Arshad Ali has a master's degree in English language and literature. He is currently working as an elementary school educator in Sargodha.
Throughout the history of Pakistan, the land of pure, several occasions have come to the surface where right choices created disastrous impacts, owing to the crippled managing abilities. It is highly significant to point out those vulnerable domains in diplomacy which have negatively influenced the national interests of Pakistan, especially its body politics.
The circumstances emanated from the pursuance of such careless handlings have left deep scars on the fate of the state. Let us have a look at such instances where right became wrong and the best turned into the worst.
Pakistan’s Emergence and the Consequences
Muslims of united India aptly intended to strive for their separate homeland, dreaming to spend their lives freely by their religion and traditions, so that they could get rid of the bigoted Hindu mentality. Muslims could never live under the auspices of Hindus who were not even ready to recognize Muslims as a major faction of the society.
That was the reason that even Quaid e Azam, the ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity, felt the need to demand a separate state for Muslims. Their efforts must have borne fruit as they were based on the right decision. In addition to avoiding the impending sword of Hindu bigotry, the decision of the Muslims proved to be a righteous one because it injected a new life in the endangered body of Muslim identity as a separate nation.
Pages of history reflect the reality that many nations came to India and mingled with the prevalent social and religious fabric of Hinduism. It was the Muslims only who retained their identity untouched, but the congress treatment, especially of the congress ministries of 1937, proved a serious threat to the long-standing Muslim identity of uniqueness. Hence, Pakistan emerged on the map of the world.
However, those who made the right decision left this mortal world right after Pakistan’s inception. Here, began the era of wrong management. Keeping ourselves within the domains of initial times of the newly born state, lack of leadership comes to light after the death of Quaid and Liaquat.
For nine years, the caretakers of the state were unable to change the status of dominion by providing it a constitution that was essential for the development of the country in its early growth stages.
They were unable to manage the affairs of law-making, resulting in the constitutional crisis, contrary to the Indian constituent assembly that adopted its first constitution on 26th November 1949. Hence, the right decision of a separate state faced ill-treatment at the hands of the handlers.
The Decision to Join the American Bloc
Similarly, Pakistan, during the initial stages of its diplomacy, had the choice to shake hands either with the Soviet Union or the United States. The newly emergent state again made the right decision to make allegiance with the state which would emerge as a global master instead of the Soviet Union whose fate was to perish away.
The choice made Pakistan capable of strengthening its defense against the constant threat of Indian invasion. In this context, Pakistan signed the Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement with the United States in May 1954. Owing to this Agreement, many Pakistani soldiers went to the US for training.
Similarly, inclusion in SEATO and CENTO was also a result of the decision that was a necessity of that time, but the managers of Pakistan did not avail of this opportunity to get sustainable benefits. According to the research conducted by Jang and Geo-Television Network, since its inception, Pakistan has got more than $70 billion in foreign assistance under various heads from the United States.
The total amount of disbursements in terms of Official Development Assistance by the US in the year 2011 was about $4.15 billion. United States was the largest contributor, having a share of nearly one-third of the total ODA to Pakistan, but what did we get from it? Having such a vast domain of assistance, the economy of Pakistan is still on the ventilator keeping its waist bent under the burden of huge debts.
Till December 2020, the State Bank data shows that total external debts and liabilities of Pakistan were $115.7 billion as compared to $112.7 billion till June 2020. The Inflation rate is also showing the handicapped management of the state as its average figure from July to February (2020-21) was 8.25.
The Decision to Wage the War on Terror
Regardless of whether it was a part of its diplomacy, Pakistan’s decision to join the war against global terrorism after the catastrophic attack of 9/11 was nothing but an appropriate step towards the betterment of humanity. It was based on the geographical imperatives and the call of the international community.
Pakistan contributed the provision of logistic support and intelligence sharing with the coalition forces, more than that what it pledged to. No doubt the decision to join the war was a righteous one, but the consequent events make it clear how the strategic campaign was mishandled. Instead of recognizing the concrete diplomacy of Pakistan, it was blamed for supporting terrorism owing to Indian lobbying as became evident after the publication of EU Disinfo Lab’s report in 2019.
Furthermore, Pakistan for its pro-human derive was honored with the slogan of ‘‘Do More’’. Although, it is Pakistan that suffered the most at the hands of terrorism, losing over 80,000 lives and incurring economic losses of around $102.5 billion in addition to the damages to its cultural and religious ethos yet it is under the umbrella of criticism.
More than 50,000 fatalities never came in the domain of discussions. This is the price that Pakistan has paid to eradicate the curse of terrorism. Having discussed the hollowness of these blames, much could have been reduced if the matter had been handled with great care and research instead of blindly following the course of global strive against the monster of terrorism.
China or America? Pakistan at Crossroads
Pakistan, in the 21st century, once again has come to the brink of deciding between the two leading blocks (the communist and the capitalist) and three leading powers (America, Russia, and China). The policymakers of the state have once again rightly decided to join China and improve relations with Russia as America just gave the gift of ”Do More”, ignoring Pakistan’s sacrifices.
CPEC is considered, aside from the western propaganda against it, as an important pillar in strengthening Pakistan’s economic foundations. However, it is pertinent to ponder over the matter carefully as the threat of history repeating itself is always there. This danger becomes evident from the repeated statements of Prime Minister Mr. Imran Khan stating that Pakistan’s economic future is linked with China.
It is the same mistake that was made years ago when the US was considered the backbone of Pakistan’s defense and economy. So, it is advisable to avoid too much dependency on China to be its colony. Greater responsibility lies with the foreign office to make America realize that Pakistan is still a strategically more important ally than India for American interests.
It is the need of the hour to maintain better relations with major powers of the world without being part of any of the cold war tactics. It is clear that Pakistan always made the right decisions but was unable to carry them in the best interests of the country.
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