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 countrys foreign policy. However, Special Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi disagreed with Mr Husseins 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 Pakistans foreign policy is driven by national security. The China Pakistan Economic Corridor could be a game changer, he said.
PMs adviser disagrees,says foreign policy drafted according to needs of the country
The journalist said Pakistans 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 Chinas 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-Ns 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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