Monday July 22, 2024

Pakistan no longer diplomatically isolated: Dar

Senator Dar presented an overview of the Foreign Ministry’s first 100 days progress

By Asim Yasin
July 10, 2024
Foreign Minister and Deputy PM Ishaq Dar is chairing a meeting in this undated picture. — APP/File
Foreign Minister and Deputy PM Ishaq Dar is chairing a meeting in this undated picture. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Senator Ishaq Dar made it clear on Tuesday that Pakistan was no longer diplomatically isolated, emphasising that the country was engaging with the world with open arms and striving to attract foreign direct investment.

The inaugural meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs was held on Tuesday with Senator Irfanul Haque Siddiqui in the chair.

Senator Dar presented an overview of the Foreign Ministry’s first 100 days progress, with the main focus on economic diplomacy and geo-economics.

He highlighted key achievements including calls for a ceasefire in Gaza in OIC summit, participation in the nuclear energy summit and significant diplomatic visits to the UAE, Saudi Arabia, China, Iran and Uzbekistan.

These visits focused on enhancing cooperation in various sectors, including ICT, renewable energy and strategic partnerships, with the UAE pledging a $10 billion investment in Pakistan other than previous commitments.

The foreign minister also briefed the committee on engagement with Afghanistan regarding security and health issues discussed recently in Doha meeting, announcing plans for an upcoming visit to address these matters. Dar said that he would not ask for any kind of loan from friendly countries. “Our focus is on direct investment and exports,” he said.

He said that the investment of billions of dollars that have been offered was being worked on and the prime minister himself was monitoring these matters. “There is no foreign visit in which trade and business are not discussed, our efforts are being made to materialise the investment offers that have been made.”

While briefing the committee on Afghanistan, the foreign minister said that Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was currently present in Afghanistan. “We demand that the TTP be expelled from Afghanistan as we want the best relations with Kabul because Afghanistan is a brotherly Islamic country and you can’t change your neighbors,” he told the committee.

He said that unfortunately with the Dasu attack and the attack on Chinese residents before that, an attempt was made to disrupt the relations between the two countries. “China is very sensitive about security, China has a clear position that it cannot send people where there are security problems,” he told the committee.

Additionally, the foreign minister discussed initiatives to facilitate document attestation services for residents of remote areas through courier services and new initiative of the ministry ‘Apostille Verification’.

Senator Irfan inquired about the performance evaluation of Pakistani trade attachés in missions abroad, to which the foreign secretary responded that performance reports are reviewed every three months based on approved KPIs.

Addressing concerns about Pakistani students facing issues in Central Asia, the foreign minister assured ongoing efforts to support and accommodate students, noting that 4,800 out of 11,000 students from Kyrgyzstan have already returned to Pakistan due to efforts of the government.

Senator Dr Afnanullah Khan said the high court had made the Foreign Office a party to legally bring Dr Afia Siddiqui to Pakistan. Foreign Minister Dar said that Afia Siddiqui has suffered so much, she is a woman and she has endured a lot.

He said that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif raised the matter of Dr Afia before former US president Obama. “I also raised this matter before Antony Blinken. “The Foreign Office will do whatever it can in this regard,” he said. The meeting was attended by senators Sherry Rehman, Rana Mahmoodul Hassan, Rubina Quaim Khani, Anwaarul Haq Kakar, Afnanullah Khan, Liaqat Khan Tarakai, Abdul Qadir, Ishaq Dar and the foreign secretary along with additional secretaries from the Foreign Office.