Envoys want less emotion, more strategy in policies

Published: December 12, 2011
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Pakistan's Envoys conference being chaired by FM Khar, 
General Khalid Shameem Wynne, Finance Minister Hafeez Sheikh seen in the picture. PHOTO: INP

Pakistan's Envoys conference being chaired by FM Khar, General Khalid Shameem Wynne, Finance Minister Hafeez Sheikh seen in the picture. PHOTO: INP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani diplomats serving in key world capitals have tried to calm down the government over its ‘kneejerk’ reaction to last month’s Nato airstrikes that killed two dozen troops.

Over two dozen ambassadors and high commissioners, who were called to the foreign ministry for urgent deliberations to review ties with the US, on Monday urged the government to immediately reopen supply routes for Nato forces, a participant told The Express Tribune.

The senior diplomats argued that the country’s foreign policy should be based on strategy, not sentiment. “We need to have a long-term relationship with the US,” said an official who asked not to be named. “The policy based on emotionalism is not the solution,” he added.

A top foreign ministry official echoed this view. “There is a sense that Pakistan’s foreign policy should be aligned to its long-term security and development needs,” he said. “We want good relations with all countries and unless relations are based on mutual benefit and mutual trust these cannot be sustained.”

The views expressed by the country’s top diplomatic authorities were in stark contrast to the tough stance taken by the government as well as the military establishment in the aftermath of the Nato attacks.

It is unclear if the government will heed their call, as Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Sunday indicated that Nato supplies could remain suspended for weeks.

There was no official word on the opening day of the conference. When approached, foreign ministry spokesperson Abdul Basit refused to comment on the proceedings. The concluding session will be chaired by the prime minister, after which more concrete decisions are expected to take shape.

The ambassadors were summoned as part of the government announcement to rewrite the terms of engagement with the US, following the Nato raid that plunged the already fragile alliance between Islamabad and Washington into a deeper crisis.

On the first-day of the conference, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff General Khalid Shameem Wynne and Director General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha briefed the participants.

In his briefing, Hafeez Sheikh warned that complete disassociation with the US would be a “blunder” and would certainly have a negative impact on the country’s fragile economy.

“Though economic indicators are positive, that doesn’t mean we can afford a breakdown in our relationship with the US,” Sheikh was quoted as saying by the official.

General Pasha told the participants that the November 26 attacks on Pakistani check posts reflected “frustration on the part of the US over their lack of success in Afghanistan.” The ISI chief argues that the Americans “have yet to reconcile with the ground realities of the region.”

According to a source, Pasha informed the conference that the US would have to work with Pakistan if it wishes to achieve a sustainable peace in Afghanistan.

However, after the ISI chief and the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff left the meeting, some of the envoys criticised the military’s assessment and approach to dealing with the current situation.

The two-day conference will conclude today (Tuesday).

(Read: War of words with the US)

Published in The Express Tribune, December 13th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (47)

  • Shafiq Nasery
    Dec 12, 2011 - 5:51PM

    good at least its an independent country.

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  • Cautious
    Dec 12, 2011 - 6:09PM

    If Pakistan plans of breaking from the West you can bet that some of these Ambassadors are going to seek political asylum when they return to their posts – these people are smart enough to avoid living in the next N Korea.

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  • patriot
    Dec 12, 2011 - 7:21PM

    Meeting presided by “Hina Rabbani khar” holds no importance for west and Pakistan. If this meeting had held in GHQ , it would have been considered for discusion.

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  • Ejaz
    Dec 12, 2011 - 7:34PM

    @Cautious:
    What’s wrong with the North Korea because it challanges those who you sympathise with!! Is this the problem for you. What has Iran lost since the US and the rest of the West has alianated them?? Nothing, it has galvanised them to a progress and development. I am sure, it will galvanise Pakistan as wel..

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  • Bangladeshi
    Dec 12, 2011 - 7:51PM

    @Ejaz : You shouldn’t be surprised by comments from people like cautious. They think that iranians are begging for help from the USA and loath themselves and their proud leaders for isolation. They live in a dream world where every one in the world revere US as their master.Recommend

  • saleem ullah
    Dec 12, 2011 - 8:20PM

    @Patriot; you are right , anyhow still it can be managed to be significant , if PRIME MINISTER himself preside.

