Pakistan’s Fractured Foreign Policy

By Sarfraz Ahmed Rana.

Our Foreign Policy is one of friendliness and goodwill towards all the nations of the world. We do not cherish aggressive designs against any country or nation.

There is a strong synergy involved behind nation’s fortune and political leadership; political leaders enable political institutions which further helps in strengthening national glory, economic prosperity, the rule of law and the well-being of lay people anywhere in the world. The unquestionable role of a leader is the key determinant to make nation indispensable by achieving  the state imperatives.  Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and Nelson Mandela among the Soul Saviors who played their role significantly in nation-building process. Although, they have changed the  nation’s fortune miraculously merely due to the magnanimous and self-sacrificing characters.

The fabric of nation building comes from the kind of incorruptible leadership which must hold the features of “Philosopher King” the idea conceived from Plato’s Utopian city who requires a special level of knowledge, proportionate temperament and well-founded reputation to run the “Republic”. Throughout the world during much of history, any nation in the past, could not have survived all along with an Ignorant leadership who incorporate super sensitive state affairs practice through folly methods.

Unlike India; Pakistan remained an ill-fated state in terms of leadership after the early demise of high-spirited characters. It was perhaps due to leadership gap that country lagging too far behind internally and externally even those states which got independence later the creation of Pakistan.  For a while if we looked at the Quaid’s meanings of Foreign Policy we might have greater clarity, he defined, “Our Foreign Policy is one of friendliness and goodwill towards all the nations of the world. We do not cherish aggressive designs against any country or nation” but alas posthumously we have been failed to set forth such an external policy that benefits the country’s interest at large.

Unfortunately, the leadership in Pakistan whether it is military or political devastated the country’s face to make irrational choices in order to plant their own doctrine which is more congenial to them rather to the national interest, it is perhaps due to the lack of institutional consolidation or due to the failed Self-seeking political and military leadership that they were unable to bring any sustainable political or economic turnover in the country. With the change of each government in Pakistan, rationale of state, policies and interests of the government have changed also ruling over the efforts that previous government had made at the cost of country’s resources. Yet present Pakistan is more horrible than it was ever before especially in terms of foreign relations with neighboring states.

Although Pakistan’s foreign policy had never been handled itself, it has always been seeded from the foreign powers at the cost of Pakistan’s foreign relations with other nations by endangering its interests and reputation at the international level that left the country in total chaos. In the context of Pakistan, if foreign policy meant being defined by foreigners then it fully Justified the definition of “Foreign Policy”.

The country’s leadership sometime in the past who claimed to be the champion of Muslim- Ummah, it actually seems helpless to handle only four neighboring states, two are a Muslim majority, it is the reckless and radical attitude of the leadership which alienated country in the new wave of geo strategic change in the region.

In contrary, Indian present foreign policy is moving ahead pragmatically, the recent Modi’s trip to several Muslim countries including Iran will yield serious implication for Pakistan; mainly India-Iran agreement on Chahbahar Port enables India easy access to Afghanistan then to energy-rich central Asian states. Although, India remained the largest importer of Iranian oil at the time of economic sanctions, Pakistan seems to be entangled between the “Trica” of Iran, Afghanistan, and India fully sponsored by the United States to contain China’s allies and its growing influence in the region.

There is a new wave of a paradigm shift in the geostrategic landscape in the region yet Pakistan is not able to size the situation to deal with it. Modi’s Gambit in the region, on the one hand, making new alliances and partnerships even India overshadowing in Pakistan’s neighborhood,  on the other hand. Ironically, Pakistan political leadership has used their best efforts to fix Panama papers instead to prioritize their preferences to benefit national interest, one could have a better idea of the seriousness of present governments in terms of pursuing national interest as of now they do not have a full-time Foreign Minister, officially, Prime Minister held the portfolio of External affairs.

Over the course of time, Pakistan has not learned anything from the past blowbacks, seemingly not ready to accept emerging challenges down the line in the contemporary world.  The international environment is based upon anarchy and competition if Pakistan’s fractured foreign policy has not revised and rearranged purposefully by political leadership putting their vested interests aside, the consequences will be grave for the destiny of Pakistan in the regional competition where the enemy is proportionately prudent waiting to seize the opportunity.

Burdensome but not impossible, Pakistan must have to realize the strength of economic and strategic alliances in the contemporary era, first and foremost Pakistan should provide “big boost” to efforts to achieve diplomatic good will through Confidence Building Measures (CBM).  There is an utter need for Pakistani Politicos to reconcile its foreign policy imperatives to make revolutionary initiatives employing distinctive diplomatic skills to engage regional allies, importantly to address neighboring country’s concerns which are main impediments whilst in relationship and cooperation and to make serious efforts to execute such hurdles.  Of course, it requires time and plentiful efforts to make it up for the integrity and survival.

Sarfraz Rana

The writer is the columnist and International relations analyst.

Follow  on twitter; @ranasarfraz3417

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