By Khola Sayed.
The contemporary epoch is manifested with a continuously transforming surge of challenges and opportunities. Countries with vigorous work ethics, rigorous educational system, social and economic justice, political stability and the rule of law can only manage to survive in this changing global strategic milieu. Keeping in view the dynamics of the 21st century, Pakistan has been overwhelmingly endeavoring to sustain its significance in the global arena.
Pakistan, a resilient state, girdled with multifaceted crises at the time of its genesis, ranging from the insufficient capital and resources to missing administrative machinery, ill-formed infrastructure and millions of population mired in poverty managed to survive and prosper itself within a short span of time. Confronting multiple challenges, Pakistan not only successfully coped up its socio-economic deprivations but also developed its nuclear program. However, the drive to go nuclear was inspired to guarantee its survival in retaliation to perceived threats from neighboring nuclear rival India.
Notwithstanding, Pakistan has been playing a profound role in the regional and global state of affairs. Naturally, Pakistan’s tri-junctional strategic location plays a key role in determining its stature in the global arena. Pakistan’s geographic position serves as a crossroads for inter-regional connectivity. It provides a twofold (Transit, Maritime) unique route to regional and global powers to access the rich markets across the region and expand their commercial activities horizontally. Ranging from deeply strategic relationship with economic giant China to burgeoning partnership with resurgent Russia, Pakistan has always managed to attract Great Powers interests by dint of its strategic position.
Additionally, Pakistan has been playing vigorous role in the UN peacemaking missions. Currently, Pakistan is the third largest troop contributor to UN peacekeeping missions. Over 142 Pakistani security personnel have lost their lives during these missions. Pakistani troops are currently deployed in Algeria, Central African Republic, Sudan, Haiti, Darfur, West Sahara, and Congo. There are 7,123 Pakistani peacekeepers including 6703 personnel of armed forces, 74 military experts, 66 staff officers and 280 police officials deployed in these countries. The largest deployment of Pakistani troops is in Congo. Besides, Pakistani women are also contributing to these missions as a role of doctors, nurses, and police officers.
In the aftermath of catastrophic 9/11 incident, Pakistan became a frontline ally in the global war on terror. It resiliently fought this scourge and suffered with massive afflictions in the form of casualties and material loss. Following Pakistan’s protracted conflict with terrorism, its arch rival India took this situation as an opportunity to malign Pakistan by calling it a ‘failed and a terrorist state’, approaching its diplomatic leverage worldwide. However, sanity kept prevailing as India found no concrete evidence to paint its claim on Pakistan. Islamabad has always abide by international legal principles and never estranged itself from the proceedings.
The transformations in global politics has opened new avenues for Pakistan to re-adjust its priorities and goals. In recent years, Pakistan is operationalizing a mega-billion dollar corridor which augurs to become a harbinger of change for the entire region in its economic, infrastructural, strategic and maritime domains. It is the solution for Pakistan’s economic woes as it is set to prop up our feeble economy by stimulating growth and opportunity. Pakistan is destined to become a hub of regional connectivity, merchandise trade and transit trade route. Successful implementation of the project is set to tip the geo-economic balance in Pakistan’s favor vis-à-vis India that would check Indian hegemonic ambitions.
Likewise, Pakistan is actively engaged on regional fronts when it comes to regional disputes of any nature. Pakistan holds an inevitable status to establish peace in its neighboring war-ravaged land, Afghanistan. Pakistan has repeatedly undertaken multiple initiatives to positively play its role in establishing sustainable peace in Afghanistan. In this context, Pakistan initiated a series of talks to settle the Afghan conflict as it disregards often proposed military strategy that has been subjected to failures since the past 16 years. In the very recent case of Gulf crisis, Pakistan undertook multilateral diplomacy and offered its voluntary role to amend the ties and reconcile between both the parties.
Seeking lessons from the past, Pakistan has set out to new roads of glory. Pakistan has been tremendously outperforming to oust the irritants impeding its way. Fighting on multiple frontiers, it is overwhelmingly exploring the capacity and will to meet the challenges with an iron hand. In the prevailing environment, the paradigm shift in national strategic thinking has given an impetus to Pakistan’s priorities and strategic objectives. By building up state capacity to ensure efficiency, Pakistan is now moving ahead in line with the global adjustments confronting all the barriers. The world has started to witness the resilience and importance of Pakistan. The mantra of “terrorist state” has become outdated now as Pakistan’s counter-terrorism adventures have shunned the so-called claims by the international community. The notion has been turning a reality that Pakistan is destined to hold a Major Power status in the foreseeable future in lieu of its recent unprecedented developments.
Khola Sayed is a Research Fellow at South Asian Strategic Stability Institute, London. She works on Nuclear and Strategic issues.