Diplomatic success of Pakistan? | By Maliha Mughal


Diplomatic success of Pakistan?

THE undiplomatic endeavours during the Khan’s regime deteriorated Pakistan’s reputation globally.

When Shahbaz Sharif’s coalition administration took office, there was a compelling need to fortify ties with the rest of the world.

Foreign Minister of Pakistan Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has embarked on a persistent mission to revive Pakistan’s diplomatic connections, particularly with the West, by engaging them.

Since taking office, he has promoted the need for cooperation and interaction with other countries.

Bilawal successfully reconciled the diplomatic gap with Pakistan’s allies and restored balance to the country’s diplomatic ties.

He seems to play a vital role in strengthening Pakistan’s connections with the Gulf Cooperation Council, the European Union, the United States and other allied nations.

His productive visits to significant countries, like the US, China, KSA, Turkey, UAE, Iran, and specifically Germany, along with his presence and participation in high-level discussions, have helped Pakistan regain its reputation as a friendly nation among the diplomatic circles.

Foreign Minister of Pakistan Bilawal Bhutto Zardari took an official visit to Germany at the invitation of his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock on October 6-7, 2022.

The visit aimed to strengthen Pakistan’s economic relations with Germany. During his visit, Germany’s Foreign Minister endorsed Pakistan’s position on the Kashmir conflict which is unusual.

Furthermore, she stated that Berlin has a “role and responsibility” concerning the conflict in Kashmir.

She praised the nuclear-armed rival nations’ February 2021 Kashmir cease-fire pact, encouraging both parties to expand on it.

Moreover, she emphasizes that Germany encourages “intensified UN participation” in finding a peaceful settlement to the crisis was undesirable for India.

The Indian government strongly disagreed with Baerbock’s statements about Kashmir since India vigorously rejects any outside engagement in what it defines as a bilateral matter with Pakistan.

On the other hand, India views Kashmir as a domestic concern and asserts that normalization in Kashmir has been achieved by unilaterally rescinding its special status.

India drew harsh criticism for recent but unusual back-to-back American actions because Donald Blome, the US Ambassador in Islamabad, visited Azad Jammu and Kashmir for three days and met with senior AJK authorities.

Blome’s visit aimed to “highlight the US-Pakistan alliance and the two nations’ extensive economic, cultural and people-to-people links,” the US embassy stated in a subsequent official statement.

This was enough to spark outrage in India and prompt a formal reaction from the government.

However, MEA adjusted its narrative and emphasized charging Pakistan with supporting terrorism while dismissing the more prevalent assertion of Kashmir being their internal matter.

However, this seems just to be a response to recent comments made by Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in which he erroneously charged Pakistan with “international terrorism.”

The USA never clearly supported Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir. Although the USA was one of Pakistan’s very first friends, the two countries have had a tense relationship for the past 30 years almost.

The United States provided Pakistan with funds and weapons in the 1980s to aid the training of the Mujahideen who battled the Soviets in Afghanistan.

The USA left the area after the end of the Afghan-Soviet War after using and betraying Pakistan.

The US, directly and indirectly, maintained a hold over Pakistan to take America’s side in various situations through cooperation or threat.

For instance, the US stopped providing Pakistan with military and economic help after learning that Pakistan possessed a nuclear weapon in 1990.

Furthermore, following 9/11, the United States urged Pakistan to join its fight against terrorism in Afghanistan.

Similarly, Germany, being a non-permanent member of the Security Council, has never explicitly and unequivocally supported Pakistan’s position on Kashmir.

When the Indian government removed the special status of Kashmir unilaterally, Pakistan requested that the Security Council President convene an emergency open meeting on August 13, 2019, under the topic “The India Pakistan question.

Despite the extensive and diverse ties between Pakistan and Germany since 1951, Germany supported India’s stance on Kashmir.

Therefore, the US ambassador’s visit to AJK and the German foreign minister’s unusual support of Pakistan’s stance on the Kashmir conflict may not be mere coincidences.

Pakistan should not portray these new developments as a clear and wholly diplomatic victory without critically analyzing the relations of India with the West.

The Foreign Minister of Germany did not significantly alter her nation’s position on the Kashmir conflict with her speech.

Baerbock merely emphasized that Germany wishes to see the UN get more involved in attempting to settle the Kashmir conflict amicably. But India may find the wording to be distinct this time.

The recent visit to AJK by US Ambassador Donald Blome is nothing more than a clear indication of the West’s frustration and dissatisfaction with India’s stance on the situation in Ukraine.

Because Germany and other Western nations have never highlighted Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir. It is only a covert message to India to discourage it from its relations with Russia.

A significant objective of Pakistani diplomacy throughout the entirety of its history has been to persuade the world to support its position on Kashmir problem.

And on some level, it hasn’t often been successful. However, given the shifting geopolitical landscape internationally, the US does not want India to be a Russian ally.

Now one can determine if India’s ultra-realist policies are allowing Pakistan to forge closer connections with western nations or if Pakistan is getting used by the West again to redirect India towards them.

—The writer is currently working as Research Associate at Institute of Peace and Contemporary Affairs, Islamabad.


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