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Sunday April 14, 2024

Amid Ukrainian crisis, Pakistan maintained balance in ties with Russia, West bloc: foreign secretary

He also informed Senate panel that formal application has been submitted for BRICS membership after fulfilling all prerequisites

By Asim Yasin
February 23, 2024
Foreign Secretary Muhammad Syrus Sajjad Qazi speaks during a presser in Islamabad on January 13, 2024. — Facebook/Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamabad
Foreign Secretary Muhammad Syrus Sajjad Qazi speaks during a presser in Islamabad on January 13, 2024. — Facebook/Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamabad 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan maintained a delicate balance in its foreign policy and diplomatic relations with Russia and the Western Bloc amid the Ukrainian crisis.

It was stated by Foreign Secretary Muhammad Syrus Sajjad Qazi in the last meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs held under the chair of Senator Farooq H. Naek.

The foreign secretary gave a comprehensive briefing on various issues deliberated upon in previous meetings of the committee along with the key initiatives taken by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on diplomatic and international fronts in line with the recommendations of the committee.

During the briefing, the foreign secretary apprised that Pakistan maintained a delicate balance in its foreign policy and diplomatic relations with Russia and the Western Bloc amid the Ukrainian crisis.

He also informed the Senate panel that a formal application has been submitted for BRICS membership after fulfilling all prerequisites.

The foreign secretary also briefed the committee on India’s alleged atrocities in IIOJ&K and the actions taken by the ministry. He emphasized Pakistan’s ongoing efforts to spotlight the Kashmiri plight internationally and reiterated support for their right to self-determination in line with UNSC resolutions.

Furthermore, the ministry continued its endeavours to raise awareness about the challenges faced by Muslims in India and denounced sacrilegious statements made against the Holy Prophet (PBUH) by BJP members. Pakistan also actively addressed Islamophobia on the global stage. A diplomatic passport, along with foolproof security, was provided to Yasin Malik’s spouse as directed by the committee. The ministry is actively pursuing the matter of travel conditions imposed on Pakistanis to the UAE. The issue of stranded Pakistani students in Chinese universities due to Covid-19 restrictions was successfully resolved.

The committee informed that concerns regarding Afghan spectators during the Pak-Afghan cricket match in the UAE were addressed with authorities, and the UAE government took necessary steps.

The Foreign Ministry issued standard operating procedures and continued to facilitate visits of Pakistani parliamentarians abroad through its missions. Efforts were ongoing to address difficulties faced by Pakistanis in Gulf countries, including Iqama renewals, lost passport issuances and non-payment of salaries.

The ministry extended its outreach in Africa, and the power of attorney system for the Pakistani diaspora working abroad was digitized, benefiting 5,000 individuals. No Pakistani mission was closed in African countries as part of austerity measures. The resolution of issuing visas to 1,600 Afghans with bogus residence cards from Sweden led to the repatriation of the culprit, a Pakistani employee, now in the custody of FIA.

The committee was briefed on Pakistan’s diplomatic, economic, peace & security and strategic objectives during Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s participation in the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers meeting held in India. Senator Walid Iqbal proposed a uniform consular protection policy, with the foreign secretary committing to formulate it within 90 days. Prisoner transfer agreements were discussed and the committee directed the ministry to sign agreements with more countries to benefit Pakistani nationals.

Syrus Qazi expressed gratitude to the committee for their guidance over the past three years and affirmed his dedication to advancing Pakistan’s interests globally.