FM Qureshi says Pakistan played important role for peace in Afghanistan

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Monday that Pakistan proactively and consistently advanced its diplomatic objectives on a range of diplomatic fronts, both bilaterally and multilaterally during the last year.

He was presenting Year End Review of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at a press conference in Islamabad on Monday.

The minister said we have consolidated friendships and further strengthened bilateral relations with major powers and key partners across the regions.

He said we successfully and effectively put forward our perspective and narrative on major foreign policy issues including Jammu and Kashmir dispute and the situation in Afghanistan.

Terming the year 2021 significant, Qureshi said several important developments and initiatives including Pakistan s role for peace in Afghanistan, shift from geopolitics to geo-economics, Vision Central Asia, Engage Africa, public diplomacy and digital diplomacy have helped advance Pakistan’s foreign policy priorities.

The minister said during the last year, we had eighty-five bilateral exchanges with over fifty countries. There were 35 senior leadership visits to Pakistan, 32 senior leadership visits by Pakistan, over 50 high level multilateral engagements, 25 public diplomacy engagements at Foreign Minister level and 20 economic diplomacy engagements. He said five Pakistan sponsored or cosponsored resolutions were adopted by the United Nations. He said seventy years celebrations were held with six countries.

Qureshi said Pakistan played an important facilitating role for peace in Afghanistan and then for evacuation of foreigners from Kabul. Reiterating commitment for such a role in future, he said Pakistan has pledged five billion rupees humanitarian assistance for the Afghan people.

He said the OIC countries also agreed on provision of humanitarian assistance to the Afghans in the recently held OIC Council of Foreign Ministers conference in Islamabad.

The Minister economic diplomacy has led to improvement by 39 points in Pakistan s ranking in Ease of Doing Business, 7 percent increase in trade with Africa and improvement by 59 points in Pakistan s Business Confidence Ranking. He said 2.9 billion dollars were deposited in Roshan Digital Accounts, 2 billion dollars invested in Naya Pakistan certificates, 24.1 percent increase was witnessed in home remittances; and 2 billion dollars increase was recorded in the export of information technology.

Regarding digital diplomacy, he said all 114 Missions have been brought online on social media platforms like twitter, Facebook and Instagram enabling greater transparency and access.

The Foreign Minister said within our region, under SAARC COVID-19 Emergency Fund, Pakistan extended anti-pandemic medical equipment and other assistance to SAARC Member States including Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Maldives.

He said SAARC Secretary-General visited Pakistan last week and Pakistan reaffirmed its willingness to host the 19th SAARC Summit.

The Foreign Minister regretted that the prospects of durable peace and stability in our region, and the great potential for economic development and regional cooperation have been held hostage by the hegemonic and hostile behavior of India.