IS­LAM­ABAD

Pak-in­dia an­i­mos­ity hold­ing SAARC re­gion hostage

The Pak Banker - - FRONT PAGE -

For­eign Min­is­ter Hina Rab­bani Khar Thurs­day said that the demo­cratic government pur­sued a proac­tive for­eign pol­icy fo­cus­ing on re­gion and tak­ing de­ci­sions purely in the light of na­tional in­ter­ests.

Ad­dress­ing a news con­fer­ence in Is­lam­abad this af­ter­noon she gave an over­view of the chal­lenges con­fronted in the do­main of for­eign pol­icy dur­ing the last five years and how they were dealt with and con­verted into ma­jor op­por­tu­ni­ties.

The min­is­ter said the for­eign pol­icy was driven by con­fi­dence rather than fear and the Par­lia­ment pro­vided guide­lines for in­ten­sive en­gage­ment with the world.

She said the pri­or­ity of the for­eign pol­icy has been to pro- vide peace­ful and sta­ble re­gional en­vi­ron­ment so that peo­ple could con­cen­trate not on bor­ders, dis­putes and an­i­mos­ity but on in­ter­nal growth and sta­bil­ity. In the re­gional con­text, the For­eign Min­is­ter said, “China has been our strate­gic ally and the present government fo­cused on trans­fer­ring po­lit­i­cally strong re­la­tions into eco­nom­i­cally strong ties.

She par­tic­u­larly re­ferred to his­toric Gwadar Port agree­ment, Chi­nese in­vest­ment in en­ergy and in­fra­struc­ture projects and Pres­i­dent Asif Ali Zar­dari’s nine vis­its to China. About In­dia, she said, the lead­er­ship de­cided to start in­vest­ing in friend­ship and trust build­ing in­stead of tra­di­tional hos­til­ity and an­i­mos­ity that the two coun­tries wit­nessed in the past.

She said many steps in­clud- ing im­prove­ment of trade re­la­tions were taken to build trust with In­dia. Re­ply­ing to a ques­tion the For­eign Min­is­ter ac­knowl­edged that there were dis­ap­point­ments vis-a-vis re­la­tions with In­dia in­clud­ing un­for­tu­nate and hos­tile state­ments that em­anated from that coun­try on cross-LoC in­ci­dents.

She said, “Pak­istan wants res­o­lu­tion of Kash­mir dis­pute but pointed out that there was not re­quired level of trust at the moment for res­o­lu­tion of the is­sue through di­a­logue.” She said Pak­istan is will­ing to work on Sir Creek and then Prime Min­is­ters Sha­heed Be­nazir Bhutto and Ra­jiv Gandhi were close to agree­ment on Si­achin but the progress was later marred. The For­eign Min­is­ter said the demo­cratic government demon­strated its com­mit­ment to have re­la­tions with Afghanistan on the ba­sis of sov­er­eign equal­ity.

“We as­pire for no role in Afghanistan than to fa­cil­i­tate Afghan peo­ple on the course cho­sen by them for peace and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion,” she added. To a ques­tion she said on the de­sire of Pak­istan, Afghanistan was con­veyed in black and white that it wanted co­op­er­a­tion of Pak­istan in di­rect talks with Tal­iban, hold­ing of Ulema con­fer­ence, safe pas­sage for Tal­iban that wish to travel for peace­ful pur­pose and re­lease of all Tal­iban pris­on­ers.

She said Pak­istan ac­cepted all the de­mands and started re­spond­ing pos­i­tively im­me­di­ately. She said re­la­tions with Iran are ex­tremely im­por­tant for Pak­istan and the re­cent launch of IP will be a har­bin­ger of good news for peace and co­op­er­a­tion.

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