A Functional Foreign Office

Sep 12, 2017
Not the most mild-mannered or most-liked politician; Khawaja Asif has certainly been among the controversies during the current Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) term. However during his current stint as Foreign Minister he has been a busy man. Thrown into the deep end with the US deciding to wade back into Afghanistan and the recent, and damaging BRICS summit declaration, Khwaja Asif has had to work hard for his portfolio – so far, it seems, he has given a decent account for himself.
In times, when the Trump administration’s hostility towards Pakistan is visible in the announced strategy for the region, Khawaja Asif’s approach to finding regional partners and relying on diplomacy has been the wisest one. Only last Thursday, following the conclusion of three-day envoys conference, the Foreign Minister in a press conference commented on Pakistan’s foreign policy, stressing that we have find consensus in the region.
Quick and balanced responses from the foreign office to the BRICS declaration are also reflective of a Foreign Ministry that has a direction. On Monday, the new Foreign Minister visited Tehran to meet Iranian President and his counterpart. Earlier this month, he visited China to discuss the recently announced US policy. Some common elements of all these visits were to strengthen Pakistan’s relations with its neighbouring and other regional countries to find a solution for the Afghan problem.
With efficiency recently observed in the performance of the Foreign Office, one wonders why Nawaz Sharif insisted on keeping the portfolio of Foreign Minister to himself. Despite being urged countless times by advisors and commentators to divest it, the former Prime Minister kept this hefty responsibility with himself – ultimately not giving it the attention and diligence it deserved.
Perhaps it is not wrong to assume that if we had a full time Foreign Minister from the start of the term the isolation that Pakistan is facing on the international front – apart from China – could have been mitigated, if not averted.
Nation, September 12, 2017

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