Adnan Ali

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Adnan Ali is a Search Optimization, Search Marketing and Social Media Strategy professional from Lahore, Pakistan. 

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Pakistan's Foreign Policy: Do This and We Will be Alright

State Emblem of Islamic Republic of PakistanPakistan's foreign policy is due for a much needed update. The challenges we face today are made of building blocks, some ours and some donated by others. The ability to see the writing on the wall and then act in an organized manner has avoided us for long. Certainly there were many occasions when we should have taken more time to reach a decision. We should have taken feedback from all walks of life. Its hard to do so when the assemblies are mere rubber stamps for a military president. But its not really impossible if the said president has the right judgement.

If one is to go by Dawn's internet edition, both sides of the parliament have come together and debated the latest developments regarding Pakistan's foreign policy. The recent statements of Barack Obama and Tom Trancendo, the US civil nuclear treaty with India, threats of military intervention in Pakistan, the country's role in the war on terror and new conditions on aid to Pakistan are some of the issues that have jolted the lawmakers into life.

While the parliamentary Secretary for Defence has said that ties with USA and India need to be broken and 'Jihad' is the only option left, the saner MPs have all agreed that relations with USA need to be re-evaluated every six months.

Mushahid Hussain, the spokesperson for the ruling PML(Q) had said earlier that if the presidential candidates in USA will make Pakistan a poll issue, then USA will automatically become a hot issue in the upcoming Pakistani elections.

Here is what I think. Apart from scoring points during an election campaign, the US candidates are making points that the major think tanks are raising. This debate is one way at the moment and requires response. We are losing Pakistani soldiers, fighting Pakistanis or adopted foreigners who were previously glorified 'Mujahideen'. We are losing peace in our cities and towns and seeing death and destruction around us and we are being blamed of not doing enough. The US has not seen any major or minor attack since 9/11. That alone should be proof how the US has been supported in the war on terror.

The bottom line should be very clear. Why is it that the US President gets to sign a letter every year declaring us as buddies. We may be friends of convenience but we have been more friendly to the USA than any other country in the region. It is about time Pakistanis declare that its support in the war on terror is based upon an yearly affidavit by the National Assembly. The USA has proven its failure in Afghanistan, Iraq and whereever they have sought to fight its non-sensical war on terror. They have destroyed and humiliated the people, they have disturbed the way of life but they have not been able to solve the issue of militancy against the USA. There is no end to the militancy if the main issues are not solved. Does the US Congress really believe they are making more friends in Pakistan by their latest legislation? This election time point scoring is going to cause further rifts and will definitely damage any combined effort to fight militancy.

Here is my agenda for Pakistan's Foreign Policy:

  1. Declare that Pakistan is ending voluntary participation in the war on terror

  2. Joint session of the Parliament should discuss and include intellectuals and citizens from all walks of life. The Parliament should hold country wide surveys in order to find out the common man's thinking.

  3. Pakistan should declare that all National ID card holders are Pakistani Citizens and therefore no military operation will be held against them in the northeren areas

  4. The border with Afghanistan should be fenced as much as possible,

  5. A joint effort with the help of Kabul government should be launched for the return of Afghan refugees. A deadline should be announced after which authorities can arrest people and deport them.

  6. Traditional Pakhtoon relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan should be compensated by issuing of visit visas on the border.

  7. The OIC (Org. of Islamic Countries) should be revived in Pakistan's leadership and a joint agenda should be approved.

  8. The relations with USA be attached to a consensus Law. This law should limit the level and extent of support we can provide USA and it should be declared to the public.

  9. Pakistan should declare its options on Kashmir. It may have third options or fourth options but all Pakistanis should be told the ground reality of Kashmir

  10. The President should resign as army chief, declare elections, install a transparent interim government and free and independant election commission should hold general elections.

I may have left some other options out but the reason I stated my thinking here is for every one to debate and come up with better options. What would you like to add or change in the above list?
Do not agree with my opinions? Let me know. Leave a comment and I will reply right back.

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