Foreign policy review

PRIME Minister Nawaz Sharif had a brainstorming session with all those who matter to review foreign policy priorities in the backdrop of recent developments in the region and beyond and emerging regional and global scenarios. While officers concerned briefed the Prime Minister on fast changing diplomatic scenario and proposed what could be the response of the country, Mian Nawaz Sharif expressed satisfaction on some aspects of the policy and issued guidelines on others including Kashmir, Afghanistan and building economic and trade linkages to promote Pakistan’s development.
Fundamentals of foreign policy of a country remain somewhat same but the overall policy cannot be static especially in view of what others are doing and its implications and ramifications for the country. There had been indications of strategic changes taking place in the region, necessitating review of Pakistan’s foreign policy. Relevant people must have been pondering over these developments and how the country should adjust its position and priorities but Friday’s meeting was somewhat belated and should have been called much earlier. It seems we have no plans and policies of our own and we merely react to policies and approaches of other countries affecting Pakistan. Ever since the Modi Government came into power in India, frantic efforts are being made by New Delhi to sort out the Kashmir dispute through use of force against people demanding their right to self-determination. What transpired in Washington during meeting of President Trump and Prime Minister Modi conveys the impression that our Kashmir policy is confined to weekly narration of ground situation in Occupied Kashmir by FO spokesperson and mentioning of the dispute in the speech of the Prime Minister before the UN General Assembly. Pakistan has a strong case but it seems our diplomats are shy of raising it bilaterally or publically in the host countries. Similarly, we have not been able to sensitise the international public opinion either about gross human rights violations in Occupied Kashmir or India’s state-sponsored terrorism in Pakistan. The Prime Minister, from the very first day, has been emphasizing on trade diplomacy but its success can be gauged by the fact that exports of the country have been dwindling during the last four years. Again, Pakistan should have a clear cut policy on Afghanistan, Gulf crisis and CPEC on which hinges future development and economic security of the country but our approach is confused because of domestic wrangling and leg-pulling of the elected Government that hardly finds time to concentrate on real challenges of the country. In which direction we are pushing Pakistan?

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