On the occasion of Defense Day, we salute all our martyrs who sacrificed their lives to protect the Pakistani nation against terrorists and enemies. Their sacrifices inspire us to strive towards a Pakistan that is a reflection of Quaid’s vision and a beacon of hope for the Muslim ummah as a democratic, tolerant and progressive nation.
After the conclusion of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Islamabad visit the most frequently used word by both sides was reset. But no one explained what this reset really means. When we look at the diplomatic posturing of the American side then it is clear that their position against Pakistan has become more aggressive rather than reconciliatory. America pushed for Pakistan’s inclusion in FATF grey list; raised questions about funding from IMF; demand respecting American sanctions on Iran; appointed special forces expert to assume command of international forces in Afghanistan; cut military and economic aid to Pakistan; provide space to India to gain influence in Afghanistan; and appointed a known hawk towards Pakistan Zalmay Khalilzad as special advisor for Afghanistan. So when both Americans and Pakistan FM says there is reset that could only mean that they expect Pakistan to change its position.
What has Pakistan promised to them? This is an important question that no one seems to be answering. It is very important to build a national consensus on foreign policy and any unilateral decision will be detrimental to national interest. To achieve this consensus I propose the following:
- PTI government should brief party and parliamentary heads of other parties about their dialogue with Americans.
- A Foreign Policy Advisory committee should be formed that include experts to advise the government on reformulating and reviewing our foreign policy doctrine.
I have been privately sending foreign policy advice to FM, Senate Foreign Policy Committee Chair, and other foreign policy planners. I will send them my two cents views on the American position in the region and our options in the next few days.
Shah Mehmood Qureshi was a failure as a foreign minister in PPP term and his performance in last two weeks suggests he does not have the temperament or the diplomatic skills to conduct our foreign policy in these difficult times. He may be better suited as an interior minister. I hope PM Imran Khan will realize this sooner than later and replace him with a more capable person.
By Abdul Quayyum Khan Kundi