Pakistan cannot follow an
independent foreign policy unless some changes are made by the political elite
in the country. Unless the strategies are not made that helps to fulfill the
national interest, friendly ties with other countries, it will remain an
obstacle. The confrontation among the institutions and ideologies of Islamists
and West does not helps. The ruling elite ignoring the investment on basic human
development, agriculture and the stability of economy eventually makes Pakistan
vulnerable to downfall in the region.
Currently, pursuing an independent foreign policy for Pakistan is not possible.
As for a long time Pakistan’s foreign policy has been inclined towards the US
but the recent developments in Pak-China relations has given Pakistan an
opportunity to shift its dependency on China and Russia.
Since Donald Trump held the office of US, the continuous harsh and bitter
attitude of United States towards Pakistan and not acknowledging the sacrifices
made by Pakistan in War against Terrorism have made Pakistan to think about
shifting its foreign policy. Khawaja Asif, the foreign minister of Pakistan
"China lives next to us and we have a common wall. Russia can also be our good
Economy is one of the main traits of independent foreign policy. The foreign
minister Khawaja Asif said
"We can’t have an independent foreign policy until we are economically strong,"
The foreign debts of Pakistan set a record in terms of debt last year. The
foreign debts of Pakistan stood at $72.98 billion (Rs. 7.40 trillion) after the
first half of 2016. In terms of currency, the Dollar the touched 111 PKR for the
first time in four years. CPEC has been considered as a hope that will boost the
economy and allow Pakistan to get itself out of economic collapse. As long as
the country is dependent economically and strategically, it won’t allow to
pursue an independent foreign policy.
The Pakistani administration has been criticized for long for appointing a
foreign minister after 4 years of delay. This negligence by the PML-N government
towards the foreign policy had reflected that Pakistan has been very weak
internationally to convey its message to the world.
In this region, China has been all along by the side of Pakistan. It is
important for Islamabad to make policies based on national interest and friendly
relations with the countries sharing border. Islamabad has stated at various
occasions that it believes in friendly relations based on the level of equality.
The country has to give space to friends not to the masters. As Pakistan is a
sovereign independent state, the territorial integrity should not be challenged
but Pakistan has faced serious tensions at the both Afghan and the Line of
Control where violation of ceasefire has become normal. Pakistan has taken its
case to United Nations several times regarding the ceasefire violations made by
India at LOC but being a country that possess a weak image globally, the
importance level moves away from Pakistan that does not allow Pakistan to covey
a solid message.
Domestically, the country’s ruling elite has to focus on the human development,
changing the living standards of common citizens eventually make ways for better
economy. Human development has mostly been sidelined by the ruling elite
instead, focuses more towards the development projects and transportation i.e
Motorways, Flyovers, Orange Line Train etc mainly in Punjab. The transparent
investment in agricultural sector and financial support to the farmers could be
vital for the economy. The priorities of investment of the ruling elite has been
unfair which did resulted in backlash by the political opposition in the
country. In a developing country like Pakistan, the betterment of the
educational, health, agricultural sector must be done to make sure it prevails
for the better image of Pakistan globally.
The Islamic image of Pakistan globally has barred Pakistan to portray it’s
rationality to the world. The domestic pressure does not allow to make decisions
independently. The fact that the Islamists has been against the ties with United
States and India stating them as the enemy of Islam. But this ideology has to be
put aside if developing friendly ties with them is in national interest of
Pakistan at first place. A hostile policy has to be adopted in order to go
beyond the hurdles and make decision that serves the national interest first.
The clash among the institutions in the country has made it difficult for
Islamabad to construct a foreign policy based on civil and military elite
consensus. The civilian and military elite has been remain undivided on various
issues in the country as the military believes that the civilian elite is
incompatible to manage the strategic affairs due to which the military
exploitation comes into play and results in confrontation.
The state has to exercise its authority in order to ensure that without any
domestic pressure it can sort out the matters inside the country and to fulfill
the requirements of an independent foreign policy, concrete measures has to be
taken that will allow Pakistan to pursue an independent foreign policy.