Imran Khan and his team from PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf) promised us:
At a minimum level Pakistan’s core national interests can be identified as:
Territorial integrity & sovereignty.
The resolution of the Kashmir dispute
Protection of our citizens wherever they may happen to be.
Keeping the above in mind, PTI’s external policy will constitute the following:
Update and expand institutional structure: Over the years the delivery of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has deteriorated as its institutional structure has failed to keep pace with the demands of the changing global environment. Four institutional prerequisites will be put in place in order to enable MOFA to deal with the new external environment and policies more effectively in terms of successful foreign policy operationalisation.
One: A more robust, proactive and specialised Foreign Service, more expansive in numbers and more efficient, with more specialised qualifications – as part of the overall civil service reforms. Our MOFA must be focused on furthering not just Pakistan’s interests abroad but also ensuring protection of our citizens abroad. In this context a major priority of PTI will be to ensure rapid and responsive consular services to our citizens abroad especially those in jails in foreign countries.
Two: A major vacuum, which has resulted in a serious disadvantage in the conduct of our foreign policy, has been the lack of a proper International Law section within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). We envisage playing a major role in multilateral forums at a time when international law, through expanding treaty and UNSC resolutions’ frameworks, is becoming central not only to multilateral diplomacy but also bilateral relations.
Three: A more centralised and coordinated organisational framework for effective diplomacy requires all aspects of diplomatic activity especially in our Missions, such as press, to come under the purview of the MOFA and the Envoys in our Missions. Hence External Publicity, which was initially part of the MOFA, should directly coordinate with and eventually be re-linked with the same Ministry.
Four: Establish a policy coordination cell within the PM office to coordinate inputs from key national stakeholders and Ministries into the foreign policy, for informed decision-making. External policy cannot run on parallel official tracks.
Pakistan is placed in a strategically critical location but we have failed to exploit this to our advantage. In fact, over the years we have allowed this to become a source of weakness and exploitation especially by Extra Regional Powers. Course correction in this regard must be a major priority in terms of external policy.
With regard to external policies, PTI’s guiding principles will be of reciprocity, mutual interests and international norms that will govern Pakistan’s relations at the bilateral and multilateral levels. We are committed to initiating new policies rooted in Pakistan’s priorities, including a conflict resolution approach towards improving our relation with our eastern and western neighbours.
This will include work on a blueprint towards resolving the Kashmir issue within the parameters of UNSC resolutions. For lasting peace within our own region, especially with our neighbour India, conflict resolution and the security route to cooperation is the most viable.
Also, in the context of bilateral relations, PTI’s focus will be on moves to expand the existing strategic partnership with China, as well as with our other allies in the region, including the newly emerging cooperation with Russia. With the US, reciprocity and mutuality of interest will be the determinants of our relationship.
At an overall regional and global level, Pakistan needs to continue expanding its interaction in terms of bilateral and multilateral activities. Due to the altering global and regional parameters, old allies and traditional relationships cannot be taken for granted.
PTI’s major policy goal, in the new external milieu, will be to sustain and increase its relevance regionally and globally, focusing more actively on multilateral diplomacy through critical multilateral forums from the UN to the EU. Pakistan must play the role of a bridge builder and honest broker amongst the states of the Gulf by adopting a non-partisan role in intra-Gulf conflicts.
The UN provides Pakistan an opportunity to play an active role in multilateral diplomacy. We need to expand on that role especially on crucial international issues like terrorism, non-proliferation and international peacekeeping/peace enforcement.
There is also a need to look more attentively towards East Asia and core states in other parts of the world such as Latin America and Africa.
PTI will prioritise politico-economic diplomacy to revitalise the economy through foreign direct investment and trade. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Commerce would prepare a roadmap to this effect on an urgent basis. An essential prerequisite is for complete coordination between the MOFA and other Ministries in relation to all aspects of external policies.
To strengthen the parliamentary system and the voice of the elected representatives, PTI will seek a constitutional amendment to give Parliament the authority to ratify all international treaties after being presented for debate.
You can read these promises in the complete manifesto document released by PTI available HERE in English and HERE in Urdu. Find below the expert`s analysis on the progress of above promise :