The newly appointed foreign minister of Pakistan and Vice Chairman Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Shah Mahmood Qureshi, in his first press conference formally gave an outline of foreign policy, which the PTI government is going to pursue during its tenure to deal with other nations. Speaking at the Foreign Office hours after being sworn in as part of 21-member cabinet on Monday, Qureshi on the occasion told news men that the new foreign policy would “begin and end at Pakistan”. Emphasizing the importance of fostering better relations with neighbouring countries, the foreign minister said that he would try to bridge the trust deficit between Pakistan and other regional countries. “Pakistan’s interest is at our very centre of foreign policy. Wherever we need to fix our foreign policy we will fix it”, Qureshi said adding that he would engage with all the institutions for the betterment of the country.
Qureshi hinted at strengthening bilateral relationship with neighbouring countries including Afghanistan and India. Regarding Afghanistan he said that since both the countries share a future and geography, should work together to become each other’s support base. Referring to India, Qureshi said that there was a dire need of an unhindered and uninterrupted dialogue with India. He reminded the Indian foreign minister that both the nations are atomic powers and coming to the negotiating table and talking peace was the only option to move forward. On Kashmir he said, ” Yes we have outstanding issues. Kashmir is a reality; it is an issue that both our nations acknowledge.”
So far as strengthening bilateral relationship with India and reviving the stalled dialogue process is concerned there is no doubt that both the nations will have to move forward with a positive state of mind while accepting the ground realities. And the reality is that both the nations are nuclear powers and there is no space for any kind of war in future. Both the countries have fought three wars over Kashmir but ultimately both the nations had to get back to the negotiating table. So the only way forward is to come out of the reckless hostilities and start a meaningful, result-oriented and sustainable dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues including the core of issue of Kashmir that has been bedeviling the relationship between the two countries as they can no longer afford to live in a state of perpetual hostility. Pakistan has been pressing for the unconditional resumption of the composite dialogue to seek settlement of K-dispute since a long but India’s intransigence has always been a stumbling block in the way of resolving the lingering dispute that poses a threat to regional peace. One hopes that the Indian leadership will adopt a pragmatic approach and reciprocate positively to Islamabad’s peace overtures and start afresh chapter of bilateral relations to ensure peace, prosperity and stability in South Asia.