We are all friends

10 Jul 2016

In essence, at least

By: Syed Zeeshan Haider

If one wishes to have an objective outlook towards the foreign policy of Pakistan, a close look at its relations with the neighbouring countries will suffice. From the beginning, Pakistan and India have been at loggerheads with each other, resulting in two enormous wars and frequent border skirmishes. Our relations with Iran, however, have been unusually pleasant in the past but even they seem to be deteriorating now. The relations with the new Afghan government, like Iran, have been friendly in the recent past specifically with the Afghan Taliban until quite recently. In short, at this particular point in time, Pakistan’s relations with all its neighbouring countries, except China, are in a state of constant decline. Recently, the border skirmishes at the Turkhum border resulted in the death of an Army Officer; Major Jawad. Why is it that Pakistan is going through immense loneliness when it comes to this part of the world? According to a significant portion of the Pakistani intellectual community, two-nation theory was what led to the formation of Pakistan. Some of the intellectuals are against this notion as well.  However, the formation of Bangladesh in 1971 affected the two-nation theory in an immensely negative way, which makes it even difficult to observe its creation through the lens of this theory. Anyway, it is important to understand the reasons behind our negative international standing first before reaching any concrete solution.

Let us first have a look at our relations with our neighbouring countries. We have had several wars with India. We lost East Pakistan and the bitterness continues even to this day. Apparently, we have several religious bases to back up our unpleasant relations with India despite the presence of a humungous number of Muslims in the country. Even if we ignore this fact, why is it that Pakistan has not been able to maintain good relations even with its fellow Muslim countries? Iran has been a good neighbour but owing to their complications with Saudi Arabia, Pakistan has always maintained its distance as it considers Saudi Arabia closer to itself. Similarly, Afghanistan’s good relations with India have been the chief reason as to why our relations with Iraq have not been pleasant recently. It seems like Pakistan works on the principle of my friend’s enemy is my enemy. Up until now, only China has been able to maintain thoroughly good relations with us even though it is not an Islamic country. The main reason behind this sheer complication is the fact that our foreign policy is not aligned with the requirements of a modern nation. We need to revisit our foreign policy and rewrite it from the scratch. Pakistan does not even have a permanent Foreign Minister. It is about time we self-indulgent and quit pushing away every country that exhibits any signs of unfriendliness with our friends. Take the example of Europe. The entire continent fought several wars amongst themselves. However, their current situation suggests the opposite. Pakistan needs to move on and conform to the modern world. An intellectually well-equipped team needs to be appointed at the foreign ministry that oversees the transition through and through and make efforts to bring us together with our assumed enemies.

Pakistan keeps blaming Afghanistan for terrorism in the country while Afghanistan keeps doing the same. It is the need of the hour that we put an end to this blame game and look at the bigger picture. If India is investing in Afghanistan, so should we. It is actually very easy to get our relations with all our neighbouring countries back on the track except for India maybe, at this point in time. Pakistan Army is working day in and day out to eradicate the terrorists from the country through Zarb-e-Azab. The results have been tremendous. Therefore, this is one of the best times to improve our ambassadorial relations with the rest of the world. Our relations with Bangladesh worsened mostly after the execution of Jamat-e-Islami members. However, we should grab this opportunity and fix whatever we can without aggravating the situation. As far as India is concerned, our governments need to sit together and solve mutual issues peacefully. As for Afghanistan, the international community has learned its lesson as to how neglecting it can lead to the formation of lethal terrorist groups. Hopefully, the world will not commit the same mistake again.

Lastly, we need to get our foreign policy back on our track and work hard to be friendly towards all our neighbouring countries. The world has progresses so much and we are still standing at where we were 70 years ago. No country is an absolute friend or an enemy. All we need to do is to keep our relations with all of them friendly for it is actually the constant thought of animosity that is lethal, not the animosity itself. In essence, we are all friends.

Published in Pakistan Today on 10 July 2016.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Hit Counter provided by Skylight