Pakistan appears to be shaping for a paradigm shift in its foreign policy, with a flurry of directives making their way from Islamabad to its missions in world capitals. The move comes in the wake of the Nato airstrikes on Pakistan forward posts along the Afghan border on November 26.
On one hand, the government has summoned ambassadors serving in key world capitals for an emergency meeting to review Pakistan’s strategy in the war on terror in general as well as cooperation with the US in particular. The Nato strikes have had a major effect in Islamabad, and has hit an already uneasy alliance between Islamabad and Washington.
Envoys posted in Europe, Afghanistan, India and the US, among others, have been asked to furnish their recommendations for forming a strategy in view of the situation arising out of the Nato attacks, a foreign office official told The Express Tribune on Monday.
The meeting is expected to take place next week, the official added.
The pre-dawn raid at Pakistani check posts near the Afghan border, which left 24 Pakistani soldiers dead, has prompted the country’s top civil and military leadership to review political, diplomatic and military ties with the US.
Pakistan has already shut down the Nato supply route and has asked the US to vacate a remote, but key, airbase in Balochistan.
Pakistan insists that the incident was a ‘deliberate’ attack and as a result, “business as usual” is not possible with the US.
Despite world appeals and a last minute call by US President Barack Obama, Islamabad stayed away from the Bonn conference on Afghanistan, which began on Monday.
The foreign office has called back its ambassadors serving in different countries to get feedback on Pakistan’s response to the Nato airstrikes, said the official.
The consultations with ambassadors correspond with the announcement of a joint session of the parliament this month, where lawmakers are expected to evolve a consensus on ties with the US.
Meanwhile, in a major reshuffle, the government has decided to replace 14 ambassadors currently serving in Germany, Russia, Iran, India, Nepal, Kenya, Brazil, Egypt, Serbia, Tunisia and Chile.
Official sources have confirmed that Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has already approved the reshuffle and an announcement, in this regard, is expected later this week.
It is also learnt that Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir is likely to be appointed Pakistan’s new High Commissioner to India, while the names of current Ambassador to Belgium Jalil Abbas Jilani and Zamir Akram are being considered as Bashir’s successor.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 6th, 2011.