds: Addres­sing a session on the “Strategic importance of economic diplomacy for Pakistan in the 21st century” at the Institute of Business Administration, Foreign Minister Qureshi said that in 55 years, Kashmir had been discussed three times over the last six months in the UNSC.

He said India had taken some desperate measures post-Aug 5. That had turned Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir into an open prison. All fundamental rights were suspended. Leadership and activists there had been arrested without charges. People were being deprived to pray. People couldn’t go for their Eid qurbani. That was the kind of Hindutva-RSS mindset enforced on the people of India-held Kashmir.

Mr Qureshi said Pakistan being a responsible neighbour took its case to the international community. “In six months three times after 55 years this issue was discussed in the Security Council. The first time we are seeing the narrative changing. The international media today is openly criticising Indian policies. This siege cannot go on indefinitely,” he added.

Published in Dawn, February 11th, 2020