ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Thursday directed the Foreign Office that it should focus on African countries as well because there exists an immense potential of bilateral cooperation and that is the reason as to why focus of many emerging powers was shifting to those countries.

The PM in his observation underscored the importance of projecting the soft image of Pakistan through public diplomacy by encouraging the people to people contacts, cultural exchanges and promotion of business and trade the world over.

He was given a detailed briefing by Minister for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar, Secretary Foreign Affairs and the relevant senior officials on Pakistan’s foreign policy at the Foreign Ministry during the visit of the Prime Minister to the Foreign Office here on Thursday.

Raja Pervez Ashraf emphasized the urgency of interacting with the third generation of expatriate Pakistanis especially those living in Europe and the USA as sustainability of their attachment with Pakistan will be a great asset for the country.

He said that the prevalence of goodwill in the continent, which was earned due to the successful UN Peacekeeping Mission headed by Pakistan Army, should be leveraged to promote Pakistan’s interests.

The Prime Minster asked officers of the ministry several questions regarding functioning of Pakistani missions abroad and called upon them to pro-actively pursue the trade diplomacy as it has assumed greater significance in the modern diplomacy.

He said that Pakistan’s foreign policy was confronted with many challenges but expressed his confidence that the Foreign Ministry was quite capable of converting these challenges into opportunities for Pakistan. “Pakistan’s foreign policy is in safe hands,” the Prime Minister remarked.

Earlier, Minister for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar welcomed the Prime Minister in the Foreign Office and said that her team present there was the nucleus of the Ministry, which is endeavouring to achieve foreign policy objectives through our missions abroad and also through interaction with diplomatic community based in Islamabad.

Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani elaborated upon the functioning of the different departments in the Ministry. The heads of departments also briefed the Prime Minister about their functions and role in the context of country’s foreign policy.