There was a huge opportunity in Economic Diplomacy that remained to be exploited by Pakistan, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Monday.Qureshi was speaking during his distinguished lecture on the strategic importance of Economic Diplomacy for Pakistan in the 21st Century arranged by Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi. Attendees included a large number of academicians, media personnel, consul generals, members of the corporate sector, the IBA faculty, students and alumni.

The foreign minister commenced his lecture by thanking IBA for inviting him and applauded the institute for its continuous strive for excellence. He then described how the 21st century was different from older times. He said, “Borders have become fluid. Communication is instantaneous and free flowing. There are a multiplicity of actors and interests within the State, interacting constantly with actors and interests outside of it.” Emphasizing the importance of economic diplomacy, he said in one word it was ‘opportunity’.

He also discussed the economic challenges of the current account deficit and falling exports that Pakistan’s economy was facing. He said his office had made a conscious determination to place Economic Diplomacy at the front and center of Pakistan’s diplomatic agenda. According to him, the foreign ministry had made concerted efforts to reorient diplomatic efforts towards addressing national needs. During the lecture, he mentioned that Pakistan secured over $10 billion to overcome balance of payments crisis, and secured oil supplies on deferred payment basis.

He also mentioned that Pakistan would no longer fight wars for other countries and would maintain its stance for peace. He said that was the reason that even in the face of Indian aggression, Pakistan reacted with responsibility and restraint, but also exhibited resolve. While talking about the future, he said Pakistan must climb up the global value chain by upgrading technology, leveraging young talent, and by capitalizing on the export related opportunities that CPEC was to create.

Following the lecture, a Q&A session between Qureshi and the audience ensued.

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