News Analysis |
The newly-appointed foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has acknowledged that there is a need to alter the ‘direction’ of Pakistan’s foreign policy and Pakistan’s new foreign policy would begin and end at Pakistan.
In his first address, after the oath-taking ceremony, he vowed to use the ‘bipartisan approach’ from the beginning. “Since, a very important meeting in United Nations is coming up, where, I have to represent Pakistan,” he said. In this regard, he invited the ex-foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar and Khawaja Asif to kick-start the consultation process to brief him on the state of affairs.
Qureshi addressed neighboring Afghanistan and offered them a new beginning in the bilateral ties between the two countries
PTI’s government represent the wishes of people and opposition is part of these wishes and have their role, which I accept. PTI led government is expected to announce its first steps after consultation with all the relevant stakeholders including past foreign ministers, foreign ministry officials and players working in the domain.
Pakistan’s opponents were allowed to roam freely in absence of foreign minister in this country. “There were some forces who put Pakistan on the course of isolation and marginalization,” he asserted. He addressed the eastern and western neighbors and Pakistani missions across the world and extended the message of peace and harmony.
PTI government will bridge the trust deficit with other neighboring nations based on the wishes of the people of Pakistan. He ensured the public that foreign policy will be made at the Foreign Office of Pakistan and negated the preconceived notions regarding it, [as if the policy is already crafted in GHQ].
Qureshi addressed neighboring Afghanistan and offered them a new beginning in the bilateral ties between the two countries. Our future, geography, and peace are connected, he remarked. And, showed intent to visit Afghanistan in the future, with a message of peace and hope, in a bid to continue the on-going bilateral agreements between the two.
A new foreign policy is expected to face obstructions and hurdles as the decision based on a nation’s aspirations, and priorities may collide with those of other stakeholders
In his message for Government of India, he reminded them of atomic capabilities and common resources of the two nations. Accidental adventurism is not an option, he made it clear. Similarly, outstanding issues [Including Kashmir], and uninterrupted dialogue is the only way forward, which must be acknowledged.
However, his claims that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has written a letter to PM Imran Khan, in which he has indicated the beginning of talks between the two countries, are denied by the credible government sources in India. According to Indian media, in the congratulatory message, Modi didn’t express his wish for dialogues to Pakistan and only asserted that India is committed to peaceful ties. In his message to Pakistani missions, Qureshi made it clear to that you are meant to serve, not rule, and treat the overseas Pakistanis with respect.
This is Qureshi’s second stint as the foreign minister after serving the same role during the last PPP government between 2008-13 under then-president Asif Zardari and former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. PTI led government is willing to take all the stakeholders on board to kick-start a new era of dialogue, where, it hopes to speak and operate with international stakeholders in a straightforward manner on the basis of equality.
A new foreign policy is expected to face obstructions and hurdles as the decision based on a nation’s aspirations, and priorities may collide with those of other stakeholders. Qureshi is in it for a bumpy ride ahead. The trust deficit of Pakistan with the duo—India, and Afghanistan is very difficult to bridge. Given the complexity of the relationship, PTI led government must be built up a national consensus to move forward on crucial bilateral relations with its troubling neighbors.