ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Friday Pakistan wants peaceful and friendly relations with international community, particularly with its neighbours to ensure peace and progress in the region.
Addressing inaugural ceremony of new block of the Foreign Office building, the prime minister said Pakistan is playing its due role to promote regional and international peace and enhance mutual cooperation through its Foreign Office.
The prime minister said the new government is focusing on a four-point agenda, which include weeding out terrorism, revival of economy, overcoming energy crisis and promoting trade at international level instead of getting aid. He hoped that Pakistan would overcome its challenges with the cooperation of international community. He said Pakistan is working zealously to strengthen its relations with its neighbours, including India and Afghanistan.
He added, “We are committed to further expanding our strategic ties with China and rebuilding relations with United States on the basis of mutual respect and equality besides further strengthening ties with Islamic countries.”
The prime minister said the world has become a global village and Pakistan could not afford isolation at any level. He said, “It is responsibility of our diplomats who are our ambassadors to work hard for strengthening relations with international community particularly with the neighbours and promote trade.”
He stressed the need for bringing changes in the “traditional diplomacy” to make it according to the needs of the present era.
Nawaz Sharif said for any state, diplomacy was the first line of defence and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the country’s diplomats play an indispensable role in any nation’s efforts to promote peace, and foster regional and international cooperation.
He said “conventional diplomacy” had now acquired new dimensions and the specialised streams like multi and bilateral diplomacy and economic coupled with public diplomacy and services streams were now more relevant. He mentioned the important part played by successive generations of the country’s diplomats, including Mr Jamshed Marker who was a non-career diplomat, Mr Agha Shahi an ICS officer, and Mr Sheharyar Khan a career diplomat. They all worked for the advancement of Pakistan’s key national objectives, the prime minister said. He expressed confidence that this institution would adapt to the changing paradigms in diplomacy and continue to adapt itself to the rapidly changing global environment and further promote the core national interests.
Nawaz Sharif said Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had made it clear that Pakistan wanted to live peacefully and maintain friendly relations with its immediate neighbours and with the world at large.
The prime minister said that one of the most distinguishing features of the present times was the peaceful democratic transition in Pakistan. The vibrancy of today’s Pakistan is further reflected in an independent judiciary, a free media and a dynamic civil society, he added.
He said, “While the strengthening of democracy is indeed a matter of pride, we remain conscious that our nation also confronts formidable foes – the menace of extremism and terrorism and a challenging economic situation. Accordingly, our government’s priorities in the domestic arena include: fighting terrorism, reviving the economy, resolving the energy crisis, and improving governance.” The prime minister said the country’s foreign policy was based on four key priorities.
“Firstly, build a peaceful and prosperous neighbourhood; secondly, reach out to regional and international partners; thirdly, focus on trade, not aid and lastly, develop a consensus-based approach to counter terrorism.”
He said that in order to realise the policy objectives, important initiatives had been taken to improve relations with Afghanistan, resume dialogue with India, strengthen strategic partnership with China, re-build relations with the US on the basis of mutual respect and mutual interest, engagement with Europe, and enhance Pakistan’s solidarity with the Islamic world.
He said, “Our emphasis on economic dimensions of the national agenda is reflected in all these interactions. The recent approval of GSP Plus by EU testifies to this fact. In short, our message to the world is of peace and friendship.”
Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan seeks cooperation based on mutual interest and “our effort is to transform the existing friendly ties into mutually beneficial partnerships”.
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