Mr Nawaz Sharif, you should not be the foreign minister of Pakistan

Published: August 25, 2016
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He does not have the type of personality that a foreign minister should have. PHOTO: REUTERS

Since a foreign minister represents his or her country at all international conferences, he or she has to be highly educated. Sometimes a very experienced diplomat is appointed as foreign minister, at other times a popular politician is selected. Pakistan, being a nuclear armed state with plenty of problems of its own, is in urgent need of a foreign minister. But at present, it is Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (NS) who is doubling as the foreign minister of the country.

We have had some very good foreign ministers, one of them being Sahibzada Yaqub Khan, the longest serving foreign minister of the country. Besides being a retired general, he knew several languages, and was once our ambassador to the United States. There have been others, very able lawyers like Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada. For some strange reason, General Yahya Khan apparently thought he would make a very good foreign minister (while being president at the same time). We know what happened during his reign: the country was dismembered.

As far as I know, NS is not suited to be our foreign minister. He is fluent only in one language, he has to read from pieces of paper when he talks in English (which he does very slowly), and he does not have the type of personality that a foreign minister should have, like Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and of course Sahibzada Yaqub. But it’s our bad luck that he is the one who decides such things, so we’ll have to exercise the utmost patience and bear with him, like the unlucky chaps in the foreign office.

I can imagine NS presiding over a meeting in the foreign office to discuss how to react to Afghanistan’s latest tirade against Pakistan.

NS: We should send our navy and occupy Kabul.

Official: Sir, Kabul is not a seaport, our navy can’t get there.

NS: I know there is a lot of water near Kabul, maybe it’s a river port.

Official: Sir, the river is too shallow and narrow for our navy to get there.

NS: So send the navy to any other town in Afghanistan.

Official: It’s a landlocked country; you can’t send a warship there.

NS: We could drop an atom bomb over Kabul?

Official: The nuclear cloud would be transported to Peshawar and Islamabad within minutes – thousands of Pakistanis would die as well.

NS: What’s the use of having nuclear weapons if we can’t use them?

Official: We have them to deter India from invading our sacred land.

NS: India? How can the Indians ever think of invading Pakistan?

Official: They’ve done that in 1965 and 1971.

NS: I was too young at the time, no wonder I don’t remember it. So why don’t we drop an atom bomb on Botswana?

Official: We don’t have any disputes with that country; in fact only India and Afghanistan are bothering us nowadays.

NS: But we have to use our nuclear weapons to show everyone that we are a nuclear state!

Official: Everyone knows that, sir, we don’t need to carry out any more explosions to prove it.

NS: So what do we do with Afghanistan?

Official: You, being the foreign minister, could go there and tell them that what they’re doing is not cricket.

NS: Cricket? I didn’t know they played cricket in Afghanistan.

Official: They do, some of those Afghan refugees learned how to play cricket and formed a team when they went back and they play it pretty well.

NS: I don’t want to go to Afghanistan. I don’t like their nihari paaya. Send Sartaj Aziz.

Official: He’s not the foreign minister – they don’t take him seriously. Why don’t you appoint someone else as foreign minister?

NS: What? How dare you suggest such a thing? I’m the only one who can be both prime minister and foreign minister of Pakistan!

Official: Yes sir, you are right. There are 200 million people in the country, and only you can be the foreign minister of Pakistan. I’ll write this in my memoirs. I’ll tell this to everyone I know, I’ll even tell my grandchildren – east or west, NS is the best!

Shakir Lakhani

Shakir Lakhani

Engineer, former visiting lecturer at NED Engineering College, industrialist, associated with petroleum/chemical industries for many years. Loves writing, and (in the opinion of most of those who know him), mentally unbalanced. He tweets @shakirlakhani (twitter.com/shakirlakhani)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Pakistan

    Nawaz Sharif is not fit to be anybody except his familybusiness man.Recommend

  • Pathan

    and all the Lines of NS are written on pieces of Papers, with question answers.Recommend

  • salman

    Very funny..I wish could say good satire, but I fear it’s probably an accurate representation of a conversation with nawaz sharif.
    A speechwriter from nawaz’s previous tenure told me that once he wrote a speech for nawaz to deliver at some official dinner in washington and where the writer wrote US (united states), nawaz read it out as “us”. You couldn’t make this stuff up…Recommend

  • Patwari

    What Foreign Office? What unlucky chaps?
    There is a Foreign Office? Where? In Raiwind?
    Larkana? Is Maryam Sharif running it? Hamza?
    Hamza giving advice on foreign affairs? Maybe
    Maryam is a “ghost” Foreign Minister? Nobody
    has been told?. Otherwise there will be big hue
    and cry!! Like she was running a billion ruppees
    Loan Scheme, and with no oversight and experience!!
    The Lahore High Court had to step in and remove her!!Recommend

  • Wanderer

    ‘He does not have the type of personality that a foreign minister should have’.

