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FM Qureshi calls for shifting Pakistan’s foreign policy to changing global trends

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has emphasized the need for shifting Pakistan’s foreign policy to respond to changing global trends and sovereignty, territorial integrity, and development of the Country.   

While addressing the Passing Out Ceremony of 41st Diplomatic Course for Foreign Service Probationers at the Foreign Service Academy in Islamabad on Wednesday, the foreign minister said that we have re-oriented the thrust of our diplomatic efforts towards economic benefit and prosperity by putting forward a ‘Strategic Engagement Plan’ with the European Union and the ‘Strategic Economic Framework’ with Turkey.

The following are full remarks by the Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi at the Passing Out Ceremony of Foreign Service Probationers;

“DG (FSA), Special Secretary (FMO),

Respected Ambassadors,

Dear Probationers,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Assalam-o-Alaikum!

I am pleased to join you for the passing out ceremony of the 41st Specialized Diplomatic Course. I congratulate the graduating officers and their families. This is a proud moment indeed. Congratulations, also, are in order, for Director General Foreign Service Academy and his team for ably managing the course. Dear Probationers, Upon completion of your training, you are going to be joining the Ministry. We look forward to welcoming you. I am pleased to acknowledge and appreciate the good work done by you. You had a brief taste of the work related to the recent OIC CFM in Islamabad and did an admirable job which I praised in the Prime Minister’s presence.

As you embark upon potentially rewarding and fulfilling careers, I would like to share some thoughts with you.

Firstly, you must strive to serve Pakistan and its people to the best of your ability. This should be your primary focus throughout your careers. You must be responsive towards the community members. Consular services being provided by the Foreign Office here and abroad through our Missions are a critical function. The Government of Pakistan is committed to giving due esteem to overseas Pakistanis and serving them wholeheartedly.

Secondly, you should be willing to work hard and be eager to learn. Every small task be it in the administration side or at a political desk will teach you something. Educate yourselves, read, write, analyze. Do not restrict yourself to the files on your desk. Even if you are assigned a non political desk, keep yourself updated.

Thirdly, try to put your education and training to good use in the selfless service of the country. As I said earlier, no task is insignificant.

Fourthly, always keep your chin up and do not lose motivation. Be innovative and think outside the box amidst resource constraints. Be mindful of the opportunities and challenges presented by the digital age. Being tech savvy is no longer optimal.

And lastly, always be conscious of the importance of your work and responsibilities and the need to hone your skills as diplomats. You will be part of the first line of Pakistan’s defence. You will have to match wits with better resourced adversaries. You must rise to the challenge.

Dear Probationers,

A new world is upon us, through which we have to navigate with caution and foresight with multiple centers of power and constant realignment, diplomatic work has multiplied and become more difficult. The unipolar world has now become a rear-view vista. Multilateral mechanisms that were set up for mediation and conflict resolution are losing their efficacy. The Covid-19 pandemic has laid bare the shortcomings of the public health systems. It has upended the global economic systems and has also served as a catalyst for long-term geopolitical shifts. Traditional means of conducting international relations and foreign policy have been overtaken by the fast paced global perception industry Soft power has already replaced conventional warfare. The world has entered into the era of battles of narratives and information/disinformation warfare. We see a huge shift in the role of media, its impact on all spheres of life and modern technology is being used to influence opinions and push agendas. In the backdrop of these shifting trends, geopolitics is reorienting to accommodate new actors and emerging factors and considerations. Pakistan’s foreign policy must respond adequately to these shifting trends. Keeping our interests supreme, we must navigate through this external environment to ensure that Pakistan’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence are secured and Pakistan’s development agenda is advanced.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

For the first time in our Country’s history, we have re-oriented the thrust of our diplomatic efforts towards economic benefit and prosperity of the masses. Economic Diplomacy is not just a buzzword, but a blueprint to leverage our diplomatic assets in the service of our development agenda. We have put in place a “Strategic Engagement Plan” with the European Union and the “Strategic Economic Framework” with Turkey. To explore untapped markets and opportunities, we have launched the “Engage Africa” Initiative. Going forward, our pivot towards Economic Diplomacy will gather further momentum as new avenues are opened, and existing ones gain greater traction.

Dear Probationers

The future is unpredictable but we have the resilience and experience to deal with the challenges ahead. You all have been through an extensive specialized training course covering a variety of subjects.

We look forward to you all joining the Ministry and bringing with you a positive energy and dedication towards your chosen career path.

I wish you all the best.

Thank you!”

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