No to others’ wars

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PRIME Minister Imran Khan has said that Pakistan had suffered a lot due to its policy of becoming a part of foreign conflicts in the past, vowing that the country from now onwards will only play a conciliatory role between rival nations. Addressing an international conference ‘Margalla Dialogue ’19’ – organised by Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) in the federal capital on Thursday he said one main lesson we learnt in the last four decades is that we must not ally ourselves with any country where we have to fight someone else’s war.
The commitment expressed by the Prime Minister would widely be welcomed by all Pakistanis who care about present and future of the country and want our leadership to learn from mistakes of the past. The approach to mediate in conflicts and not become part of the problem has, as we witnessed recently, the potential to raise prestige and image of the country in the comity of nations. Pakistan has paid a heavy price for its uncalled-for alignment with some particular powers and unnecessary and unjustified enmity and tension with others. Unfortunately, decisions on crucial policy issues have consistently been made on the basis of personal whims or petty personal and group interests rather than on the basis of core interests of the country. Right from decision of the then Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan to ignore invitation from Moscow and visit instead Washington, we deviated from the fundamental principle of safeguarding national interests at all costs and in all circumstances. We joined SEATO and CENTO to strengthen the impression of becoming active part of the so-called cold war and it is widely believed that it was because of such follies that the country was dismembered in 1971. It is all the more shocking that our allies used us mercilessly to advance their agendas and designs but left us in the lurch when the country faced challenges including those of survival. Again most of our problems today have their origin in our thoughtless strategy to become a party in the long drawn Afghan conflict. The country has badly been entangled in ticklish issues like terrorism, extremism, arms and narcotics smuggling and social and economic consequences of unending presence of millions of refugees due to our inability to resist the temptation of becoming part of regional or global conflicts. The problem would remain there despite clear-cut announcement of the incumbent Prime Minister until and unless decisions are institutionalized and not made by individuals on the basis of vested interests. There is also need to strengthen economy of the country as we cannot protect our political sovereignty with a begging bowl.