Pak is isolated, needs to change its foreign policy: senior journalist

Islamabad, June 29 : Stating that Pakistan is lagging behind economically, senior journalist Zahid Hussein pointed out that Islamabad has become isolated which is why there is a need for re-examining the country’s foreign policy. Speaking at a seminar titled “Is Pakistan Isolated? Regional Challenges and Opportunities’ hosted by the Institute for Policy Reforms (IPR) yesterday, Hussein presented examples of India and China, saying the two countries have progressed, have focused on their economies and added that Islamabad has to change its course. “The current government has made policies for economic development, but they are yet to be implemented because Pakistan’s foreign policy is driven by national security. The China Pakistan Economic Corridor could be a game changer,” Dawn quoted him as saying. He also compared Pakistan’s economic growth with that of India and China saying Islamabad’s rate has been 3pc for the last 10 years with that of India the economy of which has been growing by 8pc. “Pakistan has been left far behind, even by Sri Lanka and Bangladesh,” he added. However, Special Adviser to the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi disagreed with Hussein’s observation and said the current foreign policy is relevant to the needs at the time. Fatemi said that no foreign policy can be called a complete success or failure. “The PML-N’s manifesto said that the foreign policy will focus on the economy. We have tried to have good relations with Afghanistan because we believe there will be no peace in Pakistan until there is peace in Afghanistan,” he said. Asserting that Pakistan wants good relations with India and that the PML-N led government wanted to resume relations from how they were in 1999, he said that the sentiment has to be reciprocal for this to work. “We have good relations with Arab countries and 100,000 Pakistanis will be sent to Qatar for employment. As far as the Nuclear Supplier Group is concerned, Pakistan has been working on this for months and though the application was given at the last moment, 11 countries supported Pakistan. This was all because of diplomacy,” he added. Meanwhile, eminent historian and author of ‘Pakistan, a Hard Country’, Prof Anatol Lieven was of the opinion that though the U.S. hostility has increased, China continues to support Pakistan and warned that this support must not be taken as a carte blanche. “No country wants Pakistan to cross the line between sheltering the Afghan Taliban and arming them. Pakistan will forfeit all goodwill if this were to happen. It is desirable to revive the peace talks,” he said.