Why can't Pakistan change its foreign policy?

in Nation

For more than half a century various sections of our society, are continuously criticize the foreign policy of Pakistan. However, the question is that why we are not changing our foreign policy. Why our flight of the imagination is always directed towards the western world? Some of us point towards the establishment for this unilateral policy. Some people put the responsibility also on politicians with few exceptions that were dealt severely by the establishment for changing the vision of Pakistanis about foreign policy. However there are politicians who always criticize Pakistan's inclination towards the western world but their intention is not to bring Pakistan closer to the regional nations but rather they are opposed to the way Pakistan is bargaining with the west.

But someone ever thought what is wrong with our foreign policy. Have we ever thought what is the principle of our foreign policy? May be I will be labeled anti- Pakistan for the sentences I am writing next but what I have learnt from studding Islamic history is that we will have to start criticism from our own nation. Hazrat Jafar Tayar while talking to Negus (Najashi) severely criticized his own nation "Queresh". His speech mainly consisted of the evils of his own nation.

After migration to Medina Islam based its concept of nation on the principle of common interest. The Muslims, Jews, Christians, and infidels of Medina were bounded into one nation called" Umet-e-Wahida". That was not a decision of compulsion but rather Islam for the first time announced its principle of unity of humanity. That is why agreement of Medina is called the Megna Carta of Islam. What I am going to diagnose about the wrong with our foreign policy, is the foundation of Pakistan. Our forefathers confined the basis of nation to religion only. Now what is wrong with this concept of nation?  

By giving the wrong definition of nation, first Muslims of the subcontinent were divided into three parts that is Pakistani, Indian and Bangli Muslims and the reality is that even practicing the same religion their national interests are different. The nation, which played a constructive role in the history of India, is now unable to play any positive role for the development of the region. Even Pakistan could not become the laboratory for practicing Islam as a law of the land.

Secondly taking the definition of nation based on religion not only various religious sects are claiming their separate national identity but rather one group on the basis of religion, is justifying robbery, kidnapping and murder - even massacre.  According to the theory on the basis of which we got Pakistan, this group is a nation that is sacrificing their lives for the propagation and promulgation of their religious views. This group is demanding a piece of land where they can live according to their religion. It is their religious and internationally accepted right to have such a separate state where they can implement their laws. Over there whether they will be beheading people or lashing them, or they want to organize an army to fight their opponents, it is their religious responsibility and right. Why we are showing their videos of punishment to the world? If they want to run a state, in this way so why we are against them. By our own definition of a nation, they are a nation. By defining nation in terms of religion, we will have to accommodate such people. We may call them terrorists but they consider themselves a sincere and pious nation.

The way we defined a nation and now we can see the results, in the same way the foreign policy of Pakistan was based on a wrong perception that is "the friend of India is the enemy of Pakistan". And still we are having the same mentality. As US is coming close to India we are distancing ourselves from America now. Isn't it the same old mentality? If China will come close to India so we will also distance ourselves from China.

The principle of our foreign policy has its roots in the same theory by which we got Pakistan. But now we are bereft of reason due to extreme dislike for Hindus. It was the fear of India which resulted in our inclination towards the west and the nation was terrified of Indian threat. After creation of Pakistan this fear was accompanied by the fear of majority of Bengalis and for nine years we delayed the constitution making process just to keep Bengalis out of the government. And then we lost our eastern wing.

After the vivisection of Pakistan this fear got a new source of "Russian movement towards warm waters". The entire nation was sacrificed for the vested interests of the west.  The poetry of Iqbal became a reality and Muslims from "Kashghar" to "Nile" gathered but not to protect the "Haram" but for the realization of Western dreams to defeat USSR. After every Jihad Muslims got the booty "Mal-e-Ghanemat" but we got poverty, joblessness, terrorism, and enmity of our neighbors as booty. Now again the new shape of that fear is US and NATO presence in the region. Daily the nation is terrified of any possible attack on our nuclear weapons and sovereignty.

It is a moment of rethinking for us that why China, India, Iran and Iraq could not be used against USSR? Why we agreed to use our land against USSR? The answer is decades old "the friend of India is our enemy". We stopped USSR to reach the warm waters but now US and NATO are our neighbors. What ever they want to play with the destiny of this region we can not stop them now. But there is a remedy. We will have to change our foreign policy? We will have to rethink our ideologies. Do our politicians have the courage to touch this ideology? Can army after raising the secular slogan "Pakistan first" dare to start a debate about this ideology? It is astonishing that even in religion we have the option to open a debate in shape of "Ijtahad" about any religious law but is this ideology more sacred than religion? Will it make us infidels to raise any objection about it? Or we will have to shout "Pakistan Zindabad" to prove our patriotism?

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Farman Nawaz has 1 articles online

The author is a column writer. His Articles can be seen at Dawn, Asia Times Online, The Frontier Post, Statesman, Weekly Rutab Islamabad, and Daily outlook Afghanistan . He supports democracy, regionalism and human rights.

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Why can't Pakistan change its foreign policy?

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This article was published on 2010/12/19
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