Islamabad: Honourable Foreign Minister,
Senator Mian Raza Rabbani,
Chairman, National Security Committee of the Parliament
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like, first of all, to express my appreciation to the Foreign Minister for this timely and important initiative to convene the Envoys Conference.
I would also like to commend the Foreign Office for its continued efforts in ensuring that our diplomacy has the resilience and efficacy to overcome all challenges posed by a complex global and regional environment.
I have every confidence in the ability and professional expertise of our Ambassadors and diplomats to safeguard Pakistan’s interests in the international arena. More than ever before, their skills are warranted in navigating through troubled times.
I wish to assure you that you have the full support of the Government and the people of Pakistan in your endeavours to uphold national dignity and honour and in promoting Pakistan’s national interests.
Pakistan’s foreign policy is based on immutable principles. The Charter of the United Nations, norms of inter-state conduct and international law provide the framework for our endeavours to ensure peace and security – both in our own region and the world.
It has been our consistent effort to reach out to our immediate and far neighbours and, in fact, all members of the international community to develop the best of relations. Sovereign equality, mutual respect and mutually beneficial cooperation have been the hallmarks of this approach.
We believe that stability and peace at home and in our region is critical for enabling our people to realize their aspirations for progress and socio and economic development. With this in view, we have taken several initiatives.
Pakistan has always lived by the high principles of civility and humanity. Our hosting of millions of Afghan refugees for over three decades and our enormous sacrifices in the war against terror amply illustrate our commitment to the noble values that are intrinsic to our belief and national ethos.
National unity is our strength. The Parliament represents the will of our people. It is also the custodian of Pakistan’s supreme interests.
We have made unremitting efforts to forge national consensus on all matters of importance to Pakistan. No policy can succeed if it does not have the support of the people. The strength of our democracy is reflected in the processes of the Parliament and its Committees.
It has also been my Government’s endeavour to enable all State Institutions to fulfil their responsibilities in their respective domains and to provide requisite inputs in policy formulation to the Government.
There is no doubt that our region is passing through a difficult phase. The satisfactory resolution of the issues relating to Afghanistan poses daunting challenges not only to the region but to the international community as a whole.
At this particular point in time, it is imperative that all efforts should be directed to promoting durable stability and peace in Afghanistan. All principal stakeholders must be on the same page. We have continued to seek clarity and advocated the need for coherence, coordination and cooperation.
However, I must say that the aerial attacks on our Army border posts on 26 November 2011 constituted a huge set-back to the prospects of much-needed cooperation between all important stakeholders.
Our cooperation with US/NATO/ISAF was based on respect for Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Under no circumstances, could we accept flagrant transgression of our territorial frontiers. This remains our base line and there can be no compromise on sovereignty, dignity and national honour.
We expect the US/NATO/ISAF inquiry that is being undertaken to come out clearly with the facts and provide answers to the disturbing questions that our own investigations have raised.
Given the seriousness of the issue, the Government has already taken several important decisions. The NATO/ISAF logistic supply lines have been closed. Shamsi Airbase has been vacated. Pakistan did not participate in the Bonn Conference. A broad-ranging review of our cooperation with US/NATO/ISAF was ordered.
The National Security Committee of the Parliament has been mandated to undertake a detailed study of the 26/11 attacks and to make recommendations on the terms of our cooperation with US/NATO/ISAF. These will be considered by the Joint Sitting of the Parliament.
We have been compelled to take these steps to safeguard Pakistan’s interests. As a responsible state, Pakistan will do whatever we can for stability and peace of our region. But we will never allow anyone to undermine our legitimate interests.
I am certain that the review and assessment undertaken by this Conference as well as your recommendations would be extremely helpful in determining the future course of action.
I assure you that your conclusions and recommendations will receive close attention of the Government.
I wish to once again thank the Foreign Minister for holding the Envoys Conference at short notice and all participants for their valuable contribution.
For more information, contact:
Syed Haider Ali Jafri
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Government of Pakistan
Tel: +9251 921 0335 and 9056604