FM’s three-nation tour

Aug 28, 2017
Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif starts a three-country tour in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s accusations against Pakistan. The FM will first tour China, then Russia and will end the trip with a visit to Turkey. The FM’s previously scheduled trip to the US for a meeting with his American counterpart was cancelled most probably because of the serious allegations levelled by the US President. That the FM’s first stop will be China indicates we are going to seek Chinese support in the ongoing crisis. But it is equally important for Pakistan to take a clear position on a few things in all bilateral engagements with China. There is no such thing as a free lunch.
The FM’s visit holds significant importance because it might determine the future roadmap that Pakistan will adopt at the international level following the US’s threatening tone. While he seeks the support of Pakistan’s friends, the foreign office must come up with ways to repair the relationship with world’s only superpower. For a variety of reasons, we need to avoid emotion while determining the future direction of Pak-US relations. The reality is that the US is staying in Afghanistan and we have an interest in latter’s stability. Therefore, it is in our own interest to help facilitate reconciliation between various Afghan groups and not because a superpower has asked us to do that.
It is about time Pakistan effectively lobbied for the country’s interests using diplomacy as a tool. The country was without a Foreign Minister for the last four years, which is one of the reasons why we have faced quite a few diplomatic failures. We hope that the new FM realises that it is important to highlight Pakistan’s sacrifices in war against terror and the gains made in the ongoing operation against terror, especially given these successes have been acknowledged by other regional stakeholders multiple times. This would be a befitting response to Trump’s allegations. The way forward for Pakistan remains effective diplomacy and a more realistic foreign policy. 
Daily Times, August 28, 2017

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