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  • Syed Kashmiri
    Dec 12, 2011 - 8:39PM

    The High Commissioner from England did not attend. Is it because he fears arrest or did he develop a “diplomatic illness”. He did indicate that Zardari knew about the OBL raid.He said too much.

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  • Hu Jintao
    Dec 12, 2011 - 9:40PM

    @Cautious:
    And what exactly is wrong with north korea?

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  • Sabrina Khan
    Dec 12, 2011 - 10:05PM

    @Ejaz & Bangladeshi_ instead of taking “Cautious” seriously, you should ignore all such people who write with pseudonyms to hide their national identities but are given away by their feelings…lets ignore all those who write with a predetermind agenda..and focus on the issues at hand. This conference of the Ambassadors from key capitals is a positive initiative and we must commend Foreign Office for that…

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  • OS
    Dec 13, 2011 - 5:19AM

    Firstly what on earth are these generals doing in a meeting on foreign policy..secondly whats wrong with north korea is the fact that most of its population is dying of hunger while the generals are busy making missiles..missiles and bombs dont feed hungry stomachs. The ambassadors views are based on how the world sees us and trust me its not good. Try to look out of the frog pond and the picture looks way different than what you are shown there.

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  • amir jafri
    Dec 13, 2011 - 5:22AM

    The slaves are itching to get their chains back…” The massa is is unhappy” the the houseniggers are symptomatically in pain…

    Iran, North Korea , China , Russia…all, except the slavedoms,. the majority of world nations are our friends. THe United Satans must be trteated with contempt , ridicule and hounded so that we can be free…The ELITE in Pakistan, the Ba Ba Blacksheep, has to be DELETED.Recommend

  • Prakash
    Dec 13, 2011 - 5:34AM

    @Ejaz@Bangladeshi
    Compare North Korea with South Korea(an ally of USA) and that will tell you -what is wrong with North Korea.Due to malnutrition/lack of food the average height of North Korean people is shrinking while South Korea has become developed nation. Iran has Oil,which the World needs so it is able to sustain itself to an extent without US help, but Pakistan is not at the same footing.Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh understand it very well that Pakistan will easily default to foreign debt, if not propped by USA.Many of the foreign debt were restructure for easy repayment scheduled ,When Musharraf jumped into US bandwagon after 9/11, otherwise Pakistan economy was going south at that time also.

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  • DesiBhai
    Dec 13, 2011 - 5:37AM

    @Ejaz & Bangladeshi_ Take stock of the situation of North Korea and South Korea and You will understand what is wrong with North Korea.

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  • F Robinson
    Dec 13, 2011 - 5:42AM

    It is in the interest of both Pakistan and US to normalize relations as soon as possible.

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  • Babloo
    Dec 13, 2011 - 5:53AM

    The report says
    “However, after the ISI chief and the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff left the meeting, some of the envoys criticised the military’s assessment and approach to dealing with the current situation.” Good that they waited after the chiefs left or else they too would be put on Exit Control List. Good thinking.

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  • Far
    Dec 13, 2011 - 5:53AM

    @Hu Jintao:
    What is wrong with North Korea? They don’t have enough money to feed their people. North Koreans are poor and uneducated and live in a dream world where their Dear Leader is everything to the point of worshiping him. They are isolated and very far from civilization. Just ask those North Koreans who manage to escape from NK to South Korea and see the difference. And I live here, I can tell more then you guys. I am afraid the way Pakistan’s foreign policy is going it is sure to become another NK. Know the facts before sentimentally jumping on something/anything.

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  • dr j tipu
    Dec 13, 2011 - 5:57AM

    finance minister said, “economic indicators are positive”………….lol, get a life Mr Sheikh, and wake up from your mad dream….what else does one expect from a dozen ambassadors who offcourse predominantly have vested interests elsewhere other than Pakistan, once they cannot raise sufficient voice againsr such brutality from US foreign policy, they all fall on their knees to request a speedy reopening of NATO supplies………utter shame

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  • Bilal M F
    Dec 13, 2011 - 6:05AM

    @Hu Jintao: Absolutely nothing!! In fact you should pray hard Pakistan do become next N Korea.

