Pakistan’s foreign policy achieves benchmarks of national interests: Sartaj

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ISLAMABAD, June 19 (APP): Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz Sunday reasserted that contours of Pakistan’s foreign policy to achieve economic stability and trade growth through vast regional connectivity have met success during the last two years.

He said under the global realignment policies, Pakistan increased its trade and energy connectivity in the region, thus assuming the epicenter of colossal economic activities which would transform the facade of entire region.

In an interview with the PTV, the Advisor defended the blueprints of the government’s foreign policy by saying that the country’s profile with regard to enhancement of its ties with the Central Asian Republics, China, the European and the Islamic countries have witnessed marked improvement.

“Our brotherly and friendly ties with the Islamic countries, including Saudi Arabia and Iran, have enhanced. We have been maintaining a balanced policy and our role is very constructive,” he added.

Sartaj maintained that Pakistan would not interfere into the internal affairs of the countries and that approach had gained global appreciation.

He said Pakistan had a very effective role in the United Nations and Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC), besides the role
it was going to play in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

He said when the PML-N government was formed, it improved the country’s relations with the US and the suspended strategic dialogue
process was resumed.

Moreover, he said Pakistan strongly raised the issue of drone
attacks by adopting a strict policy. Prior to the PML-N government,
there were 117 drone strikes in the country, but due to the effective policy, those were reduced to three.

However, Sartaj maintained that they had raised the issue very
strongly at the international forums as it was linked to the
national security and sovereignty which could not be compromised.

With regard to Pak-India relations, the Advisor said Pakistan’s stance was very clear on the resumption of comprehensive dialogue which should include all the core issues of Kashmir, border and economic ties.

He said India did not want to talk on the Kashmir issue and Pakistan was not in a hurry to hold dialogue excluding the core issues between the neighouring countries.

“Tensions in the region does not bode well, so Pakistan is raising the Kashmir issue effectively at the international fora while maintaining a peaceful atmosphere,” he added.

About the issue of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) membership,
Sartaj said the international community should realize that
it was linked with the regional stability and could be achieved when
Pakistan and India simultaneously became members of the NSG.

About ties with Russia, the Advisor said under the changing
global scenario, Kremlin was also realigning its policy.

The meeting between Russian President Putin and Prime Minister
Muhammad Nawaz Sharif in Ufa was very constructive.

Both the countries were negotiating defence and trade issues.
The work on the $2 billion North and South Gaspipeline was in the
process while the negotiations over the purchase of helicopters,
counter-terrorism measures and anti-drug issues were also underway.
To a query about Pak-Afghan ties, Sartaj Aziz said that
Pakistan had been very sincerely working for an Afghan-own and
Afghan-led peace process and referred to its role in the
Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG).

But he made it clear that it was not the sole responsibility
of Pakistan but the international community should also play its due
role in bringing stability in the war-torn country.

He said Pakistan was facilitating the peace process which had
suffered a setback due to a recent drone attack on Mulla Akhtar
Mansur.

However, he emphasized that dialogue was the only option as
ultimately the Afghan government had to continue it.

The Advisor said that border between the neighbouring
countries existed in the last 70 years.

When the people crossed it and sought facilitation, so it
required better management, he added.

He said Pakistan did not want ‘a loose border’ and in this
regard progress was being made.

Sartaj, to another query, replied that Pakistan and Iran had
deep relations and certain issues could not affect them.
Similarly, Pakistan enjoyed cordial and brotherly relations
with Saudi Arabia and fully cooperated over Saudi led anti-terrorism
efforts whereas about two million Pakistani workers had been staying
in Saudi Arabia, he added.

About China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Advisor
said that the $46billion flag ship project of development and
connectivity was not against any country rather it was aimed at generating massive and trade activities in the entire region.

Besides the CPEC, work on Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan and
India (TAPI) gas pipeline, Central Asia and South Asia (CASA) power
projects had kickstarted, he said, adding that in the next two
decades, the region would be the major trade hub.

In the ongoing cooperation between China and Russia under the
SCO umbrella, Pakistan would be in the forefront of forging trade
and regional ties, he added.

The main objective of the Pakistan’s foreign policy was to
achieve economic prosperity as underlined by the Prime Minister,
Sartaj said, adding that the country’s GDP touched 5 per cent and
would further increase in the coming years.

The Advisor, however, made it clear that the success of robust
and successful foreign policy hinged on the internal stability of a
country and when the messages of instability were given outside, it
did affect the country’s image.

He said without attaining economic prosperity, the benchmarks
of self-reliance and protection of sovereignty could not be
achieved.

The Advisor said Pakistan had achieved many successes under
the PML-N government on the internal and external fronts by
overcoming the issue of terrorism and economic and energy woes which
led to enhancement of its stature among the comity of nations.