Alienation, Isolation, and Pakistan’s Foreign Policy

Forget America and the EU, Pakistan is alienating its neighbors and becoming increasingly isolated not just in the world, but in our own region. Foreign policy makers, both the pretend ones in the Foreign Ministry and the real ones in GHQ, have been playing a strategy that is too clever by half, using jihadi assets as a means to change the ground realities and project Pakistan’s agenda in Kashmir and Afghanistan. Only problem, those ‘assets’ had their own agenda, playing a double game that appears to have outsmarted their fauji masters. This is now obvious both from the ongoing negotiated surrender to TTP, but is also apparent in the regional alienation and isolation of Pakistan thanks to our jihadi assets.

The latest escalation in diplomatic hostilities between Iran and Pakistan was caused by the abduction of five Iranian border guards from Iran’s Sistan Balochistan region, allegedly by a Pakistan-based Sunni militant group called Jaishul Adl or the Army of Justice. Tehran has alleged that the guards had been taken to Pakistan and are being held in the Balochistan province, amid media reports that one of them has already been shot dead. Another militant group allegedly operating from Balochistan which had carried out a number of lethal suicide bombings in Iran and killed dozens of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in the past, is Jundallah…

The other neighbour to complain about terrorists being given sanctuary on Pakistani soil is China which is disturbed about the activities of the Chinese Muslim rebels who want the creation of an independent Islamic state in China, and are allegedly being trained in Pakistani tribal areas and then despatched to Xinjiang province. In July 2012, Beijing publicly claimed for the first time in recent years that those responsible for two bomb blasts in the Kashgar city of the Xinjiang Province in July 2011, which killed 18 people, had been trained in the East Turkistani Islamic Movement’s camps being run by the Chinese Muslim separatists in Waziristan. The Chinese claim was described in diplomatic circles as a clear sign of the growing impatience of Beijing with Islamabad’s failure to control the radical groups operating within its borders…

For its part, Afghanistan blames Pakistan for doing little to crack down on the Taliban and al-Qaeda militants who control a considerable parts of the Pak-Afghan border region especially Waziristan. Despite the deployment of over 80,000 Pakistani troops along the Pak-Afghan border to counter al-Qaeda and Taliban militancy, the situation is far from stable in the trouble-stricken tribal region, which is crucial not only to Islamabad, but also to Kabul, Washington and Delhi. Afghanistan thus keeps accusing Pakistan of backing the North Waziristan-based Haqqani militant network as well as the Afghan Taliban to advance its so-called geo-strategic agenda in the region.

Pakistan’s strategic thinking has been a strategic failure. Instead of making Pakistan safer, it has resulted in Pakistan suffering more than any other country. Instead of defending Pakistan’s borders, it has redrawn them. Instead of expanding Pakistan’s influence in the region, it has left Pakistan alienated. And instead of protecting Pakistan’s future, it has threatened it. It’s time to change course, before it’s finally too late.

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