Stresses need to lobby with "well-connected" Pakistanis abroad
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has launched an application, the Foreign Minister’s Portal, to “improve the access” and “expand outreach” through technology.
The ceremony, on Monday, was attended by the foreign office staff in Islamabad and virtually connected ambassadors all over the world.
“The staff has been working diligently but it is not humanly possible to reach everywhere,” Qureshi remarked. “Thanks to digital diplomacy, we want to ensure the quality of our service.”
The minister urged ambassadors deputed across the world to regain the “lost touch” with younger generations to achieve the objectives of Pakistan’s foreign policy — brightening the country’s image.
Ambassadors, he said, have a responsibility to lobby for the country. “We would like to use skilled, well-connected, and influential people to lobby for Pakistan,” he added.
“It is expected of envoys to improve their behavior with the overseas community and focus on resolving their complaints,” he stressed.
Earlier this year in April, the government suspended Pakistan’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia Raja Ali Riaz, weeks before his retirement, and recalled six of its diplomats staffed in Riyadh on allegations of “improper treatment” with Pakistanis living in the kingdom.
The foreign minister expressed hopes to improve access and outreach through the newly-introduced technology.
“It would be sad for the country if its people living abroad feel abandoned,” he said. “The money Pakistan gets through remittances is more than the worth of its total exports.”
Pakistan, Qureshi added, needs to review its approach and behavior in dealing with people living abroad. Millions of overseas Pakistanis could be facilitated “if we change our mindset” as they are the “assets” of Pakistan.
The government aims to gain access to all Pakistanis, including successful businessmen, bankers, lawyers who are living abroad. “Ambassadors often arrange our meetings with people. But there are millions who are left out. We have to efficiently utilize them,” Qureshi pointed out.