ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Friday said that addressing the country’s domestic issues requires the quick rebuilding of ties, restoring trust with key capitals and reinvigorating extensive engagement with traditional partners.
He said Pakistan is committed to forging good relations with all major powers, which includes not only the US and China but also Europe, Russia, Japan and Asean countries.
The minister made these remarks while addressing a ceremony held to mark the 50th foundation day of the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI), according to a press release issued on Friday.
The foreign minister said Islamabad had reinforced and deepened its partnerships with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Turkiye, Iran and Qatar, besides seeing a positive trend in the Pakistan-Africa linkages.
Bilawal calls for a more imaginative, multi-dimensional approach to foreign policy
He also emphasised the need for the country’s foreign policy to be imaginative and multi-dimensional, considering the rapidly transforming geopolitical landscaping across the globe.
According to a press release, Mr Bhutto-Zardari said that when he assumed the office in April last year, the country was facing serious challenges on the diplomatic fronts. However, he said, the government pursued a foreign policy aimed at addressing national challenges, improving access to goods and services, preserving sovereign decision-making and promoting multilateralism and international law.
The minister told the gathering of ambassadors, think tanks, researchers and educationists that Pakistan always opposed the bloc politics and advocated cooperation as a main driver of international relations.
He said the Pakistan-China strategic partnership had been enduring and proven to be beneficial over several decades, adding that Islamabad was fully committed to the success of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The foreign minister said that extending CPEC to Afghanistan and the west would further advance the agenda of connectivity and economic integration. Regarding Pakistan-US relations, the foreign minister highlighted that proactive outreach efforts have resulted in high-level visits from both sides. He expressed hope that the de-hyphenation approach would further strengthen bilateral relations.
With Russia, he said Pakistan continued to build relations based on trust, recognising the significant potential across multiple sectors. He said as a friend of Russia and Ukraine, Pakistan desired a peaceful resolution to the ongoing crisis.
He said the ties with India were marked by mistrust primarily due to India’s unilateral and illegal actions of Aug 5, 2019 in held Kashmir. He said Pakistan was committed to having good neighbourly relations with India based on mutual respect and sovereign equality. In order to move forward, he said, India would have to remove the obstacles hindering peace and reverse the unilateral actions of Aug 5.
Regarding Afghanistan, the foreign minister urged the international community to adopt a pragmatic approach and continue to provide assistance to prevent any humanitarian disaster and help rebuild its economy.
Similarly, he also urged the Taliban authorities to come up to the expectations of the global community and show respect for human rights.
Published in Dawn, June 17th, 2023