The China formula

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Situationer

M. Ziauddin

There are a number of very powerful and highly influential lobbies in Washington working over-time to malign Pakistan, create problems for Islamabad and undermine this country’s socio-economic and diplomatic interests.
The most tendentious of these lobbies in our assessment is the one sponsored and funded by the American Indians, morally and materially supported as well by New Delhi itself. This support from New Delhi has increased manifold since the advent of BJP Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Not that this Indian lobby in Washington was ever soft on Pakistan. But before Modi, it would be seen focusing more on promoting New Delhi’s diplomatic, commercial and technological interests among the influential US political circles rather than pointing all its guns on Pakistan as it is engaged in doing currently.
Though its latest effort to get Pakistan declared as a pariah state for being allegedly a terror sponsoring state has miserably failed but there are no signs that it has given up its campaign in this regard.
Understandably, this campaign mounted by the Indian lobby is finding popular traction among those Americans who are increasingly coming under the influence of the lobby suffering from Islamophobia. The anti -proliferation lobby, a highly influential circle of civil and political activists in Washington, also seems willing to join these two lobbies mentioned above hoping to use the joint efforts to attain its own objective of relieving Pakistan of its nuclear assets.
And who does not know that most of the influential think tanks in Washington suffer from an acute anti-Russia and anti-China bias.Ideas that emanate from these think tanks on a daily basis have given rise to highly influential anti-Russia and anti-China lobbies in Washington.
And since the launch of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)Pakistan also has, by association, become a target of the anti-China lobby and since dubiously sourced media stories of Afghan Taliban getting material (read weapons) support from Russia started appearing in the international media the anti-Russia lobby has, again by association, started classifying Pakistan as a country to bereviled regularly.
And the US media influenced by all these lobbies seem to have turned unduly hostile towards Pakistan.
And to top it all there are a number of American Pakistanis, each one of them for his or her own personal reasons ( for example Hussain Haqqani) but some even believing to be doing the right thing have been now for years using their clouts, whatever their worth for unhelpful purposes as far as Pakistan is concerned.
When you sum up these anti-Pakistan efforts being made by all these lobbies and also by the interested American Pakistanis the combined effect appears to be rather highly suffocating for Pakistan in Washington. We seem to stand friendless in Washington, the capital of one of the major powers in today’s multipolar world.
No matter how close we are to China and Russia, if Washington decides to deal a deadly blow to our global, regional and domestic interests,neither Moscow nor Beijing can do much to help us withstand the damage. In the same way if we go back to the American camp lock, stock and barrel, it would be folly to believe that the Americans would pick up a fight with either China or Russia if the two jointly or separately decided to deal us a few decisive left hooks.
Under the circumstances, the job of our embassy in Washington would be nothing less than Herculean. Mere career diplomats perhaps would find it almost impossible to cope with the situation. In fact a quick run through the list of Pakistanis considered intellectually capable of dealing with the situation with the needed intelligence and sagacity makes it very clear that we lack people having the capacity required for the job. Or perhaps there is no one in this country either in our intellectual circle, political parties, civil or military service or academia who has the ability to make what is white look like black or vise- versa.
So, what do we do to stop these Washington lobbies and US media from pushing us towards an impossible situation where we would be left with no option but to do as told and bring about a qualitative change in our policies that we have been following over the last 70 years failing which we would find ourselves bracketed with North Korea?
To start with, we could learn from what our friend of all seasons, China has been doing. A country which had remained in total isolation for almost four decades hiding itself behind what was called the bamboo curtain, has been since around 1979 dealing with a totally hostile and partly indifferent world to become within a decade or two almost at par with the US in almost every department leaving behind by lengths Europe including Russia.
Without changing what it is ideologically or its global claims on land and sea China today has established the best of trade relations with almost every country in the world including the US and India. In fact its trade and economic relations with the US perhaps surpasses those of its similar relations with any other country in the world and it has never let the territorial disputes it has with India come in the way of promoting trade relations with New Delhi.
In contrast from day one our approach to the Kashmir issue has been flawed. And with the passage of time this is being proved on daily basis. Kashmir is a bilateral dispute which we should use every peaceful avenue available to resolve. But we should not make it our problem and let it come in the way of our progress and advancement socially, politically and diplomatically both in the region as well as globally.
Kashmir is India’s problem which India has been confronted with since it tried to forcibly integrate it into the Indian Union very early in the day. Every ten years and now almost every five years New Delhi has to contend with uprisings in the Valley. The current one is also making it impossible for India to maintain its image as the world’s biggest democracy. The possibility is sooner than laterthe Modi government will have to talk to the Hurriyat leadership. And when that happens it would be impossible for India to keep Pakistan out of the talks which is when India would be left with no option but to agree to tripartite negotiations on the fate of Kashmiristo be decided in accordance with the wishes of the people of Kashmir.
Patience is what is required on the part of Pakistan at the moment and meanwhile, it would do well to establish economic relation with India, a process which would start neutralizing the efforts of Indian lobby in Washington to get us declared a pariah state. This would automatically cool down the tension on the Line of Control ruling out any possibility of the region becoming a nuclear flash-point thus neutralizing the non-proliferation lobby in Washington.
We also need to go after Afghan Taliban enjoying sanctuary in Pakistan forcing them to start talking to the Ghani government in Kabul.This would neutralize the lobbies that have been forcing Washington to launch drone attacks inside Pakistani territory.