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Pakistan summons envoys to Islamabad to review foreign policy

By Rezaul H Laskar
December 06, 2011 14:22 IST
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Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has summoned envoys in key world capitals for a meeting to review Pakistan's strategy on important foreign policy issues like the war on terrorism and relations with countries like the United States and India.

Pakistan's envoys to the US, India, Afghanistan and several European countries are among those who have been asked to provide recommendations for forming strategies in the wake of the cross-border North Atlantic Treaty Organistaion attack in November that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, official sources said.

Gilani had said during an interaction with reporters in Lahore on Sunday that his government plans to revise its policies on key national and outstanding issues, including relations with the US, the war on terror and the Kashmir issue.

The government will revise the "terms of engagement" for these issues, including policies framed during the regime of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, Gilani said.

He said the review would cover key issues like Pakistan's role in the war on terror and the country's cooperation with the US and NATO.

The change in policy had become necessary in the aftermath of the NATO air strike on November 26, he said.

Gilani has summoned Pakistani envoys in some 15 significant world capitals for the planned meeting that will review the country's strategy for key foreign policy issues, the sources said.

The meeting is expected to be held next week.

The envoys are expected to provide feedback to Gilani on how the world community has perceived Pakistan's response to the NATO air strike.

The meeting with the envoys will be held ahead of a joint session of both houses of parliament that will focus on relations with the US after the NATO attack.

Pakistan's envoys to China, India, Russia, France, Britain, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, the United Nations and Germany are expected to attend the meeting.

Some retired diplomats are also being consulted regarding the review of strategy for key foreign policy issues.

Responding angrily to the NATO attack, Pakistan had closed all routes used to transport supplies to American and allied forces in Afghanistan and asked the US to vacate Shamsi airbase, reportedly used by Central Intelligence Agency-operated drones, by December 11.

Prime Minister Gilani has said his government will frame new "terms of engagement' for the war on terrorism and ties with the US and NATO.

The NATO attack has put fresh strain on the uneasy alliance between the US and Pakistan.

Bilateral ties have been hit by a series of events this year, including the killing of two Pakistani men linked to an intelligence agency by CIA contractor Raymond Davis and the US military raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May.

Pakistan stayed away from the Bonn Conference on Afghanistan on Monday to protest the NATO attack, raising questions about efforts aimed at peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

Analysts believe Pakistan's call for new "terms of engagement" for future ties with the US are part of a push by the military establishment to ensure a key role for itself in the endgame in Afghanistan.

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