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National security top priority, no comprise on it: PM

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that national security is the top priority of the government and there will be no compromise on it and Pakistan remains committed to peace and stability in the regional.

He said this while chairing a high-level meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday where the regional security situation and Pakistan’s diplomatic strategy were brought under discussion. During the meeting, attended by Foreign Affairs adviser Sartaj Aziz and senior Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials, Prime Minister Sharif gave policy guidelines on aligning the country’s foreign policy with new demands and reaffirmed Pakistan’s stance on maintaining peaceful relations with its neighbours. In his welcome remarks, the Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, recounted the important achievements made in the Foreign Policy realm under the Prime Minister’s stewardship. The Prime Minister expressed satisfaction over the status of strategic partnership with China and the launch of CPEC, reviving the strategic dialogue with the US, strong relations with Russia, major improvement in relations with Central Asia culminating in Pakistan’s membership of SCO.

The Prime Minister stated that these achievements were facilitated by significant gains made in fighting terrorism and in achieving economic turnaround. The Foreign Secretary, Ms. Tehmina Janjua, in her presentation dwelled on the challenges Pakistan was facing in key areas including Afghanistan, India and the US. She also briefed the Prime Minister on the recent developments in the Middle East. Nawaz Sharif underscored the importance of securing peace and stability in the region through sustained dialogue and the high importance that Pakistan attached to its continued partnership with the United States. In this context, he directed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to prepare initiatives on Afghanistan and also on building economic and trade linkages to promote Pakistan’s development.

The Prime Minister directed the Foreign Ministry to proactively highlight the serious human right violations being committed in the Indian occupied Kashmir and the denial of the right of self-determination to Kashmiris. In this regard, he expressed his disappointment over the complete silence in the US-India joint statement on the atrocities being committed by the Indian Security Forces against innocent Kashmiris. Prime Minister also reiterated his priority for a peaceful neighbourhood and resolution of disputes through dialogue. Prime Minister appreciated China’s role for improving Pak-Afghan relations. He also recalled his recent meeting with President Ashraf Ghani on the sidelines of SCO Summit and their agreement to evolve a bilateral and quadrilateral mechanism for controlling cross-border terrorism. The Prime Minister emphasized the importance of highlighting the unmatched contributions and sacrifices made by Pakistan in fighting terrorism and of projecting Pakistan’s soft image.

He particularly stressed that Pakistan should progressively end its reliance on foreign assistance and funding by developing and generating its own resources. Trade, Investment and scientific collaboration, the Prime Minister noted, should be the strategic pillars of Pakistan’s foreign Policy. Emphasizing the importance of providing efficient and economical consular services to the overseas Pakistanis, the Prime Minister directed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ensure that their services are duly provided in a befitting manner. Also taking note of the virtual suspension of medical visas, especially for those needing urgent transplants, the Prime Minister directed that urgent steps be taken to provide such medical facilities across Pakistan at reasonable prices.

In this regard, he also directed that a volunteer roster of medical professionals from amongst overseas Pakistani doctors be developed to complement the existing human resource in Pakistan.

He also directed for acceleration in diplomatic efforts in view of recent Indian aggression and violations along the Line of Control.

INP

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