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Event Title: Senator Farooq Hamid Naek, Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs presiding over a meeting of the Committee at Parliament House Islamabad

Event Date: 2023-09-08

The Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs convened today at the Parliament House, chaired by Senator Farooq Hamid Naek.

The meeting commenced with a comprehensive briefing provided by the Caretaker Foreign Minister, Jalil Abbas Jilani, regarding Pakistan's efforts to secure full membership in BRICS. He delved into the historical context and objectives of BRICS, highlighting its recent expansion to include member states such as KSA, UAE, Argentina, Egypt, and Ethiopia. He emphasized that BRICS expansion relies on unanimous member consensus. Pakistan is actively exploring the possibility of joining this group due to its goals of reshaping the International Financial Architecture and reducing dependency on the US dollar. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has initiated a consultation process with relevant stakeholders to streamline Pakistan's entry into BRICS.

During the session, concerns were raised by Senators about potential vetoes from India regarding Pakistan's inclusion in BRICS. Minister Jilani reassured that any member resorting to such a veto jeopardizes its own standing within the group. He also emphasized Pakistan's commitment to not engaging in regional power bloc politics, aiming instead for positive relations with all nations. Responding to questions about Pakistan's relationship with the United States, the Foreign Minister highlighted the global ramifications of conflicts, such as the Russia-Ukraine situation. He underscored Pakistan's policy of maintaining positive relationships with all nations, given the interconnectedness of today's world.

The Committee Chairman inquired about the advantages and disadvantages of joining BRICS, to which the Foreign Minister explained that Pakistan's membership would grant it a voice on a important international forum and facilitate trade and economic relations with member countries.

Addressing a query regarding the recent TTP attack in Chitral and the resulting law and order situation, the Foreign Minister assured that the situation is under control. Pakistan is actively engaged with the Afghan interim government, with our ambassador meeting Afghan officials to address the matter. He expressed Pakistan's commitment to preventing such situations from recurring through continued dialogue with Afghan counterparts.

Shifting the focus to the appointment policy for non-career Ambassadors and High Commissioners, along with the criteria for postings in various countries, the Foreign Minister clarified that there is a 20% quota for non-career appointments, which is strictly adhered to. Regarding the selection of non-career diplomats, he stated that the government prioritizes suitability without specific criteria or rules.

The Committee meeting was attended by Senators Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Zarqa Suharwardy Taimur, Palwasha Muhammadzai Khan, Molana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Walid Iqbal, and Muhammad Tahir Bizenjo, in addition to Caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani and senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.