National interests & Us-Iran crisis





                                  By Abdul Rahman Malik


Ever since PTI came into power with the slogan of retrieving the looted wealth and stabilizing economy, it although has been successful in putting the bigwigs behind the bars, the retrieval of looted wealth still remains a big ask.

Despite Passage of One and a half year of the Government, the government is still unclear about their strategic vision and the goal to provide the nation with a clear roadmap to success. So far the government posts dismal picture both on Legislation and Economic fronts despite bailout package from IMF and overcoming the current account Deficit and raising reserves through support from Saudi Arabia, China and UAE to overcome current account deficit.

The Foreign Policy needs to be revisited and crafted as per strategic vision. The senior diplomats are of the view that it needs to hyperactive  Given the geostrategic location of Pakistan.

At present, there is a trust deficit between US-Pakistan Relations though Pakistan has played a pivotal role in Afghan Peace Process resulting beginning of Dialogue between the US and Taliban and the other stakeholders.

Pakistan has played its part to bring the Taliban on the negotiating table, it is US’ turn to further the dialogue Process and strike a peace deal so that Peace may prevail in Afghanistan.

The Recent blunder of incumbent PTI Government not to attend the Kuala Lumpur   Summit of  Islamic  Block will cost heavily to Pakistan especially in terms of winning support for Caged Kashmiris by  Fascist and racist Modi Regime. Despite  160  days of long Kashmir lockdown, Government has not been able to put pressure on India through effective diplomacy to ease the tensions and getting support to pass a resolution against  Indian altering of Kashmir Special Status and repealing the article  370 and annexing it with India violating UN resolutions for holding a plebiscite.

Even India went one step ahead in passing anti-Muslim Citizen Bill that makes it compulsory to convert to Hinduism to be Indian Citizens. Controversial Citizen’s Amendment Act (CAA) has been criticized heavily and thousands of people have taken to streets and have been protesting for the last 15 days.

The spokespersons of Government have sunk the very ship of Government by making irresponsible and illogical statements regarding court judgments and Parliament especially for opposition creating hurdles in the legislation process.

They have struck the ship of Government in the quagmire of politico crisis since their reluctant and stubborn attitude towards opposition not to seek any help for legislation and coming out of economic crisis specially the rising inflation that has compelled the people to be fed up the current Government.

People will be distancing their support if the situation goes from bad to worse. The Current Team of PTI Government is a group of incompetent Individuals who resort to agitate the statements given by their cabinet members.

It is a pity that Imran Khan has been kept in limbo by cabinet members while the coalition may have cracks in coming days if this stubborn attitude continues to prevail. This practice will ultimately sabotage the Kashmir cause since India took the fullest advantage of Political disintegration in Pakistani Power Politics and egoism.

The heads of mainstream parties such as PML-N and PPP were in jail and released on bail on medical grounds. PML–N leaders Nawaz and Shahbaz are in London for the treatment of former. The critical health condition may be just an excuse as per PTI leaders since they wanted to get rid of sentences and trials. The Government remained stuck to denial of any NRO or Leniency though some Political analysts call it secret deal.

The PTI Government seems to be in great trouble to bring amendment in the Army Act through either an act of the parliament or amendment in the constitution. For amendment in the constitution, it requires two-thirds majority which will compel  Government to approach the  Opposition either  PML N or PPP to get support since so far it does not seem to be in the mood to approach the opposition since  Government calls them corrupt and looters.

Though  PPP may cooperate with Government in the amendment of constitution except for the 18th amendment that guarantees complete autonomy to the provinces as some ministries such as health, Education, local Governance etc have been devolved to provinces after the passage of  18th Amendment during PPP regime. The Provinces such as Sindh, Baluchistan have shown restraint in tempering with the 18th amendment.

Luckily, the Government has succeeded in tabling the act to amend the Army, The Navy and The Air force Chiefs appointment, Reappointment tenure or Extension rules.

Since it was the national security issue, None of the members of Parliament from both Government and Opposition benches objected to the Bill or submitted proposals as Defense  Minister  Pervez Khattak had requested the members not to make the issue controversial.

Though the Government used derogatory language for the opposition parties and questioned the ailing Nawaz and Zardari for the national cause, they expressed the united voice and cooperated with the Government.

Likewise, the Government should show polite behaviour towards the opposition and engage them to address the economic woes Pakistan is being faced with. Everyone believes that personal grudges are secondary but homeland security and economic prosperity are primary factors to be addressed and joint platform be formed to take Pakistan out of the economic quagmire, control rising inflation and commodity prices especially tomatoes and the daily use items.

The extending hand for the sake of the country will not make the government stand down. All you need to set your ego aside. Opposition’s support must be sought on the amendment of NAB ordinance if they have any reservations on any section etc.

If you go harder, you will not be able to legislate on key issues since the government lacks the number i.e. two-third majority to bring constitutional amendments. Pakistan cannot afford derailment of democracy nor early election, given the economic and strategic factors especially the US-Iran Standoff over the assassination of Top General Qassem Suleimani -the second most influential person in Iran.

The government should bring change in their hard attitudes to appease the Opposition since it will be productive and decrease outrage, criticism and protests against the government.

Indian atrocities in Jammu and Kashmir have no bounds and the prolonged locked down has brought the valley to stand still. The Kashmir cause has been affected owing to the arrogant attitude of Government with the opposition that has weakened the united voice for supporting Kashmir cause.

The US approaching Pakistan for Middle East crisis has increased the geostrategic importance of Pakistan since Pakistan enjoys good relations with Iran and US especially Afghan Peace. Mark Pompeo’s call to Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa confirms that America wants Pakistan to play its role for Peace.

Despite escalation between the US and Iran in wake of Sulemani’s Killing and retaliating missile Attack on US Military basis in Iraq that has further deteriorated the situation amid looming US Iran-War. But the Defense and Security analysts have rejected such happening since what Iran did to take revenge for Assassination of General Suleimani to console the Iranian People demanding revenge from the US.

Pakistan needs to be very careful not be the part of conflict since  Pakistan has already paid a heavy price by Supporting US  during the Afghan war by providing Airbases under  Musharaf Regime. The conditions in the Middle East are very critical since the Iraqi Parliament has Passed resolution asking the US to leave  Iraq as the strike was against the sovereignty of Iraq and the grave violation of international law. They said that the US Airstrike on Qassem Suleimani Plane within the Limits of Iraqi Territory that has been considered a sheer violation of International Law.

Even Donald Trump is being heavily criticized by his party leaders during the controversial Security briefing since both Republicans and Democrats termed the strike a big mistake as the evidence was not provided that Qassem Suleimani was an imminent threat to the United States.

Donald Trump made it clear that despite missile strikes by Iran on Two Military bases There were no causalities and hinted that the US will not engage in war with Iran. On the contrary, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini has made it clear that Iran  will not halt strikes until US forces leave Iraq and unless sanctions are lifted against Iran

Finally, Pakistan should remain away from US-Iran conflict and continue efforts for peace and should not provide its basis and soil to be used against Iran since we have already experienced a tragic APS attack and cannot afford to have more like this.

The Government must engage security, defence and foreign policy experts, senior diplomats from both Government and Opposition Parties to devise the national policy for terms of Engagement with the US so that Pakistan may not face any diplomatic issues as happened in Past that affected our ties with neighbouring country Afghanistan.   Pakistan should make its hyperactive to win support for Kashmir issue and play a peacemaker role in US –Iran Conflict.