FM calls for promoting inter-faith harmony

F.P. Report
ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Tuesday said that through extensive engagement with the international community, Pakistan achieved substantially on the diplomatic front during the past fifteen months.
Addressing a ceremony at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after launching ‘Digitised system under Foreign Minister’s Change Management Reforms’, the foreign minister said that through intensive engagements with the international community, they could now claim “diplomacy is back”. It was also an appropriate response to those who were touting about Pakistan being isolated at the global level, he added.
The foreign minister said that due to consistent global engagements under his stewardship, and with the countries in the Middle East, the United States, China, and other members of the United Nations, they had increased Pakistan’s outreach and viewpoint on different issues, leading to success at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) after the country was removed from the grey list and climate change issue. He said during the floods last year and afterward, in the post-flood scenario, the international community came to support Pakistan in the relief and rehabilitation efforts.
The UN General Assembly members focused on Pakistan during the relief efforts and subsequently, they successfully arranged the Climate Resilient Pakistan summit in Geneva receiving ‘a substantive and qualitative response’. Foreign Minister Bilawal, to a media query, reiterated that Pakistan was not keen to join the ‘blocs policy’ and would take decisions in the larger national interests.
Pakistan had stressed upon resolution of all world issues through dialogue and diplomacy, he added. Responding to another question regarding terrorist organizations, he maintained that writ of the state would be established at all costs and the government would not take steps to appease the militant or terrorists outfits. He said that he had suggested to the prime minister to convene an Apex Committee meeting to address the issue of terrorist and criminal incidents in the country.
He said that there was an increase in the terrorist incidents after the fall of Kabul. The latest arms and ammunition left behind by the foreign forces had fallen into the hands of terrorist outfits and criminal organizations, and even with the dacoits which posed a challenge to the government, he added. The foreign minister, to a question, further said that they expected the Afghan interim government to take actions against the terrorist organizations and honour their commitment made with the international community not to allow their soil for terrorist activities against any country under the Doha Agreement.
He said Pakistan’s stance was clear and it had demanded the Afghan interim set up to curb terrorism, as cooperation against the menace of terrorism was in the interest of both countries. Afghanistan had no standing army, anti-terrorists force or border management force which caused the capacity issues to face terrorism, he opined. “In the past, we had faced the threats and together will face them,” he added. Pakistan, he said, was ready to assist them as they had the capacity issues to deal with such threats.
The foreign minister, to another question, said that the Pakistan Peoples Party believed that decisions regarding the interim set-up and elections should be taken to strengthen the civilian institutions and the democratic system in the country. They believed that all issues confronted by the country could be addressed through a democratic dispensation which would ensure the political and economic stability, he said, adding the general polls should be held on time so that the people could exercise their right.
About reforms introduced in his ministry, the foreign minister said that different initiatives under the key four components were launched which would improve functioning of the ministry by making it more agile, nimble and efficient to face the new emerging challenges. He said a total of 51 initiatives were taken at different work streams among which 19 were completed, three were partially implemented while 29 were in on the track to completion.
The ceremony was also attended by Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khan, diplomats, officials, and Pakistan’s ambassadors abroad through video link. Later, the foreign minister also inaugurated solarization of the ministry.