By Ajmal Khan Yousafzai
ISLAMABAD: As part of the Foreign Office reform initiatives, Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday established a dedicated Public Diplomacy Consultative Group. Comprising eminent scholars, field specialists and former Ambassadors, the Group will consult and advise the Foreign Minister on various aspects of public diplomacy including projecting and promoting Pakistanâ€™s rich cultural, literary, sports and performing arts heritage. Additional working groups and committees will be established to spearhead initiatives in the priority areas of Digital Diplomacy, Cultural Diplomacy and Sports Diplomacy, a press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here said.
The Groupâ€™s membership includes Federal Minister for National History and Literary Heritage, and Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training, Shafqat Mahmood; former senator Javed Jabbar; Ambassador Zamir Akram, Ambassador Tasnim Aslam, Ambassador Shahid Kamal, along with Emran Akhtar, Sheherzade Alam and Selina Rashid.
Director General National Assembly and Senate Affairs, Shakeel Asghar will act as the ex-officio focal persons. The establishment of the Consultative Group on Public Diplomacy was the latest in a series of reform measures, to bring focused attention to key areas of policy. Earlier, the Advisory Council on Foreign Affairs was set up to conduct independent research on foreign policy issues.
â€œVision Foreign Officeâ€ was another platform aimed at inspiring thought leadership, by promoting a marco-vision amalgamating innovative ideas with technology, establishing a digital landscape and mainstreaming transparent and modern means of communication.
â€œFM Connectâ€ was yet another series of curated monthly round tables, providing a unique platform for focused discussions among diverse stakeholders and thought leaders within and outside Pakistan.