IRS roundtable discussion:‘Foreign policy needs regional integration for prosperity’
* BA Malik says there is no room for exceptions in foreign policy
* Khalid Mahmood urges Pakistan to follow Chinese model
ISLAMABAD: Participants of a roundtable discussion, organised by Institute of Regional Studies (IRS) here on Wednesday, called for a foreign policy reflective of Pakistan’s domestic realities.
Foreign policy analyst Ambassador (r) BA Malik, the key speaker, argued that foreign policy stands on the domestic situation of any country. The domestic situation of Pakistan demands greater regional integration for the prosperity of its people, he added.
Malik appreciated President Zardari’s statement on having trade relations with all countries of the world. “There is no room for exceptions in foreign policy,” he maintained.
Malik said it was mentioned in the late Benazir Bhutto’s foreign policy vision that lack of progress on one issue on the agenda should not impede progress on the others. He maintained that regional trade and commerce was the way forward for Pakistan. “It is not an age of independence, it is an age of interdependence,” he said. He called upon political leadership to evolve consensus on a foreign policy to break the status quo.
Former ambassador Khalid Mahmood urged Pakistan to follow the Chinese model in domestic and foreign policy, which was not characterised by domestic economic development alone but also by an uncompromising principled stance on core foreign policy issues. Mehmood said Pakistan would have to combine the security and economic development aspects of foreign policy.
Dr Mavara Inayat of the Department of International Relations, Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU), called for learning from the example of the European Union (EU) for regional integration.
Agreeing with Dr Inayat, Pierre Mayaudon, Deputy Head of the EU delegation to Pakistan, argued that there was a greater need for Pakistan’s foreign policy paradigm to reflect Pakistan’s economic needs including international trading relationships.
Ms. Shabana Fayyaz of the Department of Defence and Strategic Studies, QAU, called for reducing the gap between the foreign policy pronouncements of the political leaders and their actual implementation.
US Embassy Deputy Political Counselor Ms Constancy Arvis said that even though the problem of terrorism had implications beyond Pakistan’s borders, countries like the US had serious interest in it and war on terror was also in the interest of Pakistan to secure a peaceful future.
Defence analyst Lt Gen (r) Asad Durrani argued that good friendly relations with all countries of the world could be a foreign policy goal but not the policy itself, because a comprehensive foreign policy needs to cope both with threats and opportunities. Other participants of the roundtable included IRS President Brig (r) Bashir Ahmed and Ashraf Azim.