Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has expressed the resolve for reorientation of foreign policy with the sole objective of “Pakistan first.”It reflects the end of docile foreign policy pursued by PML-N government with a subservient role viz-a-viz the United States and playing a second fiddle role versus India, rather corroborating the Indian narrative against Pakistan by none else but former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
The foreign minister in his first maiden press conference asserted that Pakistan’s new foreign policy would “begin and end at Pakistan.” “Pakistan’s interest is at the very centre of foreign policy. Where we need to fix the foreign policy that will be fixed,” said Shah Mahmood Quereshi.
The deliberate diplomatic inertia of the last PML-N government made the international community believe the Indian and US narratives against Pakistan. It was further buttressed by the statement of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif about 29/11 Mumbai terrorist attacks, which were in fact a false- flag operation orchestrated by India itself as revealed from the proceedings of Judicial probe about the mysterious killing of a senior Indian Police officer Hemant Karkare in those attacks. He wanted to push Pakistan into international isolation. That is why foreign minister has to say, “Some forces have been trying to push Pakistan into isolation. And why wouldn’t they do it? Your country didn’t have a foreign minister for four years. “This gives your opponents an open field.”He made it clear that foreign policy will be made in the foreign office for which valuable input will be sought from all institutions including the security institution.
The new foreign policy will envisage fostering relations with neighbouring countries. Resumption of composite dialogue with India to resolve all outstanding issues between the two countries including the core issue of Kashmir will be a priority. Ending the Afghan conflict through a political settlement among all the stakeholders will be earnestly pursued. The foreign minister intends to contact his afghan counterpart and visit Kabul. The Principle Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Alice Wells had urged Pakistan to persuade Taliban to come to the negotiation table with Afghan government. In response Pakistan’s foreign office said that bringing the Taliban to the table is shared responsibility but it is ready to play its part in this regard.
The foreign Minister had had frequent interactions with the US master diplomats like Richard Holbrooke, Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton. By virtue of his rich experience in diplomacy and international relations, Shah Mahmood Qureshi is well placed to give a paradigm shift to Pakistan’s foreign policy keeping in view the realignment of forces in the region. He has the capability to salvage Pak-US revelations from further deterioration and bringing it back to the normal.
The foreign Minister has rightly directed the diplomats posted in Embassies and Consulates abroad to assist Pakistanis living their in resolving their problems. They should change their attitude and render selfless services to Pakistani Diaspora. He made it clear to them that they are not rulers. “A good nature and courtesy never make one lose and you gain friendship in return. Treat overseas Pakistanis with respect and get love and veneration in return. This duty that all Pakistani Ambassadors must perform,” the foreign minister emphasised. Formulation of foreign policy compatible with the national interest was inevitable and the new government is fully committed to do that.