On Monday, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi defended the performance of the government’s foreign policy under his supervision. He highlighted that due to Islamabad’s successful efforts to counter negative perceptions, the world was no longer buying the Indian narrative “blindly”.
While addressing an event in Islamabad today, FM Qureshi told to fight the “global battle of perception” a Strategic Communications Division was established at the Foreign Office.
He highlighted the importance of building a narrative and cited an example that Indians had “cleverly and cunningly” referred to the Kashmiris’ efforts as terrorism. As the result, the innocent Kashmiris were being accused of terrorism however, like Pakistan, they were being oppressed.
“Unless we counter this narrative, our international image cannot be corrected. And you saw that through the narrative building, Pakistan achieved success,” said the minister.
He went on to say that Pakistan had convinced the world that it had lost 70,000 lives to terrorism therefore it should not be accused of sponsoring terrorism.
“Today the international press is not buying the Indian narrative blindly. The question [instead],” he said.
Previously Pakistan was perceived as the “problem” for every Afghanistan’s roadblock however, the situation now is entirely different.
“Now, through the successive narrative building, Pakistan is being viewed as the solution, not the problem. That’s the qualitative change that has come about.”
The minister said that now the world was “recognizing Pakistan’s role” in the Afghan peace process and observed that Abdullah Abdullah, Afghan peacemaker, in the past was “never very soft” on Pakistan, however, his tone was “very different” when he recently visited Islamabad.
“The United States’ narrative [regarding Pakistan], at least on Afghanistan, is also very different today,” he added.
He said to cope with the 21st-century diplomatic challenges, the FO had reached the conclusion. Its “toolkit” would need to be changed, and many steps were taken to improve communications, coordination with various departments, and specialization at the foreign ministry.