Stories about foreign policy

New York 2019: A watershed in Pakistan’s diplomatic history

On January 14, 1977, the Pakistan team entered the Sydney cricket ground as underdogs. Before the start of the series’ most pundits had expected Australia to steamroll the Pakistanis. After a face-saving draw in the first test and a shattering defeat in the second, Pakistan hoped to draw the series level in Sydney. Before that fateful game Imran Khan had toiled for years, even remodeled his bowling action, but that moment of glory had evaded him. At Sydney however, as the entire nation sat glued to their TV and radio sets, Khan bowled marathon spells of scintillating fast bowling. Spells ...

Read Full Post

It’s not Jadhav who is in prison; the subcontinent is the prisoner of paranoia

If anyone thought that India and Pakistan’s reaction would have been different had the verdict in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case been different than what it is, then they are being delusional about the postmodern history of the Indian subcontinent. We are now conditioned to react without thinking. Both of us derive pleasure in humiliating each other – be it on the sports field or in the arena of politics. Newspapers on both sides of the border painted their pages with the titles that suited their national interests. Indian media celebrated the verdict in the same way they did when Prime Minister Narendra Modi ...

Read Full Post

Damage control: Why Imran Khan needs to put foreign diplomacy before domestic issues

In the globalised world of today, the foreign policy of any state is the most vital component to its progress. This is how states interact with each other and negotiate their interests, as you have to figure out how to fulfil your national interest while also giving other states a way to fulfil theirs. In Pakistan, it has been the control over foreign policy that has been the cause behind major rifts between civilian governments and officials of other institutions. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif were all elected leaders thrown out of power due to their efforts ...

Read Full Post

Can Imran Khan fix 71 years of failed talks, bloodshed and hatred?

Imran Khan’s victory in the recently concluded General Elections went as per preordained script. The arrest of Nawaz Sharif and his daughter in a money laundering case practically sealed the deal. The Supreme Court has debarred him from contesting elections for life, virtually putting an end to the political career of the former prime minister. It is alleged that Imran enjoys the confidence and support of the establishment which paved the way for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to emerge victorious. The opposition has questioned the legitimacy of the elections, especially where it is alleged that widespread rigging was allowed to take ...

Read Full Post

With Donald Trump’s travel ban 3.0, is America any safer?

Today, the Supreme Court allowed President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban to be fully enforced. This ban restricts visas from eight countries, including six Muslim-majority nations. The premise: ‘national security’. But does such a ban really make Americans safer? Here are five points all Americans need to understand. 1. Religious extremism, not Islam, is the real threat There is no denying the fact that religious extremists, and terrorist groups like the Islamic State (IS), pose a grave threat to the United States. These groups pervert religion for ulterior geo-political agendas. Their violent rhetoric – advocating for the killing of homosexuals, ‘blasphemers’, apostates and anyone who disagrees with ...

Read Full Post

Khawaja Asif’s disqualification is not a case of victimisation, but nice try, Nawaz Sharif

The season of disqualifications is on the trot for the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). The disqualification of Pakistan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Khawaja Asif, is just the latest blow to not only the PML-N, but also to Pakistan’s reputation. In its verdict, the Islamabad High Court has stated that Asif was found guilty of not declaring his iqama (foreign work permit) in his nomination papers. As per the Constitution, every elected representative has to submit an affidavit at the time of filing their nomination papers to declare they will not engage in any other job. As per our law, ...

Read Full Post

Pakistan and Russia: From Cold War foes to budding allies?

It is no secret that Pak-US ties are experiencing a downward spiral. However, there is some good coming out of this mistrust between both countries. The ongoing tensions have motivated Pakistan to reach out to regional stakeholders other than China for potential partnerships, and one such partner being actively pursued by Islamabad is its former Afghan-jihad foe, Russia. Who would have thought that after almost three decades of Soviet disintegration and Pakistan’s active role in the former’s defeat in Afghanistan, both countries’ foreign ministers would be warmly embracing each other in Moscow? Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Khawaja Asif – who recently concluded a three-day visit to Russia and signed a number of ...

Read Full Post

Can Pakistan sideline the US and pursue an independent foreign policy?

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Khawaja Asif, said the following in a statement made earlier this month, “Pakistan’s foreign policy has for long remained US-centric. However, the time had come to review the policy and shift its focus towards Russia and China.” At the rhetorical level, Pakistan’s commitment to shifting its foreign policy focus away from Washington has been in place for quite some time. In this regard, these recent changes that Islamabad has touted by and large deal with the country’s increasing economic dependency on China, as well as Russia’s growing interest in Pakistan. Arguably, Pakistan may have gained some tactical leverage vis-à-vis the US by increasing its economic dependency on other regional states, but ...

Read Full Post

Pakistan’s foreign policy, cross-country trade and internal security: For better or for worse?

Is Pakistan’s foreign policy in mayhem or is it a work in progress? This is a tough question for any political analyst. On one hand, the dwindling Pakistan-US relationship has drawn a lot of unsolicited criticism, while on the other, the increasing cooperation between China, Russia and Pakistan is claimed to be a stepping stone to country’s long-term growth. Pakistan has recently been under a lot of fire since Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has clearly stated that Pakistan will neither fight the US-Afghan war on its own soil nor will it be used as a scapegoat. Abbasi stated, “Nor can we endorse any failed ...

Read Full Post

Can Nawaz Sharif salvage his legacy by normalising relations with India and the economic alleviation stemming from it?

The battle lines have been drawn. Nawaz is out flaunting his muscles on the street, and his choice seems clear – defiance over acquiescence. But to what end? One possibility is that the power play is simply intended to gain political leverage and bargain relief from those the former prime minster (PM) feels have vindictively disarmed him. But two factors refute this theory – Khawaja Asif and Mushahidullah Khan. We all know the perversity with which Asif is viewed within the General Headquarters (GHQ), and the comments that led Khan to be scapegoated and removed from his ministry. The appointment of the two ...

Read Full Post