Under a hostile neighbourhood
Dr Muhammad Khan
5/5/2017

 

THERE is something really wrong with the foreign policy of Pakistan, which obliges its neighbouring states to act as rivals. Today, out of four neighbours, three neighbouring states have shown their unpleasant approach towards Pakistan.

THERE is something really wrong with the foreign policy of Pakistan, which obliges its neighbouring states to act as rivals. Today, out of four neighbours, three neighbouring states have shown their unpleasant approach towards Pakistan.
Animosity with India is something which can be understood as historical and owing to four wars and then he unresolved nature of Kashmir issue. Why Pakistan could not establish a good and brotherly relationship with Afghanistan and Iran. Pakistan has contributed too much towards Afghan masses in past few decades but still being hated by Kabul and Afghan masses.If India, a non-contiguous state can have a control over the Afghan policies and has earned the good will of the Afghan masses, what went wrong with Pakistan? Why it could not improve its relationship with Afghanistan in last seven decades. There have been unfriendly Kabul regimes throughout, but, the anger, the Afghan leadership is showing towards Pakistan today, was never seen before. Then, despite hosting millions of Afghan refugees for over three decades now, why it has inimical response from the Afghan masses. The policy makers and people at the helm of affairs can trick the masses by saying that, something wrong with Kabul and India is doing all these things against Pakistan. Yes, India is doing all these ills and evil planning against Pakistan, being part of its strategy and as a rule of power politics, being played all around under realist school of thought of international relations. But, the question arises, how far, Islamabad tried to convince the regimes at Kabul to be friendly towards Pakistan and why did Pakistani policy makers allowed a space for Indian dominance and hegemony in Afghanistan. Here come the role of foreign policy, Pakistan should have formulated over the years.The attack of Afghan forces on two border villages of Pakistan in Chaman area and killing over twelve people is an eye opener for the Islamabad. Ill trained Afghan security forces were able to infiltrate into border areas of a nuclear power, challenging its authority is a big question mark. Later, countering Pakistani claims, the Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan said in a tweet, “Woke up to celebratory front page headlines today on all Pakistani papers saying Pakistan killed 50 Afghani soldiers and injured 100 in Chaman clash. The truth is only 2 Afghan soldiers were shaheed and about 7 injured.”On Iranian front, the threat from its Military commander means a lot. This threat form General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri came at a time, once Iranian Foreign Minister had already visited Islamabad and there were no signs of disagreement over the border issues between Pakistan and Iran. In order to take action against the possible hideouts of Jaish al-Adl in Pakistan, General Bagheri said that, ‘if there are continued attacks, the terrorists’ safe havens will be targeted and crushed, wherever they are.”It is worth mentioning that, just a few days earlier, Iran offered India for the operationalization of Chabahar Port, which is consider as a competitor to deep sea Gwardar Port of Pakistan. Pakistani Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz has that, “Smugglers and other elements are also present along the Pak-Iran border and that, and border issues facing the countries are not limited to terrorism.” He did not buy the Iranian assertion that, Jaish-e-Adl, a militant group responsible for a recent attack on Iranian guards are present in Pakistan, and rather their hideouts are in Iranian territories. Then, “Terrorists can enter [Pakistan] from Iran, as well.” What about the Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav, after all he was running a terrorist’s network from Iranian soil and had the legitimate Iranian passport.Iran has not gone so strong, that it challenges the state of Pakistan. This all Iranian frustration against Pakistan may have its origin from the General Raheel Sharif, taking over the command of 39 countries Islamic Military Alliance. That seems to be the real basis of this Iranian threat, since there have been a separate threat for Saudi Kingdom, issued from Tehran. Indeed, Pakistan should not have become part of Saudi-Iran cold war, rather with a strong foreign policy, could have tried to pacify both countries or else the policy of neutrality could have kept Islamabad away from the politics of Persian Gulf.Under a hostile neighbourhood, Pakistan needs to reconsider its foreign policy priorities. A proactive, rather a reactive foreign policy is needed at this crucial time of Pakistani history. Since Foreign Policy is sum total of the domestic policies of a country, therefore, there is need for the domestic harmony among the political forces/ parties of Pakistan. Currently, all political parties are divided over petty issues and no cohesive approach is insight domestically in Pakistan.Such a situation will provide sufficient grounds for the neighbours who have their conglomerates inside Pakistan to pressurise and exploit Pakistan for the gain of a third power. The political leadership has to be farsighted and pre-emptive in taking actions to meet any eventuality. Unfortunately, Pakistani diplomatic corps has been slow to perceive the emerging scenario, coming out from a hostile neighbourhood. Let us have political and diplomatic engagement with neighbours and major powers to meet the emerging challenges to the security of Pakistan, before it is too late.