Sartaj Aziz urges foreign envoys to pursue proactive diplomacy

Sartaj Aziz opens three-day moot at Foreign Office. PHOTO: REUTERS

Sartaj Aziz opens three-day moot at Foreign Office. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Monday urged Pakistan’s envoys posted in key world capitals to pursue proactive diplomacy in order to project and protect the country’s interests, as he opened a three-day envoys conference.

The conference is being attended by nine Ambassadors who are posted in Washington, New Delhi, Brussels, Moscow, Beijing, Vienna, United Nations, Kabul, and Geneva to discuss key foreign policy challenges facing the country.

The envoys moot, which Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is expected to address on Wednesday, has assumed greater significance in the wake of on-going unrest in Indian-controlled Kashmir. The ambassadors during the three-day deliberations at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs will give their respective views on how to aggressively pursue this issue at the international level, officials said.

At least 55 people have been killed and thousands of others have been wounded in the disputed Himalayan valley since prominent Kashmiri leader Burhan Wani was killed in a police encounter on July 8. Pakistan has strongly denounced the violence.

Relations with neighbouring Afghanistan and the future of the stalled reconciliation process is also expected to be discussed in detail during the moot, officials said.

Similarly, the senior diplomats will look into the current strain in ties with the United States. At the same time, efforts by ‘hostile foreign agencies’ to undermine the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will also come under discussion.

The Foreign Office in a statement said the Envoys’ Conference is a regular feature in which Pakistan’s representatives in various regions brief the government on important developments in their respective areas and challenges and opportunities arising out of such developments.

It said the envoys would also present their recommendations towards existing foreign policy with a view to review, adapt and recalibrate policy in accordance with the prevalent strategic, political and economic trends.

The envoys who are taking part in the conference are Ambassador Jalil Abbas Jilani (Washington DC), Ambassador Masood Khalid (Beijing), High Commissioner Abdul Basit (New Delhi), Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi (UN, New York), Ambassador Ayesha Riyaz (Vienna), Ambassador Naghmana Hashmi (EU, Brussels), Ambassador Abrar Hussain (Afghanistan), Ambassador Tehmina Janjua (UN, Geneva) and Ambassador Qazi M Khalilullah (Moscow).

Last year’s envoys’ conference had focused on connectivity, and regional issues and developments.

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