Suc­cess sto­ries of Pak for­eign pol­icy

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION -


Pak­istan is cur­rently pass­ing through a rough patch on the for­eign pol­icy front. Re­cent clashes at Torkham Bor­der cross­ing took our re­la­tions with Afghanistan at the sub-zero level. The bud­ding co­op­er­a­tion be­tween Pak­istan and In­dia after the Pathankot in­ci­dent seems to have nose-dived, as the lat­ter is again ac­cus­ing Pak­istan for a fresh ter­ror in­ci­dent in IOK. Chah­ba­har Port devel­op­ments too rang alarm bells for Pak­istan. Fur­ther­more, the re­la­tion­ship with the US is also get­ting frigid. As we get mired into one for­eign pol­icy cri­sis after an­other, ques­tions are be­ing raised on the per­for­mance of for­eign of­fice. How­ever, one’s per­cep­tion should not be blink­ered by a few crises, as Pak­istan earned some no­table achieve­ments in the past 3 years.

Be­fore our re­la­tions with In­dia, Afghanistan and US hit a rock bot­tom re­cently, and we em­broiled our­selves in a for­eign pol­icy im­passe, Pak­istan achieved many break­throughs. The coun­try at­tained full mem­ber­ship of the SCO, which can ex­pand Pak­istan’s out­reach and pro­vide much needed eco­nomic and diplo­matic lever­age. Pak­istan im­proved its es­tranged re­la­tion­ship with Russia. The lat­ter is in­ter­ested in trade part­ner­ship with Pak­istan and both the coun­tries are will­ing to bury their bit­ter­ness of the Cold War era. Most im­por­tantly, pipe­lines are be­ing laid to im­port LNG from Russia into en­ergy-starved Pak­istan, de­spite US sanc­tions on the Rus­sian firms. CASA-1000 and TAPI gas pipe­line are land­mark projects not only to ful­fil our en­ergy needs, but also sig­nif­i­cant ways to en­hance re­gional con­nec­tiv­ity and co­op­er­a­tion.

The Cen­tral Asian Re­publics are keen to ac­cess Gawadar port. If this plan suc­ceeds, Pak­istan would be a hub of trade and eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties with CARs and the re­gions be­yond. The historic CPEC is termed as a “game-changer”, as never be­fore an in­vest­ment of such a mas­sive scale en­tered into Pak­istan. Pak­istan ac­quired the much-touted GSP Plus sta­tus in 2013, which pro­vides duty free ac­cess to Pak­istan’s ex­ports in the Euro­pean mar­ket. More­over, lit­tle light is thrown on Pak-US Knowl­edge Cor­ri­dor. US - which was hith­erto in­ter­ested in mil­i­tary aid and sale of weapons to Pak­istan, would now equip our young grad­u­ates with skills and mod­ern ed­u­ca­tion about Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy in its top univer­si­ties. More­over, Pak­istan made prag­matic de­ci­sions on the Gulf coun­tries’ is­sues.

Pak­istan em­bassies in the for­eign coun­tries are also mak­ing earnest ef­forts to dis­pel the mis­per­cep­tions about Pak­istan. A spec­tre of such ef­forts was seen when for the very first time in the coun­try’s his­tory, UN’s hall was echoed with Pak­istani mu­sic and dec­o­rated with colours of the coun­try, this year on Pak­istan Day.

None­the­less, presently Pak­istan is be­sieged by chal­lenges and only through prag­ma­tism and far­sight­ed­ness from the civil and mil­i­tary leaderships, Pak­istan can sail through them. We have to learn from our failed for­eign poli­cies of the past to get out from the present quag­mire. A strong re­solve for Pak­istan’s eco­nomic sta­bil­ity and an in­domitable will to root out all forms and man­i­fes­ta­tions of ter­ror­ism without dis­crim­i­na­tion, would lead Pak­istan onto the path of peace and pros­per­ity. —Via email

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