Kashmir issue is the cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy: PM
He made the remarks in his address to the country’s ambassadors during the conclusion of the three-day Envoys Conference held at the Foreign Office , where he highlighted the importance of sustainable peace and development in the region.
The premier termed support to the Kashmiri’s demand to self-determination in accordance with the resolutions of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) the “cornerstone” of the foreign policy of Pakistan.
He said the indigenous movement of Kashmiris for their freedom was rejuvenated with the sacrifices rendered by the young generation. He urged the envoys to highlight the human rights violations in Indian-held Kashmir.
“You have to convince the world that Kashmir is not the internal affair of India. The UN has regarded it as a disputed matter between Pakistan and India,” he told the ambassadors.
“We cannot afford clash [with other countries], lest our ongoing economic and social progress will come to a halt,” he said. However, he warned that the country’s efforts for maintaining peace on the basis of mutual respect and balance should not be considered as its weakness.
“We believe in respect for each other’s solidarity, independence and non-interference,” he said, adding that Pakistan was in favour of global peace. He reminded that Pakistan was far more peaceful, prosperous and stable as compared to 2013.
He expressed satisfaction and desired that the case of Pakistan could be presented before the world as a country with strong economic prospects and safe investment-friendly environment, as a nation which is devoid of coherence could get isolated at regional and international level.
Nawaz Sharif said that Pakistan was confronting challenges at several fronts particularly terrorism and extremism. “Besides safeguarding our values, we also have to keep in view of benefitting from international trends,” he said.
He mentioned that National Action Plan and Operation Zarb-e-Azb had contributed to maintain peace in the country and lauded the sacrifices of Army and law enforcement agencies.
“Terrorism has almost been eliminated from the country’s soil while a comprehensive policy is being devised to end extremism,” he added.
The Prime Minister said relations with China had gained more importance with the launch of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which would also benefit Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia, and would result in economic prosperity in the region.
He said Pakistan would continue to make efforts for stability and peace in Afghanistan. “The world must know that Pakistan will never allow its soil to be used by terrorists against any other country,” he said.
The Prime Minister asked the ambassadors to use their offices in promoting Pakistan’s positive image abroad.
“Introducing the green passport as a symbol of respect and honour will be your real success,” he said and expressed the confidence that they would consider their responsibilities as a sacred mission.
The envoys, who attended the conference, included Jalil Abbas Jilani (Washington), Masood Khalid (Beijing), Abdul Basit (New Delhi), Dr Maleeha Lodhi (United Nations, New York), Ayesha Riyaz (Vienna), Naghmana Hashmi (Brussels/European Union), Abrar Hussain (Afghanistan), Tehmina Janjua (UN/Geneva) and Qazi Khalilullah (Moscow).
Defence Minister Khwaja Asif, Prime Minister’s Advisor’s on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Special Assistant Tariq Fatemi senior officials of the Foreign Ministry also attended the moot.