The News on Sunday
Published Date: Mar 3, 2019
Hunger, starvation, climate change, inequality common enemies
Islamabad : Parliamentary Secretary on Foreign Affairs Andleeb Abbas has said that reforms and improving direction of the foreign policy would help Pakistan to effectively defend its national interests diplomatically and overcome diplomatic turmoil created by Indian propaganda and lobbying around the world.
Ms Andleeb was speaking at the inaugural session of a seminar on “Foreign policy of Pakistan in context of strategic coercion” organised here by Sustainable Development Policy.
Ms Andleeb said that the present government was working on economic, religious and cultural diplomacy to get international community aware of Pakistan’s sacrifices in war on terror for regional and global peace. Trade and investments get you towards improved economic ties and diplomatic relations, whereas, aid get you towards strategic coercion. Therefore, she said, economic diplomacy was the key focus of the incumbent government. She said that with massive investments from Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, we were heading towards our aim to take major game players on our side on diplomatic front. She said religious and cultural diplomacy was another key diplomatic tool to bring the world closer to explore our country and diminish differences and misconceptions prevailing among various countries. Opening up of Kartarpur corridor was the part of this diplomacy, she added.
Imtiaz Gul, head of Centre for Research and Security Studies, said that both countries have no choice but to live in peace as both countries have a lot of commonalities in culture, caste and religion. To improve ties between two countries, he proposed to deal with Afghan refugees on the humanitarian grounds instead of considering them a security risk. He termed the Prime Minister’s steps of relaxing visa regime and allowing Afghan refugees to open bank accounts, a good confidence building measure, which would help reduce tensions between two countries.
Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Executive Director, SDPI, said Pakistan is not only facing traditional coercion of “Do More,” but also facing economic coercion in the form of IMF conditionalities and restrictions. He said the hybrid warfare is now one the major challenges of Pakistan’s foreign policy and to ward off this challenge, we have to prepare ourselves. He said our common enemy is poverty, hunger, food security, climate change, inequality, unemployment and lack of drinking water and safe sanitation. The region and especially both nuclear rivals require collective action to fight the common enemy, he added.
Former Ambassador Ayaz Wazir said we are facing several issues internally including political instability and economic volatility which weaken our position on the external front. Pakistan needs to be stable and strong from the internal side to effectively confront the external coercions, otherwise poor domestic situation would not help in achieving foreign policy objectives of the country, he remarked. The government should immediately resolve its internal political issues, especially the issues of people of former FATA, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, which would help strengthen the position of country on external fronts.
Advocate Supreme Court Majid Bashir said that Pakistan foreign policy lacks lawfare, as we don’t have regional and international legal regime in place for foreign policy issues. The issues such as Kulbhushan Jadhav, Pathankot incident, FATF, Uri attack and now Pulwama require legal framework and international lawyers to understand the issues and Pakistan needs to have a think tank of young international lawyers to help strengthen Pakistan capacity on legal foreign policy issues, he added. Defence analyst Gen (r) Amjad Shoaib, former ambassador Tariq Hyder, Dr Vaqar Ahmed and Shafqat Munir from SDPI, also spoke on the occasion.