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EDITORIAL: Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar couldn’t be more innovative, accurate in claiming that it is the ‘diplomatic jehad’ that Pakistan is waging against India’s illegal occupation of Jammu & Kashmir and incarceration of Kashmir leader Yasin Malik, and it is quite effective.

“There are different definitions of jehad, but the ‘diplomatic jehad’ may be more effective than the jehad which you may be referring to,” she told Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali on the floor of the National Assembly on Tuesday as she was seeking to justify release of grants for Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

And as things stand today war is no option to secure release of Yasin Malik and resolve the Kashmir dispute, she said, adding that Pakistan is working on it with ‘effective’ diplomacy. Khar believes, and quite correctly, that India today is a rogue state, and is in contradiction of principles and morals espoused by Mohandas Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. Rightly so, it is losing support of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

The minister of state also rejected Dr Ramesh Kumar’s take that Pakistan is facing international isolation, insisting that Pakistan is playing “much bigger role on international front… . We ourselves say that Pakistan is facing isolation but rest of the world thinks otherwise”.

The absence of Pakistan at the China-hosted BRICS platform was one more issue she touched upon, pleading for a realistic comprehension of the episode. The working framework of BRICS gives the veto right to its members, and that right India used by blocking Pakistan. How can we doubt China’s intention?” She also explained at some length the imprisonment of Afia Siddiqui in the United States, informing the house that Pakistan is fighting for her case at every level, but obviously every country has its own laws and regulations.

Unlike many members who spoke about the so-called inadequacies besetting the country’s foreign policy Khar is no novice in foreign affairs. She was also there before. So she has rightly detected that there is a yawning gap between generality’s perceptions and perspectives on various challenges confronting Pakistan and what can be possibly done.

As it is done one has to be realistic and pragmatic. When she talked about ‘diplomatic jehad, she was in fact asking the members of parliament to comprehend these challenges in their correct perspectives. For instance, as news broke out that Pakistan was not invited to BRICS conclave there was instant disappointment about Pakistan’s relationship with China. Don’t we know that there have been instances when Pakistan was invited to a conference and so was Israel? And don’t we find the powerful NATO member-states being hesitant to enter the battlefield to stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukrainians against the Russian forces.

The foreign policy of a country is a joint product of a country’s wishful thinking and the impediments to its realisation. More precisely, Minister of State Khar has pleaded against war mongering and tried to convince the members of parliament that ‘proactive’ diplomacy is the best option for Pakistan to promote its foreign policy objectives. And her take is all the more relevant now as Pakistan confronts a serious economic crisis.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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