Paradigm Shift in Foreign Policy or Political Shift In the Administration

Overview

25 days left to dissolution of the assembly and prompt preparations for elections are underway. There have been many important proceedings in Pakistan’s situation in recent times. 2014 is important for the expulsion of US troops from Afghanistan. Geographical location of Pakistan has become an important question for the world and Pakistan equally. The foreign policy is expected to experience a paradigm shift in the coming year and Pakistan has decided to stop relying on resourses from United States of America. Signing of Gawadar port contract with Chinese government plays an important role in this regard. Iran pipeline project that was initially Afghanistan and Turkmenistan pipeline has been reduced to Iran only. These are the reasons that have probed analysts to foresee tension in foreign associations. Some elements are connecting these foreign policy changes to tension in Baluchistan area where the tragedy with Hazaras has taken a violent turn with the protestors. They suggest the disturbance is a reaction to the policy trends favoring China and Iran.

In this situation when there is expected disturbance because of a sharp turn in foreign policy, do you think that the government is being non-vigilant?

I do not see any paradigm shift in policy because Gawadar port was developed by China and it was then handed over to a Singapore Company for operations. Decision taken now has been a consequence of negotiations between the three concerned countries. The problem is that Pakistan is dependent on EU and US for various issues. We talk of sovereignty but a very small portion of the population is willing to even pay taxes.

Situation in Baluchistan is partly the result of our own institutions. People responsible for taking care of administration should try bringing the situation under control.

In actuality who do you think is controlling Baluchistan?

I believe in acting in accordance with the constitution. At the moment there is suspended Provincial assembly in Baluchistan and the Province is under governor rule. It is about time that the government takes responsibility. Constitution gives authority to the government to take charge and utilize institutions for betterment of the country so government has every right and full authority to do so.

There’s news that Ahmad Ludhyanvi from Jhang has been assured that PML N will give him full support even though his activities are questionable, what do you have to say regarding this?

If it is established that Ahmad Ludhyanvi belongs to a terrorism encouraging party, no seat adjustment will take place with him. Article 62 and 63 of the constitution prohibits terrorist elements from taking part in the elections so there is no chance of such an action.

Why did Taliban approach PML N for negotiations?

It was a generic statement that Taliban wish to negotiate. We have to understand that one day we have to negotiate with them and find a mutually acceptable solution, that works for them and Pakistan at the same time.

There is disturbance in different regions of the country and PTI has already asked for the President to resign, are you still hopeful for the elections?

The constitution does not require resignation of the president prior to General elections. However, if he resigns, current assembly which has PPP in majority will elect a new president for the next 5 years so demanding a resignation will bear no fruitful results. A better approach is to let elections take place, a new government elected and then the new assemblies elect a new president. Best option is for the government to ensure free and fair elections by forming neutral caretakers and new Government with a fresh mandate takes over and tackles the country’s problems.

Source: “Faisla Awam Ka – Dawn News – 19 February 2013”.

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