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Pakistan excels as ‘anchor of peace’ at foreign policy front in 2020 - Inside Financial Markets

Pakistan excels as ‘anchor of peace’ at foreign policy front in 2020

– Associated Press of Pakistan

Pakistan in year 2020 has excelled remarkably in its foreign policy domain, with a recognition gained as an ‘anchor of peace and stability’ among the comity of nations.

With an agenda of regional peace, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has to its credit several accomplishments during the year including facilitating the US-Taliban Peace Agreement in February 2020, Intra Afghan Negotiations in September and agreement on rules and procedures between Afghan parties in Doha, Dec 2020.

The maiden visit by the Prime Minister to Afghanistan also laid down the foundation of a ‘shared vision’ for a comprehensive bilateral partnership.

Under the Engage Africa policy, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi set the agenda of greater economic diplomacy footprint. The first-ever Pakistan-Africa Trade Development Conference in Nairobi was held Aimed at forging closer public-private ties for greater economic diplomacy impact.

Pakistan’s another accomplishment is unanimously adoption of its sponsored resolution by United Nations General Assembly on self-determination, reaffirming the right to self-determination for peoples subjected to colonial, foreign and alien occupation.

The UNGA adopted Pakistan co-sponsored resolution calling for respecting sacred religious symbols and promoting inter-religious and intercultural dialogue.

The world also recognized Pakistan as a peaceful country as the United Nations, United Kingdom, Canada, Japan and France all positively revised their travel advisories.

Pakistan effectively exposed India’s state-sponsored terrorism and disinformation agenda. Also, it was ensured that Kashmir dispute was highlighted at every regional, multilateral and bilateral forum and engagement.

To countering Islamophobia, Pakistan tabled proposal for an International day for Islamophobia on March 15.

Prime Minister Imran Khan in his address to UNGA session in November equivocally stood for the inalienable right to self-determination for the people of Kashmir and Palestine and principled refusal to recognize Israel.

Pakistan unanimously elected President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the third principal organ of the UN, along with the General Assembly and Security Council.

Pakistan re-elected to United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) securing the highest number of votes among the five candidates from the Asia-Pacific region

As a manifestation of Pakistan’s commitment to the OIC and commitment to brokering peaceful dialogue, Pakistan was selected as host for 48th Session of the CFM in 2021.

Foreign Minister Qureshi launched ‘FM Connect’ to interact with global thoughts leaders and stakeholders across the globe for greater outreach and influence.

Pakistan has turned out to be a key destination for foreign dignitaries, despite COVID19 including President of Turkey, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia & Herzegovina, Secretary General of the UN, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation of Afghanistan, Speaker of Afghanistan’s Wolesi Jirga, Chinese State Councilor & Minister of Defence, President of Inter Parliamentary Union and Foreign Minister of Iran.

Foreign Minister Qureshi maintained a robust digital and traditional diplomacy agenda by visiting countries including Saudi Arabia, Iran, U.S., Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Niger and Moscow.

Furthermore, the President of Pakistan and the Foreign Minister were among the first foreign dignitaries to visit China on improvement of COVID situation in a show of support.

The Prime Minister’s visits to Malaysia and Qatar also helped strengthening of fraternal ties.

Pakistan has moved into a new era of public and digital diplomacy under VISION FO and by joining the pioneering Digital Cooperation Organisation for multilateral digital diplomacy, as a founder member.

Pakistan established bilateral Public Diplomacy Exchange with like-minded countries. The first such relationship was initiated by Pakistan with Turkey.

A dedicated Public Diplomacy Consultative Group of former ambassadors and industry stalwarts was established for focused attention on public policy.

A mobile phone application was developed connecting the Foreign Minister with all officers of the Foreign Office headquarters and across 117 missions for instant communication, breaking fresh ground in transparent and efficient communication during COVID-19.

Putting humanity at first, Pakistan’s missions across the globe played a groundbreaking role in the largest repatriation operation in the history of the country, bringing home over 220,000 stranded Pakistani’s across 70 countries as a result of COVID-19.

Additionally, the missions housed, fed and looked after stranded Pakistanis while securing them a safe passage home.

The Foreign Office established a dedicated 24/7 Crisis Management Unit specifically for the purpose of repatriating stranded Pakistanis.

Pakistan spearheaded an initiative for global debt relief for developing economies in COVID-hit nations, resulting in relief from the IMF, G-20 and World Bank.

Pakistan has offered to share COVID-19 best practices at every multilateral forum, may it SCO, SAARC or OIC.

Pakistan undertook a series of humanitarian missions across the world for COVID-19 and beyond.

To this end, Pakistan sent medical aid to the U.S and Syria, relief to Niger for flood affectees and to Lebanon for victims of the blast.

The ‘Foreign Minister’s Honours List’ was made celebrating those diaspora community members who brought positive and progressive impact to the countries in which they live and work.

Pakistan’s UN peacekeepers continued to serve as bastions of humanity across the globe Pakistan, in collaboration with the UNHCR which organised an International Conference to mark ’40 Years of Afghan Refugees’ Presence in Pakistan.

Pakistan is currently engaged in dialogue with multiple sources for the timely procurement of the most effective and affordable COVID-19 vaccine.

Owing to Pakistan’s efforts for the rights of Kashmiris, the UN Security Council discussed the Jammu and Kashmir dispute three times since August 5, 2019 after a gap of 55 years.

On Pakistan’s call three meetings of the OIC Contact group on J&K were held since Aug 2019.

The Niamey Declaration explicitly reiterated OIC’s principled stance on J&K dispute. Also, a unanimous global condemnation was made on the human rights violations in IIOJK by human rights groups and world leaders.

A 12-member cross parliamentary delegation from the UK visited Pakistan and Azad Jammu Kashmir.

The Foreign Affairs committee of US Congress expressed concern over IIOJK in a letter to the Indian FM, whereas the Portuguese Parliament tabled a resolution on humanitarian crisis in IIOJK.

The diplomatic achievements by the government has put Pakistan on a stronger pedestal in the world, presently confronting several global and regional challenges.

Syed Zaki Hussain

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