KARACHI, Feb 10 (APP):Minister of Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi Monday said in consonance with the current global realities, Pakistan’s foreign policy was experiencing a paradigm shift with equal focus on economic diplomacy.

Addressing a session on ‘The Strategic Importance of Economic Diplomacy for Pakistan in the 21st Century,’ organized here by Institute of Business Administration (IBA-Karachi), he referred to the measures adopted by the Federal Government during the last one and a half years for economic stability.

It was equally reflected through a robust and proactive policy approach spearheaded by his ministry to pave way for a stable and secured environment for the national development and prosperity, he added.

Economic diplomacy, he said, made things workable and doable in any given situation. From the very onset he knew that without addressing the twin deficits inherited by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government no plausible change could be expected.

“The core concern was why Pakistan cannot cover its import bills and why during the past one and a half decades the country’s export fell from 0.16% to 0.12%,” Qureshi said.

Reiterating that a multi-pronged approach was adopted to address the situation, he said the PTI government, which had assumed power at a critical juncture, adopted a pragmatic approach to leverage the country’s relationship with the world community accruing maximum benefits and minimizing its losses.

“With a proper understanding about our deficiencies the government with all the stakeholders concerned are on a single page with regard to elimination of terrorism and restoration of peace.”

It was further being streamlined through a clear policy to help restoration of normalcy in Afghanistan, despite clear signals of an aggressive Hindutva driven agenda promoted on the country’s western borders, he added.

The minister, in the most categorical terms, said Pakistan was not going to be a party to any dispute between any two countries.

“It is absolutely clear that we can be party to peace only,” he added.

Later, to a query, the foreign minister said Pakistan’s efforts to explore new markets for its goods also included Central Asia, accessible through Afghanistan.

In context of marked improvement in the situation in the country, he mentioned that the United Kingdom, the United States, Norway, Portugal and several other European countries had revised positively their travel advisories for Pakistan.

One of the most prestigious publications focused on travel and tourism had recently declared Pakistan among the top most attractive destinations, the minister said, mentioning that Prime Minister Imran Khan was personally keen to promote tourism in the country.

Tourism in accordance to its true potential was said to be promoted on strong lines with equal attention towards its diversity, he added.

Referring to foreign policy achievements in braving adverse economy related challenges during the past one and a half years, he said leverage was created to help achieve much needed oil on deferred payment while friendly countries also came forward with multi-billion dollar investment.

Acknowledging friendly gestures of Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Turkey and China, he said multi-national companies such as Proton, Aramco etc were coming forward with massive investments.

He also mentioned Pak-Africa Trade Development Conference held recently in Kenya and jointly attended by him and Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce, Industries and Trade Razzak Dawood.

It was said to be an attempt to tap 1.3 billion potential consumers for Pakistan made products that were already in process of being diversified to meet special needs of international markets, he added.

Fresh footprints for Pakistani goods, he said, were said being created in different parts of the world through an innovative approach involving the private sector and the enterprising young lot of professionals.

Securing job markets for growing labour force in the country, Qureshi said agreements had been signed with Japan and many other countries.

To a question about GSP-plus facility extended to Pakistani products by the European Union, the minister expressing his gratitude said it had to be sustained as only now Pakistan was in a position to take optimum advantage of it.

Earlier, the minister was introduced to the audience by Prof Huma Baqai, who reminded that Pakistan’s radar had changed from geo-politics to geo-economic and Minister Qureshi could be the best person to walk the talk.

Executive Director of IBA-Karachi Dr Said Ghani offered vote of thanks and presented the institute’s plaque to the guest speaker.

The event was attended by students, staff, alumni and also sizable number of foreign diplomats.