Islamabad, Feb 2 (PTI) Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has rejected the Opposition's criticism of 'diplomatic isolation' and called for forging bipartisan consensus on foreign policy issues, according to a media report on Tuesday.
Winding up a debate in the Senate on the foreign policy, Qureshi on Monday invited Opposition lawmakers for a briefing on external affairs and developing consensus on different issues related to it, Dawn reported.
'The foreign policy is linked to the state's interests,' he said while cautioning against developing rival views on relations with the external world.
Qureshi rejected the Opposition's criticism of the country facing diplomatic isolation and said that it 'had not happened despite India’s desires and efforts,' the paper said.
He pointed to success at the UN Human Rights Council, to which Pakistan was re-elected in last October; UN Economic and Social Council, where Pakistan is currently holding the presidency; and the seven per cent growth in trade with Africa last year.
He, however, said that the government was aware of the 'challenges, pitfalls, and spoilers' and had a plan for moving forward.
Qureshi said that the challenges in the foreign policy domain were not new and some were longstanding and preceded the current government.
The foreign minister said that there were important convergences with the new Biden administration in Washington on various aspects of the Afghan conflict, especially with regard to withdrawal of troops and reduction in violence.
He said that he had written a letter to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, even before he spoke to him last week, in which he had emphasised the convergences. In the region, he said, the government desired friendly ties with all its neighbours.
He contended that Pakistan's relations with Afghanistan had improved and Kabul had, along with the international community, started acknowledging Islamabad’s support for peace process.
About India, Qureshi said, the government desired normal relations with it, but that couldn’t move forward because of lack of reciprocation from the other side, the paper said.
The evergreen ties with China, he said, were further deepening. PTI SH ZH ZH