INCREASING INTERNATIONAL CRITICISM FORCES PAKISTAN TO HOLD MEET TO BRAINSTORM ITS FOREIGN POLICY ISSUES

Increasing international criticism for allowing terrorists to use its soil to perpetrate terror in other countries has forced Pakistan to do some introspection finally it seems. The country is going to hold from tomorrow a three day meet of selected Pakistani envoys from countries like US, India, Russia and China to deliberate over the issue.

According to Radio Pakistan, the meet is being organized to brainstorm on important foreign policy issues and “the participants will discuss potential strength of the foreign policy and options available in view of the geo-political and regional situation.”

A Pakistan Today report further added that the decision to hold the meet has been taken in the “wake of the strain in diplomatic relations between Pakistan and the US following the strong-worded speech by US President Donald Trump.”

While unveiling his government’s Afghanistan centric South Asia policy last month, US President Donald Trump had called Pakistan again a safe haven for terrorists, had slammed it for its supporting terrorists and had sought to increase India’s role in Afghanistan.

Before it, Modi-Trump Joint Statement in June also called Pakistan a safe haven for terrorists and term made its way to the US Country Report on Terrorism the next month. Trump’s warning to Pakistan tells how miffed he is with the country. While detailing his South Asia policy, Trump slammed Pakistan and warned that the US will no longer be silent about Pakistan’s double-dealings. He demanded that Pakistan’s attitude of doublespeak had to change immediately.

The meet that is being organized in Islamabad will be inaugurated and chaired by Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif while the country’s prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will chair its concluding session.

The latest in the series of setbacks to Pakistan came from an unexpected quarter, China, its all-weather ally. The 9th BRICS Summit, that is being held in Chinese city Xiamen and is being chaired by China, issued a Summit Declaration that openly named and shamed Pakistan based terror groups like LeT, JeM, Haqqani Network and TTP, a first in BRICS history.

Though the BRICS Summit Declaration is not expected to bring any change in China’s stand on Pakistan sponsored terror that has firmly stood behind Pakistan going as far as blocking the UN sanctioning of terrorists like JeM chief Masood Azhar, this is an important change given the fact that China had successfully resisted inclusion of Pakistan based terror groups in the last BRICS Summit Declaration in Goa. And even after the Summit Declaration, China sounded evasive when questioned for its stand of Masood Azhar.

Also, just before the BRICS Summit, the spokesperson of China’s Foreign Ministry had asserted that BRICS was not an appropriate forum to discuss Pakistan’s counter-terrorism record.

©SantoshChaubey