Deviating from the status quo in Pakistan’s foreign policy, prevalent for decades government after government, is a tough ask amid such internal pressures and distractions and external obligations and compulsions that need no introduction. It is a question of statesmanship extending an olive branch with dignity and honor to ill-designed and menacing antagonists of international power politics with tactical gains through diplomatic art, skill and acumen. Tough ask indeed!
With all thy faults, we cannot ignore thee still! India, an inevitable and horrendous rival of Pakistan, clearly maligns the latter with obnoxious propaganda and with one lethal conspiracy after another, needs to be addressed with statesmanship. With both India and Pakistan being nuclear powers, balance of power has been updated to such a balance of terror in this region that consultation, not confrontation remains the viable key to resolving outstanding bilateral issues.
Pakistani media and foreign policy must work together with winning insights and initiatives to gauge and respond to India ripping human rights in Kashmir, conspiring to air Pakistan as a terrorist state, hiding its sabotage and subversion in Pakistan, threatening to aggravate Pakistan’s water problems through violating Indus Waters Treaty, disrupting the potential of Pakistan’s CEPEC connection, plotting in vain to keep Pakistan out of international sports contentions and so on.
Looming large on Pakistan’s foreign policy horizon to be addressed with astute ambassadorial, statesman-like and winning art, skill and acumen are US whims and fancies from the so-considered little issues as that of justice for and extradition of Afia Salam to Pakistan to US economic and military aid with strings policy and manipulating World Bank and IMF aid conditions for Pakistan in return for US setting and dictating the so-said war on terror priorities for Pakistan and its cherished results.
To be competently fostered are Pakistan’s priority relations with the Ummah, its indomitable bonds of fraternity with Saudi Arabia and Iran, its all-time special links with Turkey, its all-weather and time-tested ties with China, its growing relations with Russia, European Union, Scandinavian countries, Japan, Far East, countries of Organization of African Unity (OAU) and Organization of American States (OAS), Australia and Canada where sky is the limit to search the potential of relations indeed.
Amid ingenuity in foreign policy when institutions like IoBM earn global affiliations and accreditations from world accrediting bodies as EdUniversal, Erasmus Mundus and others, innovative and specific ambassadorial provisions in coordination with the HEC may enable and enhance value-adding interaction with concerned international organizations.
What is to be borne in letter and in spirit that complacency, ego or vanity and procrastination have no room in the life of an envoy or emissary so noble, humble and gentle in projecting a national point and winning it over with grace, dignity and honor. It is this test of astute statesmanship and ambassadorial acumen that has to be devised with pertinent insights and initiatives and those at the helm of foreign affairs need to clear before embarking on a journey in the Foreign Service of Pakistan.
Parvez Jamil is HoD and Senior Faculty Public Affairs, CBM, IoBM, Karachi. parvez@iobm,edu,pk