Pakistan’s Foreign Policy seeks to protect, promote and advance Pakistan’s national interests in the external domain.
The Foreign Ministry contributes towards safeguarding Pakistan’s security and advancing Pakistan’s development agenda for progress and prosperity following the guiding principles laid out by our founding fathers.
Guiding Principles of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy
Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the Founder of Pakistan and its first Governor General, in a broadcast talk to the people of the USA in February 1948, outlined the following goals of Pakistan’s foreign policy:
“Our foreign policy is one of friendliness and goodwill towards all the nations of the world. We do not cherish aggressive designs against any country or nation. We believe in the principle of honesty and fair play in national and international dealings and are prepared to make our utmost contribution to the promotion of peace and prosperity among the nations of the world. Pakistan will never be found lacking in extending its material and moral support to the oppressed and suppressed peoples of the world, and in upholding the principles of the United Nations Charter.”
The Constitution of Pakistan also lays down guidelines for the conduct of foreign policy of the country. Article 40 of the constitution provides that:
“The State shall endeavour to preserve and strengthen fraternal relations among Muslim countries based on Islamic unity, support the common interests of the peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America, promote international peace and security, foster goodwill and friendly relations among all nations and encourage the settlement of international disputes by peaceful means.”
The foreign policy of Pakistan is primarily directed to the pursuit of national goals of seeking peace and stability through international cooperation. Special emphasis is laid on economic diplomacy to take advantages offered by the process of globalization as also to face challenges of the 21st century. Our foreign policy is also geared to project the image of the country as a dynamic and moderate society.
The foreign policy of Pakistan seeks to promote the internationally recognized norms of interstate relations, i.e. respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all States, non-interference in the internal affairs of other State; non-aggression and peaceful settlement of disputes. Pakistan has therefore always sought to develop friendly and cordial relations with all countries of the world.
Foreign Policy Objectives
In light of the guiding principles laid down by the founding fathers and the constitution as also aspirations of the people of Pakistan, the objectives of foreign policy can be summarized as under:
· Promotion Pakistan as a dynamic, progressive, moderate, and democratic Islamic country.
· Developing friendly relations with all countries of the world, especially major powers and immediate neighbours.
· Safeguarding national security and geo-strategic interests, including Kashmir.
· Consolidating our commercial and economic cooperation with international community.
· Safeguarding the interests of Pakistani Diaspora abroad.
· Ensuring optimal utilization of national resources for regional and international cooperation.
A Year in Review
The year 2012-2013 witnessed continuing challenges for our immediate neighbourhood and beyond. The situation in Afghanistan remained unstable having a negative spill over on Pakistan’s domestic security environment. The broader Middle East region experienced major political transformations with the after shocks of the so-called Arab spring still being felt.
2. The country also continued to grapple with some wide ranging challenges including the continuing threats of terrorism and extremism. Nonetheless, we remained steadfast in our resolve and carried out an active foreign policy that sought engagement and cooperation with the international community in order to fulfill our aspirations for development, peace and security.
3. The major focus of our foreign policy was on promoting cooperation and improved relations with all our immediate neighbors. This “regional pivot” was based on a broad political consensus of all segments of the society. We took initiatives for the normalization of relations with India in all spheres. Although no progress could be recorded on the core issue of Kashmir, the two countries took measures to normalize their trade relations and liberalize the visa regime.
4. Our state policy demonstrated our sincere commitment to peace and stability in Afghanistan. We are facilitating an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led process of reconciliation as the date for the withdrawal of NATO forces approaches. Pakistan is also supporting various reconstruction and development projects in Afghanistan, and improving its bilateral relations in the political, economic and commercial domains.
5. We are seeking mutually beneficial relations with Iran manifested by the numerous agreements that have been signed between the two sides, the high point being the conclusion of the Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline deal. Our traditional goodwill and historic relations with Turkey are also being translated into a concrete political and economic partnership.
6. The past year saw further consolidation of our strategic partnership with China which touched a new height of friendliness and cooperation, epitomized by the exchange of numerous high level visits and conclusion of bilateral agreements.
7. In terms of global outreach, we took a proactive approach and reached out to all the major power centers. With the United States, our relations are being upgraded from transactional to collaborational. The US remains one of the most important development and investment partners of Pakistan. The irritants in the relationship were also managed in a prudent and practical manner.
8. With the European Union, the concerted efforts of the Government paid off in the form of “Autonomous Trade Preferences” by the EU, paving the way for an eventual GSP Plus status for Pakistan. The opportunities created by trade access to the European market will create numerous jobs and lift millions of Pakistanis out of poverty.
9. Pakistan’s relations with the Russian Federation have entered into a new phase of congeniality. We have managed to shed the baggage of the cold war and made progress in evolving a forward looking and mutually beneficial partnership. Our engagement with Japan, the Republic of Korea and ASEAN states as well as our traditional fraternal ties with countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council also retained their positive trajectory.
10. On the multilateral front, Pakistan continued to play an active and constructive role in the United Nations, including as a non-permanent member of the Security Council. Two high level events on counter-terrorism and peacekeeping were held during Pakistan’s presidency of the Security Council in January 2013.
11. Regarding strategic issues, Pakistan continued to act with restraint and responsibility and strengthened its export control architecture bringing it in line with the best international standards and practices. While seeking regional strategic stability and a level playing field in South Asia, we were supportive of all non-discriminatory measures for non-proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and their means of delivery.
12. In the modern world economic diplomacy is an integral part of the interstate relations. Pakistan’s location at the confluence of interlocking regions and civilizations of South Asia West Asia, Central Asia, Gulf Region and China, offers the closet proximity to word’s largest markets. Being at the intersection of East Asia and the Middle East naturally endow Pakistan with promising geo-economic possibilities as a transit corridor for energy pipelines, trade and tourist flows. Our diplomatic Missions are actively striving to translate these opportunities for the economic benefit of the country by promoting exports and by facilitating foreign investment.
13. Pakistan today is a confident, responsible and well integrated member of the international community. We do not harbor any aggressive or hegemonic design and aspire to live in peace and harmony with all nations of the world. Socio-economic development in a peaceful and secure neighbourhood remains our top most priority. The conduct of our foreign policy in the years to come will continue to be based on these ideals.