Islamabad – In the wake of worsening Pakistan-US relations, speakers at a seminar on ‘security situation and role of media’ urged a diplomatic solution and revisiting of foreign policy. The interactive discussion on media’s role, arranged by South Asian Women in Media (SAWM) at SAFMA center in Islamabad, soon turned into a debate on foreign policy of Pakistan.
Lt. Gen (R) Talat Masood, analyst, urged a “diplomatic solution to rising tension between Pakistan and the United States following US accusations against Pakistan armed forces.” He however noted that despite harsh criticism in American statements, there is a space for reconciliation. He observed that, “the relationship between Pakistan and US is going through a critical stage and both the two countries should revisit their policies to avoid strategic collision.”
Senator Talha Mahmood, Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Interior deplored that “Pakistan has sacrificed more than 35,000 lives and about 100 billion U.S. dollars in economic losses by aligning itself with US-led War on Terror.” He claimed that during last 10 years of cooperation with war on terror leaders, Pakistan has become a highly indebted country with 60 billion foreign debts. Recognizing the great spirit of friendship, Senator Talha lauded the role of Republic of China which has also stood by Pakistani nation in time of crisis and also wished stronger Pakistan. He also advocated that “Pakistan should foster its relationship with immediate neighbours who border this country rather looking at thousands of miles away to build strategic relationship.” Senator Talha also warmly welcomed the Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani’s initiative to call All Parties Conference (APC) to develop a national consensus on current issues.
Tanzeela Mazhar, representing SAWM, stressed that “media should not create hype and play a responsible role in developing a national consensus on foreign policy issues.”
Representing the PML-N, Dr. Tariq Fazal Chaudhry also appreciated proposal of the Prime Minister on APC but he warned that “without forceful implementation of parliamentary resolutions, any consensus will not have a positive effect on foreign policy. The PML-N leader also called for a joint session of the two houses of the parliament to formulate Pakistan’s future strategy.
Akram Masih Gil, State Minister for National Harmony stressed for interfaith harmony to further strengthen unity among the states. Mir Baz Khan Khetran, representing PPP, urged for reshaping of foreign policy to develop national consensus.