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Thursday June 13, 2024

Diplomatic blunder

By Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani
April 08, 2022

In view of the dramatic change amid political turmoil, it was not a ‘surprise’ but a diplomatic blunder by Prime Minister Imran Khan, who not only violated diplomatic norms under the guise of a mysterious letter but pushed the country towards a constitutional crisis. Foreign policy for a state, especially to deal with a superpower, is no doubt a tactful art which demands much care and wisdom.

The National Assembly was dissolved unconstitutionally just for the sake of sabotaging the no-confidence voting. Further, the continuous projection of an aggressive narrative against the US to exploit people's sentiments is really a worrisome matter. In my view, exchange of such letters is a normal practice at the international diplomatic level. That is why making it a lame excuse for violating the sanctity of parliament should not be accepted.

The parliamentary history of the world has witnessed that once a no-confidence motion is tabled in parliament after fulfilling the constitutional requirements, the prime minister has two options, either to resign gracefully in advance or to face the motion. In the National Assembly of Pakistan, Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto faced a no-confidence motion. After defeating the motion bravely, she made an historic speech to emphasize the stability of democracy and the supremacy of the constitution.

Regardless of all the ups and downs in the past, Pakistan and the US could be termed ‘natural allies’ due to several common features, such as both countries having deep roots in democratic struggle. If the Americans are proud of the great personality of Abraham Lincoln then we feel honour for Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah who is famous for principles, dignity, character and democracy. The US is also among those first countries that established diplomatic relations with Pakistan.

After Independence, Pakistan’s first Prime Minister Liaqat Ali Khan, despite an invitation by the Soviet Union, decided to visit the US in order to establish cordial bilateral relations. Many older Pakistani citizens still remember the historical visit of US VP Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s.

Whenever Pakistan faced crises of food shortage, the US came forward to provide a huge quantity of wheat. USAID also initiated many development cooperation programmes. Pakistani students are provided scholarships in American universities as part of people-to-people exchange programmes. The Soviet invasion in Afghanistan further resulted in bringing the US and Pakistan closer. Pakistani leadership, civilian or military, is always keen to boost bilateral ties with the US.

We may have many legitimate grievances related to the role of the United States regarding Pakistan but blaming a country in public without any solid evidence is not justified as it can lead us towards another crisis on the international front. The recent statement by the Russian foreign ministry, in my view, also increased our insecurities amid constitutional turmoil.

Pakistan has been facing international pressure since day one due to its geo-strategic location and prominent position in the eyes of the international community. On many occasions, I advised PM Imran Khan to be aware of Chanakya's teachings in order to successfully counter global pressure. Born in present-day Pakistan, the great ancient philosopher had emphasized hundreds of years ago to follow a responsible foreign policy depending on the situation and relations with other states in order to maintain internal peace and regional stability.

The writer is a member of the National Assembly and patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council.

He tweets @RVankwani