    He does not have the type of personality that a prime minister should have either.Recommend

  • quatro

    Nothing wrong with Sharif holding the office – he has two assistance to do most of the work anyways. And lets get real – the military not the civilian govt controls foreign policy – you know it and so does the rest of the World.Recommend

  • shaan

    May be he is keeping Foreign Minister’s portfolio for the sake of visiting London twice monthly.Recommend

  • Sami Shahid

    This is the first time in reading a very good and sensible article. Pakistan should not ask but it should tell Afghanistan to stop its terrorism in Pakistan or else we will start conducting anti-terrorist operations in Afghanistan against enemies of Pakistan ! whoever says it but somebody should say it !Recommend

  • KKJ

    Haters shall hate always, he is the only one winning 2/3 majority once, 3 times elected PM. Only politicians who is the most respectful and recognized person in Islamic countries.Recommend

  • Saf

    Just to correct you he does not need to read off a paper just when speaking in English he needs to read of paper even when speaking Punjabi or Urdu.Recommend

  • guest

    NS is dreaming of having businesses/properties in US too, by being the foreign minister. HeheeeeRecommend

  • wb

    Here comes the verbal diarrhea from my friend.Recommend

  • Malveros

    A rubbish article. The author should stick to his original profession.Recommend

  • Fahim

    He is fluent only in one language (Language of Menu in restaurant)Recommend

  • Patwari

    Well what would you expect?
    Except to stalk other commenters on ET.. That’s the karma.
    1400 years under Muslim yoke.
    Say, keep the comments coming. Shows your mentally
    challenged stream of conciousness.
    After all the money they pay you for comments barely buys an
    idli and a dosa.Recommend

  • salman

    I thought it was quite funny.
    PM should also stick to his original profession….money laundering, tax evasion and avoiding any type of investigation. I’m still waiting for him to start panama investigation after saying on TV that he would be willing to face any investigation. Looks like he is running away now…Recommend

  • salman

    I’ll respect him if he actually agrees to the panama investigation. Until then he will fover be tainted with accusations of money laundering, tax evasion and corruption….no matter how many elections he manages to win using the partonage and other avenues available to him.

    Also, there is no evidence to actually say that he is the most respected and recognised politician in Islamic countries…unless you count statements by pervaiz rashid as evidence…..in which case nawaz is the leader of the muslim world! lolRecommend

  • Malveros

    Having offshore companies is not a crime.Recommend

  • Razi Mallick

    With all due respect, I would like to submit that the question raised by the writer is out of context. Prime minister should not hold any other portfolio than concentrating on his own job. Prime minster is chief executive of the country and his primary job is to build a good team to run the country efficiently.
    There should be two basic qualities in a prime minister. The first is that he or she should have the vision to achieve, and the second pertains to selection of the right person for the assigned job. But unfortunately he has neither of the qualities, and therefore in my opinion he does not qualify to be a prime minister.
    Despite of my above view about his capability, I can not challenge his position because he is an elected prime minister, and in my opinion, worst democracy is better than a benevolent dictatorship. We have already experienced more than three decades of military dictatorship. The first regime caused disintegration of the country and other two tattered the nation into sectarian and ethnic segments, plunging the whole country into chaotic conditions.
    I want to point out one serious deficit in the present multi-party system. Under this system usually minority party rules the country. In the 2013 general election PMLN gained only 33 percent of the casted votes.
    There is a need to make the present democratic system more representative. Therefore it is my request not to trim the leaves, but concentrate on refining our democratic system.Recommend

  • Gulchand Mehta

    But looting the country’s exchequer is a crime.
    To the tune of $ 4.5 billion dollars.Recommend

  • Malveros

    RubbishRecommend

  • Gulchand Mehta

    Unfortunate, the rubbish is you and people of your ilk..
    A brainwashed, provincial, ethnic voter, who will vote
    for his Lords and Masters the Sharif Brothers and their
    minions. Even when you are starving, and every terrorist
    outfit is being given free rein, in your province.
    Also known as the pariah province of Punjab.Recommend

  • nasir ali

    Such mindset is dedtroying the democracy. Recommend

  • nasir ali

    Yes.. But from whom money? Recommend

  • VısΛrc

    Then why NS failed to declare those companies as part of his asset during elections.Recommend