By Senator A Rehman Malik
Former Federal Interior Minister
Originally Published By The Nation
Dear Prime Minister, I write to you today under great urgency in back drop of certain allegations of supporting terrorists that are a result of false propaganda by anti-Pakistan elements/states that are casting long shadows of gloom over the nation’s future foreign relations. We cannot ignore the fact that in the recent past, due to the Government’s debilitated and complacent attitude, we suffered irreparable damage to our Foreign Policy that has placed us in diplomatic wilderness.
Today after laying down more than 60,000 lives and suffering a loss of more than $123-billion for participating in the War on Terror, which was brought upon us in the greater interest of USA’s geo-strategic ambitions, we stand isolated due to our inept and casual handling of the foreign affairs. We are faced with gloomy prospects of a humiliating retreat in our economy, internal security, foreign policies and the foreign reserves. We have earned only internal political polarization and have surrendered space to various extremist narratives and barriers. The absence of practical guidelines from the Parliament has diminished it into an inflated debating club, which is losing its utility. We should have been treated as victims with all our sacrifices in the War on Terror but on the contrary we are being named as supporters of terrorists because of our failure to counter anti-Pakistan propaganda.
It has now left the nation wondering why Pakistan has been led to become an international punch bag, and above all, where shall it all lead to? Do we have a strategy to regain our lost grounds with the international community? Do we have a strong way forward to expose the continued evil designs of India and war games designed by Indian PM Modi to expand his designs from Afghanistan to China?
Our insensitivity towards the engineered perception, created by Indian media regarding the BRICS ‘Xiamen Declaration’ of 4 September, 2017, is a wake-up call. Sadly, we failed to recognize the dimensions and threats concealed in President Donald Trump’s ‘Afghan Policy’ unveiled on 22 August, 2017, and the linkage with the Indian tirade against Pakistan fuelled by its zeal in diplomatically isolating Pakistan. The nation has not yet seen anything concrete to counter this, except a track II meeting with USA at the lower midlevel.
Rising anti-Muslim hysteria being whipped up by India in an effort to find a cozy berth on the USA led block speaks volumes about our inability to take up the challenge in line with the aspirations of our public who have voted us into our respective positions. It is indeed tragic and humiliating that due to selfish and self-motivated diplomatic behavior, not a single Islamic country said a single word in our defense in the face of President Donald Trump’s barrage of accusations against Pakistan. Do the Muslim countries not know of our sacrifices in the War on Terror? Or is it some other motive that has led them to sealing their lips in front of the Trump administration?
Furthermore, our failure to recognize the ulterior motives and Indian strategies for the ‘Deklan Issue’ and its subsequent resolution, as a forerunner of the BRICS summit in China, and subsequently failing to secure a position of even an observer in the BRICS summit, speaks volumes about our silent foreign policy. The absence of any pre-emptive action from our side only adds insult to injury.
Sadly, the continued inertness to respond to the recent developments, narrated above, simply reflects the total incapacitation of our foreign policy. The negligent performance of Foreign Office, whose senior officials are engaged in internal squabbling, have only facilitated the transformation of Indian PM Narendra Modi’s fictional ambitions into ‘Narendra Modi’s War’, as was done in case of USA Congressman’s “Charlie Wilson’s War”. The absence of any mention of Indian atrocities in Kashmir from all forums, including BRICS, remains a glaring gap in our foreign policy efforts.
I recall, that when we were faced with similar risks in our tenure, President Asif Ali Zardari had the vision to develop “The Friends of Pakistan” forum that helped put our narrative across the world effectively.
Dear Mr. Prime Minister, the nation needs mitigation of these grievances urgently and wants to break out of this vicious cycle of failures. It will probably not suffice to concede to India’s baseless accusations, and accept that there are said groups present in Pakistan. Sir, this is an admission of failure, which coming from the government can be diplomatically fatal. We need an effective and sustainable narrative to dispel the negative perception of our motherland.
Our nation is extremely perturbed on the genocide of the Rohingya Muslims triggered in Myanmar in synchronization with India’s allegations and announcement to deport 60,000 Rohingya Muslims from India. The atrocities have been confirmed by UN and beg an appropriate national response beyond mere lip service from Pakistan’s government. Where is that very same UN which seeks extension in the stay of Afghan refugees?
What we need at the moment is complete solidarity between the nation and its institutions. We also need to muster up and trust our collective wisdom to counter the present crises both at home and abroad. I propose in the larger national interest to urgently convene an All Parties Conference (APC) without delay to develop consensus and chalk out our way forward through these troubled waters. We should be able to modify and invigorate our narrative to set our own house right and come up with a befitting diplomatic response to change the biased mind-set of the international community against Pakistan.
We should also follow the APC with a Joint Parliamentary Session, and discuss the issues arising from Mr. Donald Trump’s Afghan Policy and Indian ambitions, and our future road map to meet these challenges. Moreover, we must not hesitate to identify our failures and weaknesses, and devise alternate means to arrest the declining situation. I hope that in face of the rising urgency to address these issues, you would call the APC and seek the calling of Joint Session through your good offices.
Mr. Prime Minister in these difficult times, you have a huge responsibility of putting Pakistan’s clearer perspective out into the world. And it is my humble advice to you to take this initiative. You will not be surprised to find the entire nation standing behind you in the larger interest of Pakistan.