Pakistan foreign policy & current challenges

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Mr Prime Minister, this nation appreciates your bold decision of announcing friendly foreign policy towards all neighbours, including our ‘arch-rival’ India. The foreign policy guideline that you gave in your victory speech after the 2018 general elections made us prouder and more confident. Your policy guideline and selection of a designated foreign minister to protect Pakistan’s national interests worldwide shows that you have the realization about the importance of Pakistan’s foreign policy for the region as well as for the world, owing to its strategic location. This nation hopes that this would be the first step forward for the practical implementation of your vision of placing Pakistan in the list of credible and exemplary states.

Mr prime minister, this nation owns your words “Peace in Afghanistan means peace in Pakistan” and looking forward to a positive response from the leadership in Kabul. This nation also appreciates your offer for peace to India on all issues including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, and your intent to further strategic relations with Beijing. You clearly communicate a message to Beijing, our trustworthy strategic partner, that the new government not only owns China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in its original form but will further its cooperation in many other areas, including good governance.

Mr prime minister, this nation salutes you for your dealing with the United States. The country habitual of dictating us was at least asked to “listen first and then speak”. Your brave but optimistic approach towards the United States was a clear message to the guests that “do more mantra” is no more workable. This nation wants you to get them realize that Pakistan is not a tissue-paper, “use it, and dump”.

Mr prime minister, this nation welcomes your all foreign policy decisions and owns them with honour and dignity, but this nation is curious too, to know whether you will keep standby with them despite internal and external pressures or will repeat the history like other leaders. You would have the realization that this country has been fighting the war on multiple fronts, since its independence, and your backing will push them into a more complicated situation.

Mr prime minister, foreign policy is the first line of defence and it has a vital role to play. A strong foreign policy not only establishes direct relations of states with other states in the world but protects states’ national interests. Mr prime minister, consequently, this nation doesn’t want you to repeat the following policy’s practices that remained a regular norm in this country in the past 72 years.Mr prime minister, the past support to the US alienated us from the rest of the world, yet Washington still struggling to trust us, even after all the sacrifices made by the people and forces. It accuses us of being a “sponsor of international terrorism” and putting efforts to put us in the blacklist. This nation wants you to upside down the country’s foreign ties with Washington. If not so, this country has to cope with antagonistic neighbours and global dilemmas.

Mr prime minister, this nation doesn’t want you to repeat the civil-military scuffle, which was the foremost factor responsible for damaging the country’s foreign policy. The self-centred approach of both political and military quarters was the main reason behind. This nation hopes that self-centred approach will not be repeated as the nation has already experienced three major military rules and five fragile democratic governments.

Mr prime minister, self-interest approach of our political leadership is another important factor that damaged this country’s reputation internationally. Pakistan has ‘failed’ so far in producing competent and courageous leadership that could lead this nation in the anarchic international system. Those leaders worked for their personal interests rather than the national interests. Majority of them misused their power and authority and operated the institutions-based on self-interest, promoting incompetent people to the highest of state leadership. This nation wants you to not repeat self-interest promotions.

Mr prime minister, this country has a deteriorating relationship with Iran, Afghanistan, and India. In Iran case, Pakistan’s support to the Taliban and Saudi Arabia soured the relationship. In the Indian case, cross-border terrorism and support to Kashmir cause and in case of Afghanistan, again we are being blamed for cross-border terrorism and for interference in the internal affairs of Kabul. The hostile approach of our immediate neighbours has engaged Pakistan in hybrid warfare which needs constant efforts on your side.

Mr prime minister, most of Pakistan’s existence, India remained core to our national policy, yet we could learn from Indians. They have more trade with China than us but still, they are getting closer to Saudi Arabia, the United States and others. Unlike Islamabad, they have not put all their foreign policy eggs in one basket. This nation is happy with Pakistan’s cordial ties with China on all fronts, but yet doesn’t want it to put all its foreign policy eggs in one China named basket.

Mr prime minister, Pakistan has failed so far to achieve its self-interest through the process of lobbying either while our arch-rival India has achieved a lot through such lobbying against us. This nation sees this failure in two cases: the war on terror and occupied Kashmir.

First, Pakistan remains failed to convince the world that they have done everything which was in their power and second, the issue of Kashmir still remains unresolved with no positive signs for the near further. This nation holds week diplomacy responsible for these failures. This nation wants you to hire strong lobbying groups abroad to fight the case of Pakistan.Mr prime minister, this nation has the realization that every promise that you have made would not be practically achievable, but definitely expects you to deliver at least 50 per cent.

Published in Melange Intl. Magazine September 2018.

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