Undoubtedly, Pakistan’s geo-strategic location make it globally significant nation. Since its independence it is facing opposition of its traditional rival India which still continues to attack its sovereignty through various means. On the other front Pakistan is facing challenges from Afghan soil. As a brotherly Muslim state Pakistan extended its help to Afghan refugees during Russian invasion. Since then huge number of Afghan families have settled here and are not ready to go back. One of big aftermath of 9/11 is escalation in terrorism. Pakistan being an American ally suffered most in this scenario. Not only it had infiltration from border but international pressures and questions on its security situation caused setback to various developmental projects of Pakistan.
Despite support to Afghanistan for peace process initiation in the region and providing it Torkham border, never a sign of appreciation has come from Afghan side for Pakistan. Rather human and drug trafficking are on rise apart from easy runway for militants. Proofs of some high profile attacks showed that terrorists approached this border to make access in Pakistan. Evidences from arrested terrorists have claimed that Afghan spying network-NDS is aiding the TTP militants for promoting terrorism in Pakistan. In fact, NDS being mentor of Taliban has strong connexion with RAW and both ensure their best to damage Pakistan.
Iran as a Muslim country was expected to turn out as best neighbour for Pakistan but unfortunately both countries have odd relationship. Now India is cashing its business in Iran by investing in Chabahar Port. Recently Afghanistan, Iran and India signed for a mutual trade and business development on Chabahar Port. This trio state move show their insecurities against Pakistan’s mega billion project of CPEC with China. It shows that India wants to challenge its rivals China and Pakistan in South and Central Asia via Chabahar. Arrest of Indian spy Kulbhushan Yadev who was arrested in Pakistani territory while coming from Iran shows that Indo Iran nexus is quite strong against Pakistan. It was just one proof but recent killing of Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansur in a drone strike by US has raised serious concerns for Pakistan. Mullah Mansur was also targeted in Balochistan province while he was coming from Iran. Questions arise why USA chose Pakistani territory to carry out drone strike as it can be carried out anywhere else too. Secondly why Balochistan has remained volatile and was considered an easy to target by foreign elements. Answer to these questions is obviously clear that there are many countries which do not want Pakistan to move towards prosperity and US definitely has its own apprehensions from China. Though US supported Pakistan economically during war against terrorism but in return US has often acted like strangers on matter of drone strikes and other military deals.
The US also perceives India as much stronger wall against China and Pakistan and believes making India challenge for both countries through economic and military means. Relations between Pakistan and US may stretch towards stagnation because of current US mind-set against Pakistan. It seems that US is pushing Pakistan towards loneliness in the region to maintain its objective of supremacy through other neighbouring countries of Pakistan. Despite knowing that Pakistan is very serious towards its efforts for peace in Afghanistan as they are directly linked to peace in Pakistan, USA carried out drone strike in Pakistani territory and killed Taliban leader. Without realising the implications of this drone for Pakistan and taking Pakistan into confidence US is adopting cold attitude. Pakistan surely needs to develop strategic thinking and establish its relations with other South and Central Asian countries to excel. Solely depending on superpower and China may not help resolve its issues with its neighbouring countries.
Though Iran has offered Pakistan and China to join on Chabahar port but why not it halts sponsoring Pakistan rival countries, if it is so sincere with Pakistan. Certainly, Pakistan has to revise and reformulate its foreign policy towards regional and global players to come up as peace hailing country. We need to think on lines that why Pakistan is chosen for any turbulence in the region and certainly answer lies in its potential of resource richness and geo strategic importance. Therefore, work on CPEC must be carried out with dedication as future of Pakistan is associated with it and controversies and acts of sabotaging this project must be answered timely by authorities. National security risks and challenges must not be neglected and apparent policy of pushing Pakistan towards loneliness and instability by regional players be catered on immediate basis.
— The writer works for Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies, a think-tank based in Islamabad.