We are isolated, need a balance foreign policy

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By Senator Rehman Malik
We stand isolated today from the world and even our own old dear friends are not coming forward to help us. We have seen recently that even China and Saudi Arabia did not vote for us in FATF which is a big setback for us.

I think we are victims of our own defective foreign policies and non-serious approach towards International community and lack of timely actions to maintain our meaningful diplomatic ties. Our inconsistent attitude has annoyed many of our friends and we have not yet learned the lesson.

Here are few glaring diplomatic blunders which have adversely affected our bilateral relations with many countries and one has to see if it happened due to collective mistakes or faults made at an individual level.

We got UAE annoyed on Expo-2020 event support in 2013 which was declined by Pakistan bluntly by not voting in favor of UAE. Later, we faced embarrassment when the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) general assembly in Paris awarded Dubai as the host on November 27, 2013. Despite being aware of the fact that UAE is one of the biggest investors in Pakistan and has the second largest concentration of overseas Pakistanis yet we chose to vote for Turkey despite an earlier commitment to UAE. In fact, UAE stood with us in the most difficult situations and helped us in every sector. I am a witness to the earlier commitment conveyed through me to the UAE Government of Pakistan’s support and vote for UAE but the PML N did not oblige UAE by not honoring the commitment of PPP Government. This adversely dented our diplomatic ties with UAE. Pakistan suffered big setbacks in maintaining diplomatic relations with UAE and fault was totally on our part.

We annoyed Iran authorities as well when on 25th March 2015, Indian spy Kulbhushan Jhadav was arrested near Baluchistan and Pakistani investigators found that the arrested Indian spy was running a terrorist financing and training network that used to operate from Chabahar in Iran and in the visit of president of Iran he was questioned in most unbefitting manners and proper diplomatic norms were not followed to deal with the visiting head of State.

The previous Government also mishandled the diplomatic terms with Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as well in 2015 when the support was requested for their “Determination Storm” operation. Saudi Arabia formally requested defense support in 2015 when the country announced the formation of a 34-state Islamic military coalition to combat terrorism and asked for Pakistan’s military support, Nawaz Sharif first assured HRH King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz of their support but later on, Pakistan’s joint Parliament session unanimously rejected this Saudi request for Pakistani troops to support its Yemen campaign. The reason to why and how it got rejected is another story and will reveal sometimes later.

Truly speaking’ Saudi Arabia helped us in 1965 with the planes and spare parts but we failed to give the requisite support to Saudi Arabia at the time of need. We took few steps later but it was too late as the damage was already done and Saudi Arabia had already lost confidence in us and dependence on Pakistan was shifted to the USA.

Saudi Arabia paid us in the same coins by not supporting us in FATF and we lost the crucial brotherly support of an elder brother. We noticed Saudi Arabia gracing with the highest protocol to Indian PM and India did create space there both in Saudi Arabia and UAE.

Moreover, the increasing Sino-Indian ties are detrimental to Pakistan. There is deliberate anti-CPEC propaganda which may create some miscommunications between Pak and China and Pakistan needs to counter this anti – CPEC propaganda.

The western anti mindset against Chinese International Economic policies has already attributed to the consecutive failures of Chinese Investments in Venezuela, African countries, Sri Lanka. It is western bid to block the rising strong economy of China which is quite evident from the recent statements of the USA on the Chinese fiscal policies.

The CPEC will give a strong boost to the export of Chinese finished goods and raw material via Gwadar which will also benefit Pakistan if both follow and protect each other’s Economic interest. The recent propaganda engineered against CPEC both abroad and at home is to dent this initiative.

Ministry of Foreign affairs and other stakeholders need to formulate a workable policy to counter these negative vibes against our Sino Pak Economic bond. Let us be grateful to China as we have witnessed in the recent past Pak history that it was China which in fact continued its development projects here even when terrorism was at its peak in Pakistan.

Let us continue to enhance our friendship and level of cooperation with China and our policy towards China should be friendlier. Also, we should not ignore the USA as it has its own importance in this region and it is equally important for us too.

Let us not forget that the USA bases its Foreign policies to fulfill its own geopolitical targets.

The US has been giving significant and weapon only when the USA needed Pak help and hence we also need to watch our national interest through our balanced Foreign policy towards the USA.

Our relations with the USA need to be restored and we need to objectively analyze those factors which are creating negativity and how can the misunderstanding between Pak and the USA be cleared.

“War on terror” slogan of USA is dying now with the passage of time whereas the war on terror has already entered like a virus in the entire Muslim world. This virus called “war on terror” is spreading among the Muslims and virus of Daesh is drastically damaging the fiber of unity of Muslim Ummah.

Pakistan needs to handle these issues by improving relations with fellow Muslim countries and USA at the same time.

(The writer is a PPP Senator, former Interior Minister of Pakistan, and Chairman of think tank “Global Eye” and Senate Body on Interior and Narcotics. rmalik1212@gmail.com @senrehmanmalik)