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Web Desk
August 20, 2018

Pakistan extends olive branch to Afghanistan, India


Web Desk
Mon, Aug 20, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Newly appointed Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Monday vowed to review Pakistan's foreign policy and said that he would send a message of peace towards India and Afghanistan.

In his maiden press conference soon taking oath of his office, the Foreign Minister said the current foreign policy would be reviewed with specific focus on serving Pakistan’s interest foremost.

Responding to a question, Qureshi categorically said, “There are pre-conceived notions about where the foreign policy of Pakistan is made. Let me be clear: The foreign policy will be made here at the Foreign Office.”

He said he would engage with all institutions including national security institutions for their input, similar to the policy across the world.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has written a letter to Imran Khan in which he has expressed desire to start dialogue with Pakistan, Qureshi added.

There are multiple challenges that we are facing in this region, he said adding that some forces were bent upon pushing us towards global isolation as the previous government didn’t appoint a permanent foreign minister for four years.

‘National Consensus’

Inviting former foreign ministers for consultations, Qureshi noted that the PTI government understands the gravity of problems and would like to seek advice from opposition parties. He invited Khawaja Mohammad Asif and Hina Rabbani Khar for a meeting before the important session of United National General Assembly scheduled in September.

'Visit to Kabul’

He expressed his intention to pay a visit to Kabul to move forward on bilateral agreement.

“I want to bring a solid message to the people of Afghanistan. The two countries share a future and geography, and we have to work together and begin our long journey,” he said.

The Foreign Minister said he wanted to tell the people of Afghanistan that the two countries needed to become the support base of each other, adding that Pakistan and Afghanistan had the capability to become a good support mechanism for each other.

‘Ties with India’

The FM maintained that both India and Pakistan are nuclear-armed nations and cannot afford any adventurism. I will approach New Dehli with a message of peace and shall remind the Indian government that dialogue is the only option, the PTI minister said.

‘Non-career diplomats’

The foreign minister said that the ministry will review performances of all the missions and of non-career diplomats posted at various embassies around the world and only after that assessment decision would be made to retain them.

It has to be performance based, he said.

‘CPEC game-changer’

When asked to comment on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, he said that the CPEC is a game changer for Pakistan and is a very important project for us. I will invite Chinese envoy to have a detailed briefing on where we stand and how to move forward, added Qureshi.