ISLAMABAD: The Natio­nal Security Commit­tee (NSC) on Tuesday endorsed ‘recalibration of foreign policy’ for making it more regionally focused and said the fight against terrorism would be dictated by national interests.

“The committee agreed on the importance of recalibrating the foreign policy framework to bring more focus on countries of the region,” said a statement issued by PM Office following the meeting that was held to review international and regional situation.

The meeting took place after a US-led move — which also involved Britain, France and Germany — got Pakistan included in the Financial Action Task Force’s grey list, although the decision would take effect from June. During this period Pakistan and the FATF would negotiate the action plan that the former would pursue after being put on grey list.

National interests to dictate fight against terrorism

Presided over by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the NSC meeting was attended by Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Miftah Ismail, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Zubair Hayat and the three services chiefs.

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The committee, which is the highest civil-military coordination forum, agreed to launch new initiatives to enhance economic partnerships with ‘friendly countries in the region and beyond’ for win-win cooperation. No specifics were given about the economic partnerships that Pakistan wants to develop.

Meanwhile, the US has continued to put pressure on Pakistan to act against the alleged Haqqani network sanctuaries and address the shortcomings in its counter-illicit financing regime.

Senior US official Lisa Curtis repeated this message during her two-day trip that ended on Tuesday.

It was decided at the NSC meeting that the counter-terrorism and counter-extremism actions would continue. “Our policies will continue to be formulated and implemented in light of our national interests,” it added.

“Consistent and continued engagement with Afghanistan,” was underscored at the meeting as the participants reiterated the contours of the strategy to deal with issues emanating from Afghanistan such as effective border management and early repatriation of Afghan refugees.

The NSC only reaffirmed commitment to strengthen China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project noting that it was contributing to the development of Pakistan, the region and beyond.

The members were particularly encouraged by Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif’s recent visit to Moscow. During his visit last week, Pakistan and Russia announced setting up of a commission for promoting military cooperation and expressed alarm over Daesh’s growing footprint in Afghanistan and the indifference of US-led Nato forces to the problem.

Published in Dawn, February 28th, 2018

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