Pakistan’s Foreign Policy should be fostering opportunities and fighting challenges

Pakistan’s foreign minister (FM), Mr. Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari recently moved to New York, United States (US) to attend a “UN ministerial meeting on Global Food Security Call for Action and the Security Council’s open debate on the maintenance of international peace, with a focus on conflict and food security.”

However, he also met US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken who asserted the US shared desire for a strong and prosperous bilateral relationship including aiming at making economic and commercial ties. Mr. Bhutto-Zardari needs to follow the footprints of his martyred maternal uncle – Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto – who practiced his capacity of FM in a view that was of developing Pakistan with brevity and deterrence to irrationality.

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Generally, any country’s foreign policy (FP) has three parts; economic part, political part, and security part or military part. It is the right time for Mr. Bhutto-Zardari to clearly define that what are Pakistan’s economic goals to be achieved through FP, what are the political objectives of the country (including peace, development, and sustainability), and what are security threats and concerns within the country and from outside. Pakistan is economically backward, politically unorganized, and weak in security apparatus implementation.

However, reiterating Kashmir’s issue on an international platform by Pakistan’s FM has won the hearts of millions inside and outside the country. It was assumed publicly that Mr. Bhutto-Zardari would skip shedding light on the Kashmir issue. However, FM’s strong intellect shall contribute to reducing the magnitude of the Kashmir issue and divert counterparts’ view of the Kashmir issue as a ‘sign of peace and prosperity for all’.

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Historical accounts reveal that Pakistan’s FP has rotated around the security of the country particularly threats from neighboring countries. However, it is observed recently that Pakistan has moved from a security approach to economic prosperity. And so now Pakistan’s FP focuses on making security through economic prosperity.

In addition to this, Pakistan’s FP should also part with water prosperity that has long been equally ignored by two types of governments in Pakistan i.e., democracy as well as a dictatorship. Today, the River Indus is sad due to no water at Kotri downstream which is creating restlessness in the people downstream, particularly those who are living at the end-tail of the river: Badin, Thatta, Sujawal.

Not only this, but FP should also keep an active eye on the multinational corporations – operating in Pakistan – to devise and implement their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy to contribute to community development at the grassroots level. The legislation should also be made on regulating CSR in Pakistan to make companies accountable to the environment, people, and the planet.

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Pakistan’s FM’s international meetup at a time when the world direly needs the attention of the international community has proved that the burning issues of environment, climate change, Russia-Ukraine invasion, food insecurity, peace, and security show the seriousness of the international community on these issues’ severe outcomes and devastating impacts. Hope, the meeting brings the rising regional and international challenges to topsy-turvy.

According to Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “the foreign policy of Pakistan is primarily directed to the pursuit of national goals of seeking peace and stability through international cooperation. Special emphasis is laid on economic diplomacy to take advantage offered by the process of globalization and also to face the challenges of the 21st century. Our foreign policy is also geared to project the image of the country as a dynamic and moderate society.”

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In today’s globalized world, all activities of the entities are interconnected in different ways. Social media is one of them. Whereas, the 21st-century challenges and opportunities seek to have found out innovative approaches from the countries to prosper in a smooth way.

In my opinion, Pakistan’s relations with the world should be of a ‘realist approach’, because Pakistan’s interests – as CPEC is one of them – are supreme in nature for the people and country, whereas only the holistic foreign policy will work out.

Pakistan’s FM should devise a new approach to bring the Kashmir issue and the water issue of Pakistan to topsy-turvy, both are concerned with Pakistan’s prosperity, power, sustainability, and positive image in the world.

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Furqan Hyder Shaikh is a public policy analyst. He can be reached at @furqanppolicy on Twitter. 

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