Byline: SHAFQAT ALI
ISLAMABAD -- The year 2019 was not without diplomatic achievements despite the controversy in December that saw Pakistan skipping the Kuala Lumpur Summit after initially spearheading the new alliance with Malaysia, Turkey and Iran.
Prime Minister Imran Khan's last minute decision to boycott the summit was not welcomed by the organisers and was widely criticised by the opposition parties at home.
Pakistan insisted there was no pressure to skip the summit but Islamabad did not want to create a division among the Muslim Ummah (nation). Turkey and Iran thought otherwise while Malaysia tried to understand Pakistan's 'reasons.' Pakistan however, further engaged with tested friends like China and Saudi Arabia. Partnership with Russia boomed and confidence level with the United States improved.
Tension with India went through the whole year and is still threatening war with regular skirmishes along the Line of Control. Amid the tension, Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on November 9 at a ceremony that was held in Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Complex, Kartarpur. The peace move was appreciated by the whole world.
Relations with friends enhanced, Ties with Russia witness boom, Confidence level with US improves
After the unilateral and illegal action by India on August 5, 2019, Prime Minister Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi as well as President Arif Alvi reached out to their counterparts across the world to inform them of Pakistan's stance on the matter. A large number of world leaders have since publicly expressed their concerns on the issue.
Letters were addressed to the President of the United Nations General Assembly, the Security Council and the High Commissioner for Human Rights, keeping them apprised of the evolving situation in held Kashmir.
An emergency session of the contact group on Jammu and Kashmir was immediately called on Pakistan's request in August as a result of which the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation delivered a strong statement condemning India's atrocities. Subsequently, in September, the OIC Contact Group spearheaded by the foreign minister issued a ministerial communique on the Kashmir dispute, on the sidelines of the UNGA.
As the ties with Russia warmed, Pakistan and Russia signed a Joint Statement on 'No First Placement of Weapons in Outer Space' in May in Bishkek. The Joint Statement was signed by the two foreign ministers and is a reflection of convergence of...