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Pakistan at cross road
Friday September 19, 2008 (1252 PST)

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The changing world order always demands every member state of world to change its foreign and domestic policy orientations finding innovatively the ways to secure its indigenous national interests. The world has been intermixed by globalization and the events are proclaimed by themselves. Powerful countries invested their interests by innovating long way forward, following the realpolitikal theory of Realism. With the change of millennium, international environment of relations and retaliations changed. Importantly, everyone could distinguish between `war on terror` conundrum and fight for `energy security`.

It was not later than September 2007 when in the library of my university I found a book, interesting giving very brief and to some extent abstract information on relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The history might not need to redress here when there was only vote against Pakistan`s UN membership and withdrawal of that vote was driven by proposal of dialogue by Pakistan on status of Tribal Areas and districts of Frontier and Balochistan province which were inherently the issue between India, Pakistan and Britain. The author of the book deliberately pronounces that strategically Pakistan stood more important than Afghanistan on the covet policy documents of US. Is it true today, No! This was true almost 50 years before. As Pakistan was only non-communist state in between regional powers: China; USSR; and to some extent India. The conflict failure between China and USSR and dissolution of later in December 1991 lead US to change its policy regarding Afghanistan and Pakistan. The establishment of SCO reuniting CIS states, Russia and China and predicting the regional economic and security integration which could encircle India and

can extend to Middle East by the gateway of Iran, US found vey less options for its future outreach invested national interests based on energy security in the region. The regional political situation left Pakistan and India in a vacuum of cooperation due to Indian theology of superiority in the region and China Pakistan strategic confluence of common interests. US preserved the grounds of Afghanistan for its reach to regional invested outreach interests including to curb the oil and gas monopoly of Russia over the CIS region; to reduce options for Iran to disturb the balance of power in Middle East and to scrutinize the Chinese covet military and diplomatic prowess and more importantly to vanish the odds for Russia to be economically interdependent on these states after its dismissal from Eastern Europe. Russian exit is marked by last kick of anti ABM system in Poland and Czech Republic. Frankly speaking Pakistan did not well oversee the changing dynamics of regional situation and continue to struggle for the struggle of Taliban in Afghanistan in vain but what was alternative to that? Pakistan evolved as a country promoting conservative Islamic forces and let me say that China, Russia, Iran, CIS states, and India were all facing challenges from such forces because their base was theology of religion despite of ethnic, political or social struggle. This blind policy follow-up reiterated that Pakistan is not a strategically important country for US anymore. We should not ignore diplomatic isolationism we inherited. Afghanistan is the only country in the region that can undermine these regional integrating forces that are promoting the principles of SCO and removing odds for NATO expansionism. The old proposal of Afghanistan to have its way to hot waters of Balochistan could be worked out and Tribal Areas of Pakistan whose inhabitants are prime loyal to the cause of Pakistan—as history reveal their commitment and love to Pakistan when in 1947 they were asked join Pakistan or India—might be enforced again. US is proactive to acquiesce India by offering `123 Agreement` and by promoting its involvement in Afghanistan in order to squeeze its option to be part of this regional integration—US can oversee Indian diplomacy from the era of NAM. This is apparent from the Indian moves on gas contracts between India, Pakistan and Iran. In the case of Pakistan, the contract of Gwadar port played very important role which by fact let India to think across Atlantic. India is feeling threat from Chinese naval maneuverings in the Arabian Sea that will rebuke Indian navy into siege. Pakistan can no longer rationalize this contract unless China is proactive in international politics to play a role to preserve Pakistan`s internal sovereignty owing to recent proposed US military expedition in Tribal Lands. Every one of us is well aware of Marshall Plan of 1947 which was based on reconstruction and to introduce economic, political, military and social renaissance to war-torn Europe. It was successful and whose fruits are still tabled. We for instance can compare Afghanistan and Eastern Europe and in both cases the stakeholder i.e. US is common. But why renaissance in Afghanistan is far to imagine. One should imagine the cause to outpouring of dollars which by the fact is not socio-economic development of the country. The regional political movements like the Russian ability to act in international political order and to show movements for its interests and containment policies of US like deployment of ABM radar system in Poland and Czech Republic have implications for Pakistan as well. Such type of footprints for Second Cold War which most of Americans don`t consider important as Russia is not able to repatriate US policies in the region. This has undermined the Russian economic and political ability in the region and only loophole Russia could avail is to use the platform of SCO to contain NATO in the region and invest in the countries like China, Pakistan and India. The role of Pakistan should reflect its long term strategic and security aims. Pakistan need

to integrate its Tribal Lands into rest of Pakistan and should establish cantonments in these areas. The border between Afghanistan and Pakistan should have all mandatory patrolling of international borders. To be active part in regional integration process, Pakistan needs to further its process for its effective membership in regional organizations and to convince India to allow SAARC to influence on the developments in South Asia constructively. Most important that Pakistan needs to enhance its role as a buffer state between parts of Asia and Europe by allowing international goods to voyage in Atlantic, Arabian and Mediterranean Sea. Muhammad Nadeem Akhtar

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