Time to up the game

If ever Pakistan needed to look to the quality and efficacy of its diplomatic services then that time is now

Editorial October 17, 2016
(L-R) Brazilian President Michel Temer, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping and South African President Jacob Zuma pose for a group photo during the BRICS Summit in Goa on October 16, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

If ever Pakistan needed to look to the quality and efficacy of its diplomatic services then that time is now. The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit has just ended in Goa and India has used it as a vehicle to promote is goal of the isolation of Pakistan — diplomatically, economically and any other variant of isolation it can lay tongue to. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the course of the summit dubbed Pakistan ‘the mothership of terrorism’ which has been swiftly picked up regionally and around the world, a descriptor that is easy on the page for headline writers everywhere and has the ring of durability about it. The best Pakistan could do — there was no place at the table for us — was recycle the mantra that it has deployed for years, namely that India is hiding its brutalities in Kashmir, refusing to abide by UN Security Council resolutions and that innocent people are dying every day.

All of the above are as true today as they were yesterday and will be tomorrow, but it is interesting to note that other BRICS nations were lukewarm to the call to stand together in condemnation of perfidious Pakistan and condemn it as strongly as has India. It is of note that other BRICS members restrained India from the use of provocative language in the final communiqué from the moot. There were hints that China in particular is not keen to follow the Indian line, and as has been suggested in these columns before may be a factor in any future resolution of the Kashmir issue because it stands in the way of its own grand ambitions. Whilst Mr Modi made hay — and headlines — there was nothing in the Pakistan shot-locker beyond some dampish squibs that made no front pages and popped to no discernible effect. If Pakistan is to attract both the attention and the support of the global community and organisations such as BRICS, then it needs both to up and fundamentally change — its game. Pakistan is not isolated and will not be so, but it needs a diplomatic team that delivers that message adroitly and forcefully, not faint-voiced and from the far-away sidelines. Fortune favours the brave, never the meek.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 18th, 2016.

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