Khawaja Asif concedes in Senate his ministry not in control
ISLAMABAD: Criticism over Pakistan’s Foreign Policy and absence of a foreign minister
for four years is nothing new but now Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif himself was very critical over the issue. He indirectly conceded on Wednesday that his ministry
was not in authoritative control of the country’s foreign policy.
Winding up discussion on the recent visit of the US secretary of state to South Asia and the new American strategy on Afghanistan, he said the foreign policy was being shaped by different institutions and no single institution was in charge of the foreign affairs.
However, he said the policy was framed in the light of recommendations of the National Security Commit¬tee and parliament. The foreign minister, while referring to the remarks made a day earlier by Senator Farhatullah Babar who criticised him for advising the Americans to have an Afghan policy free from the influence of generals and asked him to
apply the same in Pakistan, said:
“I agree that it should be so.” He made it clear that he had not “unwittingly” criticised American generals for their failure in Afghanistan, saying the new US policy was ineffective because it was influenced by the generals who suffered defeat in Afghanistan. “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 remarked.
Mr Asif said he had urged the US State Department and other policy-making institutions of the country to have greater control of the American policy “instead of relying on President Trump’s rejected approach to this problem”. “If America frames its policy
free from the influence [of these generals], it will be much more successful and effective. When they make Pakistan scapegoat, they are in fact covering up their own failures [in Afghanistan],” he repeated. “I am saying this very ‘wittingly’.”