Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry doesn’t control foreign policy: Minister

Islamabad: Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif has indirectly conceded that his ministry was not in authoritative control of the countrys foreign policy.

Winding up discussion on US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson‘s October visit to South Asia and the new American strategy on Afghanistan, Asif said the foreign policy was being shaped by different institutions and no single institution was in charge of foreign affairs, Dawn online reported on Thursday.

But he said on Wednesday that the policy was framed in the light of recommendations of the National Security Commit­tee and Parliament.

Senator Farhatullah Babar had criticised Asif for advising the Americans to have an Afghan policy free from the influence of generals and asked him to apply the same in Pakistan. The Minister responded: “I agree that it should be so.”

Asif said he had not “unwittingly” criticised American generals for their failure in Afghanistan. He said the new US policy was ineffective because it was influenced by the generals who suffered defeat in Kabul.

“The Americans have devised a framework for their policy for South Asia which is in fact focused on Afghanistan. It was devised by generals who have struggled in Afghanistan for the last 15 years.

“I do not think any policy can be made by people with that baggage and mindset,” he said.

Asif said he had urged the State Department and other policy-making institutions in the US to have greater control of the American policy “instead of relying on President (Donald) Trump’s rejected approach to this problem”.

The Minister reiterated that Pakistan wanted a regional solution to the Afghan problem.

“The entire region has a role to play in the Afghan process and Pakistan wishes for a regional solution to the security challenges faced by the country.”