By Dr ijlal Ali Shah.
With India boycotting the SAARC conference in Islamabad and pressurizing other countries like Afghanistan not to be a part of it, was a ranting testimony of Indian designs and motives. Recently, India completed the delivery of the final Mi-24 gunship to the Afghan Air Force (AAF), testifies its stakes and signals that it now wants to maintain a high profile in Afghan territory. With the rejuvenation of trilateral engagement between India, Afghanistan and US, India’s Afghan foreign policy is getting more robust. This newly Indian-Afghan bromance comes as a result of heavy investments by India.
Pakistan has high stakes in Afghanistan and is an important player in bringing long lasting peace in Afghanistan. Indian propaganda and with Afghanistan redirecting to it, isolation of Pakistan on diplomatic front is never possible. Pak-US ties though, witnessing a lot of hiccups recently, US knows Pakistan’s significance in bringing Afghan Taliban to table. Effective cooperation with Pakistan is a “sine qua non” for the success of critical U.S. foreign policy goals in Afghanistan and is known to all and sundry. This entire negative advocacy aims at only pressuring and maligning Pakistan.
In the light of all these circumstances, two-day Istanbul process took place in India. Top officials of 14 member countries, along with the supporting nations got together in Amritsar to discuss the key challenges faced by Afghanistan, exploring ways in bringing political and economic cooperation between Afghanistan and its neighbours but for Pakistan, it was of great significance considering the fact that the recent malafide strategic interests and influence, India is having in maneuvering Afghanistan’s Foreign Policy. It was of great priority for Pakistan because of ongoing escalations across LoC, America’s tilt towards India and to negate any negative propaganda, India aims to achieve in the presence of International community during this two-day process. From the onset, it was well established that this forum would be used to smudge dirt on Pakistan and it was a must for Pakistan to make its presence feel and rubbish any false accusations in the presence of International community.
It was a well-orchestrated diplomatic move even, when the relations between Pakistan and Indian were red hot and we all know, diplomacy is the process of engagement even in the worst of times. With India contemplating to portray Pakistan as a stumbling block and menace for the stability of this region by becoming a part of it, Pakistan did, indeed, sent a positive message to International community, how much urgency Pakistan has, for dialogue in bringing economic prosperity in the region. Pakistan being a member of CAREC and with, CPEC around the corner substantiated its commitment and efforts in cooperating with its neighbours.
Considering the fact that India and Afghanistan primarily aimed at cornering Pakistan, Sartaj Aziz was successful in presenting Pakistan’s view that it aims to be a part of economic and peace process.
Several gains, despite of Indian propaganda and snubbing by Ghani, suggest, it was a huge success at the diplomatic front.
- Pakistan was able to convey its strong message that we never run away from dialogue process. We have always given foremost priority to dialogue and with its presence in Amritsar and India boycotting the SAARC, International community did come to know about the Indian stubbornness in sabotaging dialogue process.
- Pakistan was able to counter any negative propaganda by India that Pakistan is lending a heavy hand and providing safe sanctuaries to terrorists. Modi alleged Pakistan of harboring and nurturing terrorists but Sartaj Aziz rejected it on the given forum.
- Though, Pakistan could not highlight the Indian atrocities in Kashmir on the forum but on the side lines, it did mention Indian violation of fundamental human rights in Kashmir. He also caught up with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and discussed the TAPI gas project.
One thing he stated clearly while addressing the ‘emergency” press conference, “Our relations with Afghanistan stand independently, there is a lot of interaction because we are next-door neighbor, India’s efforts to divide us will not go very far. Concentrated action, not blame game needed to resolve conflicts”.
Perhaps it’s time for Pakistan to adopt some aggressive attitude towards International community that one should not allege Pakistan of harbouring nefarious element, since we have been the main victim, we have lost thousands of innocents and we have been almost successful in tackling this sin.
Though, one might question Sartaj’s defensive play at the Istanbul moot since he was not able to highlight Indian malafide intentions to isolate Pakistan on Indian territory and he rubbished Indian propaganda while returning to Pakistan, all in all, it was a successful visit.
Pakistan was successful in portraying its positive image, the significance it holds for dialogue process. Pakistan’s presence despite of Indian deterrence, the regional players witnessed Pakistan efforts and commitment for the prosperity of this region.
The author hails from Abbottabad. He is an MBBS student at Ayub Medical College ATD. A humanist, columnist and a political media analyst. He is the member Youth Parliament Pakistan under PILDAT. He can be reached on fb.com /ShahIjlal and he Tweets @shahaliijlal