Prime Minister Muhammed Nawaz Sharif on Friday said that to realise foreign policy objectives, Pakistan had taken important initiatives to resume dialogue with India, apart from improving relations with Afghanistan, strengthening strategic partnership with China and re-building ties with the U.S.

Speaking at the inauguration of a new Foreign Ministry office building named the Sahabzada Yaqub Khan block, he said Pakistan wanted to live peacefully and maintain friendly relations with its neighbours and with the world at large. He said the country’s foreign policy is based on four key priorities to build a peaceful and prosperous neighbourhood, reach out to regional and international partners, focus on “trade, not aid” and lastly develop a consensus-based approach to counter terrorism.

Role of diplomats

Mr. Sharif said: “Our message to the world is of peace and friendship. We seek cooperation based on mutual interest. Our effort is to transform the existing friendly ties into mutually beneficial partnerships.” He said that for any state, diplomacy was the first line of defence and diplomats, therefore, played an indispensable role in any nation’s efforts to promote peace, and foster regional and international cooperation. Conventional diplomacy had now acquired new dimensions.

Quoting the Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah who said “Our object should be peace within and peace without,” Mr. Sharif said that it still remains the defining element of Pakistan’s foreign policy. One of the most distinguishing features of present times is the peaceful democratic transition in Pakistan. However, the government was conscious of the formidable issues — the menace of extremism and terrorism and a challenging economic situation. He said the government’s priorities in the domestic arena include fighting terrorism, reviving the economy, resolving the energy crisis, and improving governance.

“We live in a globalised world where no one can afford isolation at any level,” he said, adding that the aura of elitism was no longer relevant and the foreign service should align with public service.