ISSN 2330-717X

Incumbent Government In Pakistan And Foreign Policy Choices – OpEd

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Threat letter has been in the debate regarding the current no confidence motion.  DG ISPR has clarified that the word conspiracy did not exist and that was not used in the aftermath of that letter being discussed in the National Security Committee (NSC) as well. In this context, a malicious campaign was being run against the Army in the country and at the same time equally negativity portrayed by the Indian media about the alleged role of Army in the politics of Pakistan. Role of Pakistan army remained positive during the current episode of change of government as it remained away in interfering in the political battlefield between the political parties and remained side by the democratic process in the country.  

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In foreign policy it is said that you need to make more friend and reduce enemies. There are many questions about how Pakistan’s foreign policy is going to be shaped with a new government in place. Pakistan and US are enjoying wavy relations over the recent period of time, when it comes to the USA problem lies in the bilateral relations between both the countries.  There is a lot a debate going that perhaps a step towards China or a step towards Russia means a step away from the USA. Pakistan always chants that it is not in any bloc politics and is looking towards following its national interest.  

Shahbaz Sharif was elected as 23rd Prime Minister of Pakistan, PM Shahbaz Sharif gave his policy statement regarding economic condition and improving the foreign policy. Interdependent aspects of the economy and foreign policy are going to be a next challenge for the incumbent government. Government has to take steps to make Pakistan an investment friendly country and have to take steps to strengthen the already deepen relations between Pakistan and China. Government has to speed up the pace of slowdown CPEC projects. PM Shahbaz Sharif vowed to improve relations with US, UK and the EU and also offered India to work jointly for the betterment of the masses to get the region out of the poverty. 

One need to understand from Pakistan’s perspective that China is extremely important for Pakistan when it comes for the trade and economy. The trade between China and Pakistan is about $17 billion out of which Pakistan exports only $2.5 billion to China. On the other hand, when we look at the US, Pakistan’s exports are more than $6billion and Pakistan’s exports towards the European Union (EU) is around $9.6 billion. Apart from this, the influence that US can exert on countries like Canada, Australia or non EU countries is something that can impact Pakistan economically. 

After US exit from Afghanistan this whole region is less important for them while looking into the current Ukraine crisis. Biden administration is concentrating on the Indo Pacific Pivot but Pakistan still have the significant importance in the great power game between the US and the China. There is a view in Biden administration that does believe that it is in their interest to improve relations with China. Pakistan can certainly play a role in this US choice of improving relations with China.  

Pakistan is in an important strategic positon in the region in which Pakistan can’t afford to take sides and mess up with one camp. There are many other foreign policy challenges for Pakistan that includes balancing relations with Iran and GCC counties. At the same time Pakistan has to get out of the challenge being faced in FATF and improving economic and trade ties with the EU. Pakistan can get an economic boost if it rebuild its ties with the EU. Pakistan has significant strategic, economic and political relationship with China that will remain continued after the new government in Pakistan. 

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It is the trajectory of the international relations that countries are arranged in such a paradoxical order that no matter what the circumstances they have to interact with each other for their survival. Pakistan should adopt a stance carrying the national interest in pursuing the policy both in internal affairs and in the field of foreign affairs. Pakistan needs to maintain balanced relations with regional and global countries of the world which could create more avenues of growth and progress for the country.

*Jawad Ahmed, The writer is Islamabad based researcher with having interest in Politics, Bilateralism and Strategic Studies.