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The myth of Pakistan’s isolation

In the lives of nations, there is no friend, nor any enemy; it’s just a need or necessity. If someone is dependent on another, he would go to any limit to have the need fulfilled and for this he would have to pay the price in terms of compromise in other matters. Or if two countries are interdependent, they maintain friendly relations because they both have a mutual need and would support each other in every other matter.

Having said that, Pakistan is not a victim of international isolation or loneliness as per the rhetoric put forth by opposition parties for point scoring in Parliament every other day. A true victim of isolation was Iran, who was not allowed to raise its economy, do trading, expansion, proliferate and many more severe restrictions following the Iranian revolution of 1979. If we really want to talk about international isolation we need to look at North Korea where people are not allowed to travel or leave the state, ruled by one party system and having their own version of communism. Their nuclear program and socialist system has made them isolated in the world; a byproduct of being shunned by the Americans. For North Korea though, they themselves do not want to engage with the world. Isolation works for an autocratic power growing from the inside.

Considering Pakistan’s need in Islamic world, being nuclear power, regional position, strategic importance, Pakistan cannot be isolated. Moreover, China – our strongest ally and the biggest investor in Pakistan – cannot afford to make Pakistan isolated. The 46 billion dollar investment has gone to a whopping 51 billion dollars being used for various projects including major infrastructure development in the economic corridor. Despite all the arguments for equal distribution of the projects in CPEC, the nation as a whole agrees that this is the game changer for the economic prosperity of Pakistan.

Pakistan is also taking relations with Russia on friendlier terms. Both countries recently did their military exercises together to be ready to fight against a common enemy if needed in future. Russia has already signed CASA-1000 and is directly financing this mega energy project of transmitting power generation from Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to Pakistan.

Despite the fact that there is a deal on Chabahar port between Iran and India, Iran has just showed their interest to be a part of CPEC.

America would increase pressure on Pakistan to try and halt our rapid progress, but even they would never dismantle ties with us because they have their own requirements. They still need Pakistan, as the US have always been wanting us to take action against Haqqani Network and needs our consistent support to play a major part to resolve issues related to Afghanistan on their behalf.

India appealed and filed a reference against Pakistan to declare it a terrorist state, whereas America refused to do so.

Pakistan’s beleaguered relations with India do not mean that we are lonely on an international platform. We would have to stop looking at our policies and value through India’s belligerently self-centered opinions. Talking about SAARC conference and the refusal of Bangladesh, India, Afghanistan and Bhutan to participate, one thing needs to be clearly understood that SAARC is not an internal issue of Pakistan rather it is a matter of all SAARC countries and their regional planning and stability. So every other country of SAARC is affected, not only Pakistan.

Yes, we are isolated in a way, but this isolation is more issue-oriented rather a fact of actuality for all intents and purposes. And for that very matter, the world resists on supporting us on Kashmir issue the way we deserve to be supported and US build pressure on us related to militancy and terrorism. Until and unless the world understands that we do not support militant groups and our armed forces take full action with zero tolerance against all such factions, we will remain under pressure on some issues. Without any doubt, Pakistan has to work on its internal policies to take action against extreme and militant groups who are an ultimate threat to Pakistan’s image and sovereignty and destroy their safe havens. This would be taking step towards building a sense of belief in the minds of the world that we do not support such terrorists; and ultimately this would create a deeper sense of trust in Pakistanis and erase the suspicions that cause the world to harass us when we land at international airports especially in Europe, America and the UK. After eradicating militancy and terrorism, the major of all challenges, Pakistan would have to work on eliminating extremist radicals and fanaticism in the country.

Otherwise, we are well on our way to being a globalised international superpower. People need to think of Iran and North Korea before anyone declares Pakistan an isolated country.

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