Redefining Pak Foreign Policy
By Zaheerul Hassan
A Two-day “Envoys Conference” has been over on December 13, 2011. The session of the conference was chaired and addressed by Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani, Prime Minister of Pakistan. The conference was attended by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Hina Rabbani Khar, Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, and Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir, 15 Pakistani key ambassadors including Designated Pakistani Ambassador to Washington Mrs. Sherry Rehman, high commissioners, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Khalid Shameem Wynne and Director General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha and officials of Foreign office. The main agenda of the meeting was to redefine the foreign policy along with terms of engagement with the U.S. and ISAF in war on terror after NATO’s attack on Pakistani check post in which 24 soldiers martyred.
On the first day, Foreign Minister Mrs. Hina Rabbani Khar, Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir and Lt Gen Pasha, DGI briefed the conference members about prevailing security environment, the real time information on the unprovoked NATO’s Air Strikes, stance taken following the attacks, rapidly deteriorating Pak-US relations and its repercussions on Afghan issues.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani while addressing the last session of the conference stated that no policy in the country could run successfully without the consensus of the people. He also commented on the situation in South Asia saying that the region was confronted by numerous challenges. Prime Minister further voiced that violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty would not be tolerated in future.
However, under the chairmanship of Sherry Rehman a committee has been constituted and tasked to prepare a draft of the recommendations. The same recommendations will be deliberated upon first by the Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNC) and finally brought to the floor on the House in a joint sitting. According to the sources the others members of the committee included Pakistan's Ambassador to Moscow Khalid Khattak, Pakistan Ambassador to Belgium, European Union and Luxembourg Jalil Abbas Jilani, Pakistan Ambassador and Permanent Representative to United Nations Office and other International Organisations Zamir Akram, Pakistan envoy to China Masood Khan, High Commissioner for Pakistan to Malaysia Masood Khalid, Pakistan's Ambassador to Thailand Sohail Mahmood and Pakistan ambassador to Italy Tehmina Janjua. Thus, it would not be wrong in saying that the committee is composed of very experienced diplomats and will present those recommendations which would be helpful to PCNC while revisiting the foreign policy under the changing regional and global political and security environment.
Currently, Pakistan is facing multiple challenges like: guarding of national interest, threat to sovereignty, security and integrity, deteriorating economy, corruption as result of poor and weak governance, political instability and religious extremism. Nevertheless, out of the revealed challenges: deteriorating economy, threat to sovereignty, security and integrity are those challenges which do regulate the rest of the stated components.
Sovereignty and security of sole nuclear Islamic power have become questionable because of Raymond Davis episode, American unilateral action of May 2, 2011, NATO and ISAF attacks on our civilians and soldiers and memo issues. On the revealed issues though Pakistani parliament, government and armed forces took a daring stance by condemning and discontinuation of NATO supply but still American leadership is not ready to apologize on the recent ISAF attack on Slala Check post . Anyhow, after the NATO’s recent attack, the strong Pakistani public’s opinion is to delink the country from so called “Global War on Terror”. During the said war over 40000 civilians and soldiers had sacrificed their lives in 300 drone attacks, suicidal bombing and sabotage activities. Pakistan has also suffered over $80 Billion losses in terms of damages to material, equipment and infrastructure but yet both U.S. Houses, Senate and congress agreed to freeze $700 million in US aid to Pakistan on the plea that it failed to stop in spreading of improvised explosive devices in the region. But even then U.S. instead of assisting Pakistan in restoring economy and acknowledging its sacrifices always asked to “do more” and has suspended aid to Islamabad. At this occasion Hina Rabbani Kher, Foreign Minister while addressing the journalists has very rightly said that U.S will be responsible for the failure of suspending aid to Pakistan.
In Pakistan the credible sources do have the strong perception, that CIA in collaboration with RAW and Afghan Intelligence Agencies found involve in destabilization of democratic government, propagating against Pakistani nuclear programme, covertly supporting anti state elements in Balochistan, tarnishing security forces and ISI images. Briefly, saying that Pak-US relations is at its lowest level and its betterment only lies with the American’s future behavior since Pakistani elites probably has decided now “enough is enough”.
Indian obstinacy is another major irritant in Pak-India relationship. In this connections, Indian hegemonic desire of expansionism, capturing water resources, reluctance of resolving Kashmir issue, operating, promoting militancy while using Afghan land, supporting American agenda of containing China, facilitating Israel against Iran and “123 Indo-U.S. Civil Nuclear Deal” are those major factors which critically need to be watched and analyzed for permanent regional peace.
Under the current regional scenario particularly after 9/11, Afghan element has emerged as an overriding component of Pak-Afghan relationship. As result of Afghan issues, millions of Afghans refugees have become the burden to economy and causing security problems in Pakistan. But instead of thanking, the puppet government of Karzai always alleged Pakistan in the internal troubles of Afghanistan. According to the actual facts Karzai Government consist of drug mafia and is not true representative of the Afghan people. The current security problem in Afghanistan is because of its’ ruling elite. Elections under UNO and transition of powers to the real rulers are the only way out to the Afghan crises. At the same time, efforts have to be made of making world community to realize that stability in Pakistan and Afghanistan are interlinked and any active Indian role even after the departure of NATO and ISAF troops would not be acceptable to Pakistan.
Apparently Pakistani foreign policy since its inception seems to be personality oriented and its’ leadership did not border Quaid-i-Azam famous saying of 15 August 1947. In this connection, he said, “Our objective should be peace within peace; we want to live peacefully and maintain cordial and friendly relations with our immediate neighbours and with the world at large. We have no aggressive designs against any one. We stand by the United Nations Charter and will gladly make our fully contribution to the peace and prosperity of the world.” Our foreign policy went away from the father of nation’s saying and kept on changing day to day basis without safe guarding the national desires. National security and national interests’ are intern linked that become the foundation of foreign policy and also happen to be the starting point of all the policies. If we take the revealed statement as a reference point then we can say that only that state would be called as a sovereign state which is militarily, politically , economically strong and secure at regional and global levels. Thus, we can say that foreign policy makers need to secure support to their policies at regional and global levels. Just see that in the case of Vietnam War American failed to get external support and terribly lost. In fact under the American view, national interest is irreducible. In his regard, Henry Kissinger argues that every State must try to reconcile what he considers fair with what he considers possible. What is considered fair depends on the internal structure of their state. They may depend on its resources, geographic position, determination and internal structure of other states. In these terms, the nature of national power is concatenated to the interests and objectives. For that reason alone the State is capable of exercising as a responsible state and designs that strategy, which is not detached from the general and foreign policy of the country.
In short, Pakistan has got a chance to revisit and redefine the dimensions of foreign policy in the light of our national interests. Russian and Chinese factors need to be incorporated and policy of self reliance be adopted instead playing in the hands of America or her sponsored local elites. National politicians too should show consolidation and solidarity against anti Pakistan states and elements.