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June 1, 2018

Dastgir hopes ‘unshackled’ foreign policy in future


June 1, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan says it promoted economic connectivity, strengthened partnerships, expanded Pakistan’s diplomatic space, and raised its international profile while in the future it hopes to charter a foreign policy which would be ‘unshackled’ from security and would engage the world economically.

In his farewell speech, Foreign and Defence Minister Engineer Khurram Dastgir Khan summed up the performance of the PML-N government in an address which appeared high on rhetoric and low on substance.

“During the PML-N government, Pakistan emerged from the dark period of terrorism, crippling energy shortages, and a regressing economy into a peaceful, economically vibrant, energy-sufficient and globally-connected nation,” he said.

Turning to its immediate neighbour India, the minister said that New Delhi will have to abandon negative approaches, and concede to the logic of unconditional dialogue. “I refer to the statement by my Indian counterpart a few days ago”, he said adding that the arrest and confession of Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav has beyond an iota of doubt proven India’s reprehensible designs to subvert Pakistan.

“Pakistan stood, and will continue to stand, firmly and resolutely by the side of its Kashmiri brethren in their just quest for freedom. Regrettably, India has sought to externalise its failings in the held territory by raising the false bogey of terrorism, unleashing wave after wave of state sponsored repression in occupied territories, seeking to disrupt the Indus Water Treaty, and through escalating violations of ceasefire at the Line of Control and Working Boundary,” said the minister.

In a message to Washington, the minister said that Pakistan believes that both countries stand to gain by cooperation rather than castigation. “Beyond Afghanistan and the issue of terrorism, we have a multi-vectored partnership that spans the areas of education, health, trade, science and technology, commerce, defence and security. The new US policy on Afghanistan and South Asia has created an unnecessary divergence, which is based largely on perceptions rather than facts”, the minister argued.

Pakistan will remain actively engaged with the US administration and other organs of the state to reconcile their differences and keep this important relationship free of misgivings.

Turning to China, the minister focused on the CPEC and said that it is a measure of success of the foreign policy that Pakistan is now poised to translate its geostrategic location into a geo economic asset.

“CPEC is forging ahead with full steam. It has attracted investments of $46.6 billion and has put Pakistan squarely at the centre of a blueprint for a more hopeful, prosperous, and connected future for the region and the world,” he pointed out.

The government show cased its improving relations with Moscow saying that for the first time in history, it created and reinforced a historically unprecedented opening in relations with the Russian Federation.

“In recent times, there have been regular visits between our two sides. We have developed mutual understandings and coordinated closely on issues of mutual concern. This relationship today has the potential to blossom into a multifaceted partnership,” said the minister.

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