‘Pakistan has become isolated and needs to change its foreign policy’

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ISLAMABAD: During a semi­nar on Tuesday, senior journalist Zahid Hussein said Pakistan is lagging behind economically and has become isolated which is why there is a need for re-examining the country’s foreign policy. How­ever, Special Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi disagreed with Mr Hus­sein’s observation and said the current foreign policy is relevant to the needs at the time.

Speaking at a seminar titled “Is Pakistan Isolated? Regional Chal­lenges and Opportunities’, which was hosted by the Institute for Pol­icy Reforms (IPR), Mr Hussein said Pakistan has to change its course and gave the examples of India and China, saying the two countries have progressed and that they have focused on their economies.

“The current government has made policies for economic de­velopment, but they are yet to be implemented because Pakistan’s foreign policy is driven by na­tional security. The China Paki­stan Economic Corridor could be a game changer,” he said.

PM’s adviser disagrees,says foreign policy drafted according to needs of the country

The journalist said Pakistan’s economic growth rate has been 3pc for the last 10 years and com­pared this with that of India the economy of which has been grow­ing by 8pc, while China’s econom­ic growth rate has been 7pc over the same time.

“Pakistan has been left far be­hind, even by Sri Lanka and Ban­gladesh,” he said.

To this, Mr Fatemi said no foreign policy can be called a com­plete success or failure.

“The PML-N’s manifesto said that the foreign policy will focus on the economy. We have tried to have good relations with Afghani­stan because we believe there will be no peace in Pakistan until there is peace in Afghanistan,” he said.

He added that a project of building a motorway from Pesha­war to Central Asia is underway and that another motorway will be established between Peshawar and Chabahar. He said relations with Iran are also being focused on as the Pak-Iran gas pipeline project is also important.

He said Pakistan wants good relations with India and that the PML-N led government wanted to resume relations from how they were in 1999. However, he said, the sentiment has to be reciprocal for this to work.

“We have good relations with Arab countries and 100,000 Paki­stanis will be sent to Qatar for em­ployment. As far as the Nuclear Supplier Group is concerned, Paki­stan has been working on this for months and though the application was given at the last moment, 11 countries supported Pakistan. 

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