Change Ambassadors to US, India, Afghanistan

(Hamza Ali, Islamabad)

The Huffpost newspaper recently published an article that stresses upon the Pakistan government to replace Pakistan’s Ambassador to Washington, Jalil Abbas Jillani, with some competent one. The author of this article is Malik Siraj Akhbar, a Baloch nationalist, based in America, who got his journalism diploma from India. He is said to be close to Hussain Haqqani who seems to be spearheading the anti-Pakistan propaganda and running a parallel lobby against the Pakistan Embassy in Washington.

The article refers to a recent Congressional hearing entitled “Pakistan: Friend or foe in the fight against terrorism?” in which Congressman Matt Salmon, chairman of the Asia and Pacific Subcommittee of House Foreign Affairs Committee, complained that the Pakistanis are “making chumps out of us. They see us we are being so stupid.” Adding fuel to the fire Zalmay Khalilzad, the Afghan-origin American diplomat said, “We have been patsies.”

Why has the situation reached such a level? This was the job of our foreign office, the embassy in Washington and Ambassador Jillani, who is no better or worse than our previous Ambassadors. But one is agreed to the fact that Ambassador Jillani has failed to make a positive and proactive impact upon Washington, which has result in the current downturn in Pakistan-US relations. It is understood that apparently the main reason the CPEC strategic trajectory, but the authorities in Islamabad were very much in the know that before going for the CPEC, Islamabad had to preempt and plan a level playing diplomatic initiative. Obviously Ambassador Jillani was not much able to handle it. Therefore, it is suggested that an ex Foreign Secretary or a successful Ambassador should be sent; for example Dr Maleeha Lodhi, Riaz Khokhar, Ashraf Jehangir, Munir Akram, Zamir Akram, Masood Khan, or those having foreign relations experience.

There is an impressing need for sending someone who is cunningly able to defuse the propaganda drive by Hussain Haqqani. Only the embassy there cannot create an effective deterrence against him. Anyone suggesting that hiring some lobbyist firm would be sufficient is mistaken, because other countries have made huge investments not only in Congress, but also in the think-tanks and media-related intelligentsia. Similarly, one is convinced that our Ambassador in New Delhi also needs a replacement, as early as possible. The Foreign Office at home must demonstrate prudence and play a role to pleading the Pakistan case for Kashmir, effectively highlighting the plight and miseries of the people of Indian occupied Kashmir.

That we don’t have a Foreign Minister doesn’t matter as long as Sartaj Aziz and Tariq Fatemi are there, but the Prime Minister must think of appointing a deputy to Sartaj Aziz as soon as possible who can be picked either from journalists’ community to counter ex-journalist Hussain Haqqani. And there is no need to antagonize HH, instead he deserves to be understood and he needs to be convinced. Hussain Haqqani is basically proposing a rationalization of relations in South Asia, based on a realistic understanding of the history of our divergent trajectories, as opposed to loyalty to the propaganda narratives evolved by vested interests of power centers on both sides. Rationalization of relations with India is a political and economic imperative for the millions of our people who live in abject poverty.

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28 Jul, 2016 Views: 282

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