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Pakistan FM Khawaja Asif hints at shifting foreign policy's focus from US

Khawaja Asif

Islamabad, Dec 6 (UITV/IANS) - Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on Tuesday said Islamabad's foreign policy has for long remained US-centric, but the time has now come to review it and shift its focus towards Moscow and Beijing.

The Foreign Minister highlighted the possibility of a policy shift and said revisiting the Islamabad's policy was the need of the hour. The minister hinted at an inclination towards the left block of the world, saying "China lives next to us and we have a common wall. Russia can also be our good friend," Dawn news reported.

Asif said this while addressing a seminar hosted by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute here.

"We can't have an independent foreign policy until we are economically strong," he maintained.

Asif said the US has been Pakistan's biggest trade partner. "We have to convert our diplomatic outpost to trade outpost," he said, adding that Islamabad must improve and correct its relationships.

Peace in Afghanistan is extremely important for us, he said, adding that the US will have to see relations with Islamabad without the prism of Afghanistan. "We (Pakistan and the US) have a historic and robust relationship."

About Afghanistan, the minister said Islamabad wants to live peacefully with all its neighbours and the rest of the world. "We want peace in Afghanistan. The Afghan war was a liability for Pakistan. We are still suffering very badly from the Afghan war," he added.

But "we are trying to manage the situation and to turn the debris into hope", he said, adding that the debris includes religious radicalism and said the nation was facing its consequences.