New foreign policy to ‘begin and end at Pakistan’: FM

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APP12-17 ISLAMABAD: August 20 – Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi talking media persons after assumed the office at Foreign Ministry. APP photo by Javed Qureshi

ISLAMABAD, Aug 20 (APP):Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Monday said Pakistan’s new foreign policy would “begin and end at Pakistan” and steps would be taken to bring the country out of international isolation.
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.
“Don’t you seek input from CIA and Pentagon? I am aware of their working and I will work for the betterment of Pakistan,” Qureshi told a foreign journalist who raised a question on the alleged interference of other institutions in formulation of foreign policy.
The Foreign Minister said he would focus on bridging the trust deficit between Pakistan and regional countries and emphasized on putting Pakistan first while fostering better relations with neighbouring countries.
Qureshi said he would consult with Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and also the former foreign ministers Hina Rabbani Khar and Khwaja Asif for their suggestions on foreign policy.
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.
On relations with India, he said a continued and uninterrupted dialogue was the only option for the two nuclear powers.
“Coming to the table and talking peace is our only option. We need to stop the adventurism and come together. We know the issues are tough and will not be solved overnight, but we have to engage,” Qureshi said.
He said the Kashmir was an outstanding issue which must be acknowleged by the two nations.
He mentioned that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a letter written to Prime Minister Imran Khan had indicated the beginning of talks between the two countries.

Foreign Minister Qureshi said he would be representing Pakistan at the upcoming United Nations General Assembly session in New York in September and would strongly present the country’s case at the international level.
He said China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was a game changer and mentioned that his party supported the project while in opposition too. He said the Chinese ambassador was in touch with him and soon a meeting would be held to discuss the progress on the project.
He said his Chinese counterpart would visit Islamabad on September 8-9.
He said the federal cabinet was the reflection of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision which would work dedicatedly towards ending poverty in the country.
To a question on how the Foreign Affairs Ministry would follow the Prime Minister’s instructions on austerity, the Foreign Minsiter said a task force had been set up under Dr Ishrat Hussain for its implementation and each ministry would follow it with different approach to match the requirements of the rest of world.
He urged upon the foreign missions abroad to remember themselves not as rulers but servants to the nation. He stressed the need for embassies to treat the overseas Pakistanis with respect.