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An independent foreign policy – A necessary condition

Pakistan should follow an independent foreign policy. For this purpose the incumbent government should make changes domestically. Global changes are taking places dramatically. It is now the opportune time to review the policy and frame an independent foreign policy.

Recently the large deal is with the country’s increasing economic dependency on China and Russia’s growing interest in Pakistan. Increasing its economic dependency on other regional states and big power is in no way show that the country is in a position to follow an independent foreign policy. No doubt in many cases Pakistan has openly and vigorously pursued a policy that exhibit balance and sharpness in domestic politics that can create an environment where domestic and foreign policy issues supplement each other.

Pakistan will have to work on its domestic economic structure to encourage its local economic output, build corporate strengths and ameliorate living standards of its people to become a state that is respected regionally and globally and can pursue its national interest aggressively. Pakistan needs to show that it has the necessary national harmony and unity to secure its national interests.

Any advancement in Pakistan’s foreign policy will only be a meaningless dedication based on oratory rather than actions. Pakistan needs to take step carefully in its engagement with the big powers.

The country should not have any confrontation with any states but only should have an independent foreign policy. Pakistan’s foreign policy has for long remained pro US. Now it should review the policy and pay its attention also towards Iran and Soviet Union. It is a wise advice that Pakistan has not taken as yet. To increase its economic dependency on other regional states, and even United States in no way demonstrates that the country is in a position to follow an independent foreign policy. It must also end the present institutional antagonistic in the country and become economically independent.

Pakistan’s foreign policy is prisoner to an ad hoc process, that continues to bend the country’s foreign policy to their advantage. Pakistan civilian and military elite remain divided over the question of who can effectively manage strategic affairs related to Pakistan’s foreign policy. Pakistan also remains hostage to its associated ideologies that remain a considerable hindrance in the way of pursuing a more rational foreign policy.

 

A section of Pakistan’s ruling elite may believe that good economic and diplomatic relations with Israel too, which Pakistan doesn’t accept as a state, can serve Pakistan’s national interests better than the on-going continuous hostility towards it. Pakistan is not in a condition to stand on its own feet economically, it has encouraged economic investments in Pakistan to its advantage. The dependency on China has put it in the role of China rather than negotiate on equal footing to protect its national interests.

Over the last years, Russia being isolated by the West has been making friendship toward Pakistan. It is looking towards East to deepen economic and security ties to prevent the recent western blockade. Russia is willing to invest billions of dollars in Pakistan’s market. Both countries recently agreed to a massive gas pipeline venture. Russia may have located some shared objectives with Pakistan where it still remains to be seen which country stands to gain more.

Our foreign policy has mostly been personal relations driven rather than being national interest oriented. Pakistan has lost more than 50,000 civilians, thousands of military personnel, and suffered more than 100 billion dollars in finances in the war against terrorism was not even mentioned in the speech of the US President Donald Trump. Foreign relations of Pakistan have been gloomy in this democratic term due to many reasons.

Our foreign policy has mostly been personal relations driven rather than being national interest oriented. The poor soft power projection has also led to the failure of our foreign policy. India, on the other hand through its soft power has influenced the Western media despite the internal racial, religious, and ethnic discord.

A good foreign policy exhibits national goals and reflects a clear vision of a nation; ours lacks so and only reacts to global events and designs. In this context the role of think tanks in the formulation of foreign policies is very significant. In Pakistan, there are small numbers of truly think tanks, mostly led by retired diplomats or generals, and that too their hard task seriously.

The civil-military equation and limited civil autonomy on affairs pertaining to India, Afghanistan, and Iran is negligible. Generally good foreign policy outlines national goals are required. Great problems to our foreign policy are ever growing and we are not doing much to tackle them. India our enemy has stepped up a drive to isolate us in the region and has been successful in its careful tactics.

Pakistan seriously needs a well-trained and educted foreign minister and a shrewd and businessmen like politician. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) offer a great opportunity for Pakistan to find a solution to the longstanding issue of Kashmir.

Pakistan has produced many well equipped diplomats in the past but the current lot needs more capacity building to compete with the clever, well educated shrewd diplomats of the world. The US and China compete for global supremacy. Pakistan must not take sides by abandoning its former ally especially USA. Our experts must know the fact that the US is still the leader of the world affairs.

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