Declaration of BRICS Summit in China should raise concerns in Pakistan

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Pakistan’s PML N government faced a diplomatic failure as evident from BRICS Summit declaration. It did not recognize Pakistan’s sacrifices in the War on Terror despite earlier pronouncements by Chinese and Russian governments after President Trump’s speech. It also did not appreciate the Pakistani military’s successful operations in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) to eradicate terrorist networks. Our contributions to host Afghan refugees was also ignored. Rather it mentions allegedly Pakistan based Lashkar e Taiba (LeT) and Jaisha e Mohammad (JeM) in the terrorist’s organization list which is a departure from earlier Chinese position as it has traditionally refused to recognize these on any multilateral platform. Separation of Haqqani Network from Taliban and inclusion of it as part of Al-Qaida should also be of concern to Pakistan as Pakistan has been blamed to support it.

Declaration lists all major crisis Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan but there is no mention of long standing Kashmir issue between India and Pakistan.

The declaration also gives a role to India in resolving the Afghan crisis as part of Moscow Format as well as a member of Heart of Asia Istanbul Process. This is another diplomatic snub as Pakistan has been vehemently opposed to Indian role in Afghanistan because of her security concerns emanating from public threats by Indian Senior ministers and support for Baloch separatist movements.

The tone and tenure of the document suggest that increase in American forces in Afghanistan will be opposed without seeking approval from United Nations Security Council. I support this because it has been my long held position that presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan should end as a result of a roadmap developed through the dialogue process. For the transitionary period, a fresh mandate for international forces should be sought through a resolution from UN Security Council. Instead of US/NATO, UN peace keeping forces should be introduced in Afghanistan while political, economic, and social issues are resolved in the dialogue process.

View held in the declaration that unilateral imposition of sanctions by some countries is detrimental to international order and has been non-productive seems valid and needs to be considered in future policy development. It has resulted in economic hardship for all rather than to have an isolated impact on those that are targeted. It has a multilateral dimension rather than a bilateral impact as experienced by European countries as in the case of Russian sanctions by United States.

Here are some of the salient features of BRICS Xiamen Summit declaration:

  • Our cooperation since 2006 has fostered the BRICS spirit featuring mutual respect and understanding, equality, solidarity, openness, inclusiveness and mutually beneficial cooperation, which is our valuable asset and an inexhaustible source of strength for BRICS cooperation.
  • We draw satisfaction from the many fruitful results of our cooperation, including establishing the New Development Bank (NDB) and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA), formulating the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership.
  • Valuing the G20’s continued role as the premier forum for international economic cooperation, we reiterate our commitments to the implementation of the outcomes of G20 summits, including the Hamburg Summit and the Hangzhou Summit.
  • We condemn unilateral military interventions, economic sanctions and arbitrary use of unilateral coercive measures in violation of international law and universally recognized norms of international relations. We emphasize that no country should enhance its security at the expense of the security of others.
  • We reaffirm our commitment to the United Nations as the universal multilateral organization entrusted with the mandate for maintaining international peace and security, advance global development and to promote and protect human rights.
  • We recall the 2005 World Summit Outcome document and reaffirm the need for a comprehensive reform of the UN, including its Security Council, with a view to making it more representative, effective and efficient, and to increase the representation of the developing countries so that it can adequately respond to global challenges. China and Russia reiterate the importance they attach to the status and role of Brazil, India and South Africa in international affairs and support their aspiration to play a greater role in the UN.
  • We reiterate that the only lasting solution to the crisis in Syria is through an inclusive “Syrian-led, Syrian-owned” political process which safeguards the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Syria, in pursuance of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254(2015), and promotes the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people.
  • – We reiterate the urgent need for a just, lasting and comprehensive solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in order to achieve peace and stability in the Middle East on the basis of relevant United Nations resolutions, the Madrid Principles, the Arab Peace Initiative and previous agreements between the parties through negotiations with a view to creating an independent, viable, territorially contiguous Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security with Israel.
  • We strongly deplore the nuclear test conducted by the DPRK. We express deep concern over the ongoing tension and prolonged nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, and emphasize that it should only be settled through peaceful means and direct dialogue of all the parties concerned.
  • We firmly support the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear issue and call upon all relevant parties to comply fully with their obligations and ensure full and effective implementation of the JCPOA to promote international and regional peace and stability.
  • We strongly condemn terrorist attacks resulting in death to innocent Afghan nationals. There is a need for immediate cessation of violence. We reaffirm our support to the people of Afghanistan in their efforts to achieve “Afghan-led and Afghan-owned” peace and national reconciliation, to the ongoing international efforts, including the Moscow Format of consultations on Afghanistan and “Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process”, as well as multimodal connectivity projects to promote peace and stability, to the fight against terrorism and drug-threat, and to the national reconstruction efforts by Afghanistan. We support the efforts of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces in fighting terrorist organizations.
  • We, in this regard, express concern on the security situation in the region and violence caused by the Taliban, ISIL/DAISH, Al-Qaida and its affiliates including Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, TTP and Hizb ut-Tahrir.
  • We call upon the international community to establish a genuinely broad international counter-terrorism coalition and support the UN’s central coordinating role in this regard. We stress that the fight against terrorism must be conducted in accordance with international law, including the Charter of the United Nations, international refugee and humanitarian law, human rights and fundamental freedoms.
  • We consider the UN has a central role in developing universally accepted norms of responsible state behavior in the use of ICTs to ensure a peaceful, secure, open, cooperative, stable, orderly, accessible and equitable ICT environment. We emphasize the paramount importance of the principles of international law enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, particularly the state sovereignty, the political independence, territorial integrity and sovereign equality of states, non-interference in internal affairs of other states and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The idea of BRICS Plus is an opportunity for Pakistan and must be explored. This can help the country gain access to more markets at favorable terms as well as a link to its China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to all these countries.

Policy makers in Pakistan must focus and deliberate on this declaration and come up with a policy that would ensure that we remain a global and regional player.

By Abdul Quayyum Khan Kundi

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