Foreign policy will be based on “Pakistan-first”: Qureshi

 
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Islamabad, Aug. 20 (TNS): Foreign minister Mahmood Qureshi, in his maiden press conference claimed that Pakistan’s new foreign policy would be based on “Pakistan-first.”

“Our foreign policy will begin and end at Pakistan”, Qureshi said while speaking at the Foreign Office (FO) in Islamabad hours after being sworn in as part of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s 21-member cabinet on Monday.

“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.

“Some forces have been trying to run Pakistan into isolation and marginalisation. And why wouldn’t they do it? Your country didn’t have a foreign minister ─ who is meant to be your chief diplomat. This gives your opponents open playing fields,” he said.

Responding to a question about the alleged interference of the establishment in the July 25 General Election and his political party’s freedom to exercise its own policy, Qureshi said: “There are pre-conceived notions about where the foreign policy of Pakistan was formulated. Let me be clear: the foreign policy will be made here ─ at the Foreign Office of Pakistan.”

“I will engage with all the institutions for the betterment of the country,” he said, adding: “It is the policy across the world. Feedback is sought from national security institutions.”

Qureshi, emphasising the importance of fostering better relations with neighbouring countries, said: “I will try to bridge the trust deficit between Pakistan and other regional countries.”