Pakistan to set up forum to boost image among Arab countries
Pakistan is setting up a Pak-Arab federation to strengthen Islamabad’s relations with the Arab states.
The news was disclosed by the Special Representative of the Prime Minister on Religious Harmony & the Middle East, Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi, on Sunday.
سفير جمهوريّة العراق في إسلام آباد حامد عباس لفتة يستقبل المستشار الخاص لرئيس الوزراء الباكستاني ورئيس مجلس علماء باكستان الشيخ د. طاهر اشرفي، في مقر السفارة.https://t.co/IhzP6hlFiv pic.twitter.com/GkTmrjTTpE
— وزارة الخارجية العراقية (@Iraqimofa) January 22, 2021
The forum’s establishment follows Prime Minister Imran Khan’s policy to improve Pakistan’s economic and strategic ties with all Arab states.
In October, the government set up a study center specialized in the Middle East at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI).
“The work on the Pak-Arab Federation has launched with the basic aim of helping to bolster the relationship of Pakistan with fraternal Arab countries,” Ashrafi told Arab News.
He explained that the federation would be an autonomous body, consisting of representatives of Pakistan and all Arab states.
“This forum will be an independent non-governmental federation that consists of journalists, businesspeople, chambers of commerce, religious scholars, intellectuals, academicians, and other professional bodies,” Ashrafi said.
He said that it would serve as an advisory body to the Pakistani government to boost Pakistan’s image in the Arab states.
“This federation will also work as a crisis resolution forum to remove misconceptions that can hinder Pakistan’s bilateral relations with Arab countries,” Ashrafi said.
Likewise, the federation would act as a “back-channel diplomacy forum” to resolve essential issues quickly through people-to-people contacts.
According to Ashrafi, the body will also form a close liaison with more than 5 million Pakistanis in Arab countries and “will work to facilitate our Arab brothers to improve their people-to-people contact with Pakistan.”
He added: “This federation will work to enhance relations between Islamic countries further and will not be affected by changes of governments.”
Earlier this month, Ashrafi met the ambassadors of Oman, Kuwait, and Iraq in Islamabad to start the initiative and bring the other Arab states on board.
“After completing the initial work, we will contact the embassies of all the Arab countries to brief them about the work and scope of the federation,” he said.
“We will also incorporate their suggestions to make it an effective forum.”
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