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The Foreign Relations Committee of the National Assembly met in the Foreign Ministry today under the chairmanship of Mr. Asfandyar Wali Khan, MNA.

The Committee discussed the private members’ proposed Sovereignty of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill 2010, the multiple challenges confronting Pakistan including terrorism and the situation in Afghanistan.

In his opening remarks, Chairman Asfandyar Wali Khan underscored the importance of rising above the party lines to develop and support the pursuit of an independent foreign policy, which was in consonance with Pakistan’s national interests and the aspirations of our people.

Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi briefed the members of the Committee on Pakistan’s engagement with the world and underscored that the Foreign Ministry, in its interaction with international community – bilaterally or at the international fora, had always given the foremost priority to safeguarding and promoting Pakistan’s national interests; upholding Pakistan’s sovereignty and enhancing Pakistan’s standing in the comity of nations, in accordance with the aspirations of the proud people of Pakistan, who valued honour and dignity.

After detailed discussion, the Committee unanimously rejected the proposed Sovereignty of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill 2010. It underscored the need for greater consultations at the Parliament on the real issues facing the country and for adopting a consensual approach at the national level in addressing these effectively.
6. Members of the Committee expressed their appreciation for the efforts of the Foreign Ministry in managing and steering the course for Pakistan in an increasingly complex regional and global environment.

The Committee also discussed the staffing issues as well as upkeep of Pakistan’s Missions abroad and its offices in Pakistan, including provincial capitals and the importance of enhancing public service delivery capacity.

The Foreign Relations Committee expressed its full support for the provision of adequate resources to enable the Foreign Ministry to enhance its efficiency and effectiveness.

In this context, it applauded the decision taken by Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani to enable the Foreign Ministry to utilize the available resources also for enhancing public service facilities. The Committee noted that implementation of this decision would go a long way to improve public service and welfare work in terms of community service by the Foreign Ministry. The Foreign Relations Committee decided to take this matter up with the Government.

The Foreign Relations Committee also decided to hold special events to commemorate the Pakistan-China ‘Year of Friendship.’ In this context, the Committee will undertake visit to the People’s Republic of China as well as host a visit from China to celebrate the “Year of Friendship” between Pakistan and China.

The Committee also decided to undertake visits to friendly countries and emphasized the importance of Parliamentary exchanges in promoting friendship and joining efforts with the international community to promote global peace, progress and development.

20 January 2011

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