The overseas coverage blunders

Prime Minister Imran Khan. File photograph

Appeasement of India, paralysis, vacillation, assault on diplomats, and loudspeaker diplomacy – all this and extra has characterised the Imran Khan (IK) regime’s overseas coverage within the final three years.

IK wasted 18 months after the US-Taliban Doha settlement in February 2020 and failed comprehensively to organize for US withdrawal from Afghanistan. His regime has diminished the China-Pakistan Financial Hall (CPEC), jeopardising the nation’s financial future and imperiling the strategic Pak-China relationship.

The prime minister’s appeasement of India inspired Narendra Modi to annex and dissect Indian Illegally-Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IIOJK) in 2019 – a step India had dared not take within the earlier 72 years of Indo-Pak rivalry.

IK has blundered repeatedly in talking ignorantly and ill-advisedly on probably the most delicate problems with nationwide safety and relations with overseas nations. The gaffes are far too quite a few to rely, however his most egregious blunders have been to inform The New York Occasions in April 2019 that, “Mr Modi’s authorities would possibly really be the absolute best possibility for settling the Kashmir battle” and to declare to a US leisure channel in June 2021 that “The second there’s a settlement on Kashmir…We is not going to must have nuclear deterrents.”

IK saved parliament at the hours of darkness on Afghanistan till a superficial safety briefing was held on July 1, 2021 – hours earlier than the USA deserted its principal airbase close to Kabul. Within the ensuing six weeks that culminated within the Taliban seize of Kabul, his authorities remained out of its depth and remoted diplomatically.

The PM’s assertion the day after the Taliban seize of Kabul – that the Taliban had damaged “the shackles of slavery” – and imprudent laudatory statements by the overseas minister, uncovered the nation to criticism from Western commentators who are actually rehashing their outdated story of a duplicitous, pro-Taliban Pakistan.

Regardless of the PTI authorities’s deferential facilitation of the US in releasing the Afghan Taliban management in 2018, Pak-US relations are in one of many deepest troughs in three-quarters of a century.

The US has downgraded de facto its diplomatic relations with Pakistan by not appointing a full ambassador since September 2018, the final time the US secretary of state visited Islamabad. Pak-US strategic dialogue stays suspended.

The current chest-beating on US bases by PM IK, and the following US clarification that no bases have been ever requested, have uncovered the shambolic nature of his diplomacy. So has his regime’s circus over US President Biden not having telephoned the Pakistani prime minister since Biden took workplace in January 2021.

This authorities’s confusion and the resultant on-again-off-again relations with China have perplexed and disturbed our ‘iron good friend’. Anti-CPEC statements from ministers early throughout IK’s tenure and the following de-prioritisation of CPEC tasks despatched a damaging sign to China that has not been countermanded since.

China can also be disturbed deeply by the current surge of terrorist assaults on its nationals, significantly in Quetta and Dasu. The connection gives the look of stability solely due to China’s sage coverage of not conducting diplomacy by media statements.

IK’s appeasement of India was uncovered manifestly when India responded to announcement of the Kartarpur hall with strikes on Balakot, when Indian fighter plane violated Pakistan’s worldwide border after 48 years. Indian Flight Lt Abhinandan’s hasty launch by Pakistan had an impact reverse to what was meant. It hardened Modi’s stance throughout his victorious election marketing campaign two months later.

What PM IK termed because the “feeling that I’ve come after profitable the World Cup” upon return from Washington in July 2019 actually turned out ten days later to be the worst foreign-policy and safety disaster for the nation for the reason that Fall of East Pakistan half a century in the past.

This authorities’s response to the annexation of IIOJK has been inept, indecisive, and intellectually bankrupt. Aside from verbal condemnation, the prime minister’s solely coverage response has been a one-time 30-minute stand-in, a music, one renamed street, and an outdated map rehashed.

The weak spot earlier than India is highlighted by the prime minister’s repeated assertion that Pakistan is not going to discuss with India till the latter rolled again the annexation of IIOJK. Then he stated the 2 neighbours would possibly discuss even when India supplied merely a “roadmap” of the rollback. Strident statements by the PM on Pak-India talks have been belied by declared talks between intelligence chiefs of the 2 neighbours going down in earnest since December 2020.

The much-touted consultations on the UNSC haven’t produced a single phrase in writing to assist the Kashmiris’ proper to self-determination and to castigate India for violating worldwide legislation.

The PM’s speech to the 2019 UN Normal Meeting was bluster. As an alternative of a well-crafted roadmap of diplomatic, communication, kinetic, and authorized actions for Pakistan, his rhetoric of forming a brand new bloc in Islamic nations aggravated Pakistan’s Gulf associates.

The much-touted revival of Pakistan’s longstanding relations with brotherly Muslim nations within the Center East has been uncovered. Not solely did these nations chorus from condemning India’s annexation of IIOJK, a few of them really supported India and have awarded their highest honours to Indian PM Modi.

Since taking energy, the IK authorities has retreated from former PM Nawaz Sharif’s 2013-18 pivot in the direction of China, Russia, and Central Asia, which culminated in Pakistan’s full membership within the Shanghai Cooperation Group in 2017. IK’s pivot in the direction of the US has not delivered.

In its haste to conclude the 2019 IMF deal, this regime compromised on nationwide safety by agreeing to the formal point out of cash laundering within the doc, thus linking IMF tranches on to the Monetary Motion Job Pressure (FATF).

IK’s panic in coping with the FATF led to his authorities bulldozing in parliament a spate of draconian laws that violates constitutional rights of Pakistan’s residents and goes past what even longstanding FATF member-countries have themselves enacted.

The prime minister’s declare of understanding the West greater than anybody was betrayed as a hole boast when in April this 12 months, the European Parliament adopted a decision calling for a overview of the 2014 GSP+ commerce concessions granted to Pakistan attributable to considerations concerning human rights violations, together with assaults on journalists. It’s no coincidence that for the final one 12 months, the place of Pakistan’s commerce consultant in Brussels has been vacant. In its September 16 decision on Afghanistan, the EU Parliament as soon as once more instructed the EU diplomatic service to contemplate if there may be cause to instantly overview Pakistan’s eligibility for GSP+ standing.

The PM’s ill-informed public assault in June 2021 on Pakistan’s overseas service stirred an uproar amongst serving Pakistani diplomats in addition to former ambassadors. The furor pressured the prime minister to retract his assertion, however the harm is completed and it’s deep.

IK’s vacillating overseas coverage has exasperated our longstanding allies, and comforted India. He has uncovered us perilously to monetary blackmail by main Western powers; and has rendered us helpless within the face of Indian aggression, and incapacitated over Afghanistan. The disaster reveals no signal of abating.

The author is a member of the Nationwide Meeting.

E-mail: [email protected]

Twitter: @kdastgirkhan

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