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  • Dr KH Mian
    Dec 13, 2011 - 6:08AM

    Simply, Pakistan Diplomatic Service in its vast majority consists of personnel who do not care about their own country’s interests. Hence, it is not at all unexpected that these “no goods” should be advising “caution” instead of “firm action”, and for once it is great to see that the PM is paying them no heed because he must have justly assessed their professional “quality”.

    These so called Diplomats or Envoys are totally divorced from reality. They live in a “make believe world” far from their homeland dominated by “cocktails and parties and duty free goods”.

    Being an Asiatic country with close ties to the World’s most advancing economies, even more than USA, Pakistan should learn to gravitate away from the morally and economically bankrupt and warmongering West towards peaceful Asiatic countries.

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  • Syed Kashmiri
    Dec 13, 2011 - 6:19AM

    Self Reliance is the key and solution if you want to live with honor and dignity. Get some backbone.

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  • Ashraf P
    Dec 13, 2011 - 6:27AM

    That’s because the envoys – unlike the rulers and the lay public know the importance of NATO and the US. Bravado and bluffing only goes that far.

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  • Hasan
    Dec 13, 2011 - 6:29AM

    @Hu Jintao:
    North Korea, is one of the world’s most oppressive, closed, and vicious dictatorships. The state has control over every aspect of human life. It is certainly a failed state by any measure – it has limited food (resulting in a regular famine), decayed infrastructure and an economy that relies on international assistance to feed and provide resources to its people.

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  • From Toronto with Love
    Dec 13, 2011 - 6:31AM

    “Knee jerk” reaction? Did any of these top diplomats have a son at Salala post? Sovereignty and strategy is for those who have dignity. Dont become door mat of the world by opening NATO routes, for a change show some spine.

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  • Nadir
    Dec 13, 2011 - 6:43AM

    However, after the ISI chief and the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff left the meeting, some of the envoys criticised the military’s assessment and approach to dealing with the current situation. – yep, I guess they all must be traitors. Time to ship some retired Generals as ambassodors so that they can look foreign leaders in the “eye”

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  • Ammad
    Dec 13, 2011 - 6:55AM

    No matter how good the foreign policy/strategy, it will be of no significance unless internal issues are curtailed…. ISI needs to ponder on that note

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  • anonymous
    Dec 13, 2011 - 7:12AM

    oh yeah go ahead, sell the blood of your sons!!

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  • Dec 13, 2011 - 7:23AM

    @Cautious:
    Traitors are never a Commodity in Short Supply”, especially in the Muslim World… From Mir Sadiq and Mir Jaffar to TODAYs’…

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  • samia
    Dec 13, 2011 - 9:33AM

    there is no unity left in us…..our ambassadors wants us to continue relations with those who are not even bothering to accept there mistake and mark an apology over their brutal act destroying a nation’s sovereignity…to cut the NATO supply and all military relations we are not taken an emotional step but it is the first right thing this government has done in their whole tenure till now.

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  • Jp
    Dec 13, 2011 - 10:26AM

    @Ejaz:
    For the moment Iran has not lost anything but wait and see within the next 2 years it will loose its nucleur assets and will become another Iraq because full trap is layed by US, NATO, Saudi Arabia & Israel. They are only waiting for the US presidential elections. If you want more convincing details just go thro the article in Asiatimes Online

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  • Light
    Dec 13, 2011 - 10:27AM

    well that acually sum’s up our foriegn policy as well as show the capability of our ambassadors. I guess when they were taught, the only focus in there amabassador trainign is to praise the master USA.
    I totally agree with the statement that, “policy should not created on emotins”. HOWEVER “Policy should also not created on FEAR”

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  • Jp
    Dec 13, 2011 - 10:38AM

    @Ejaz:
    @Bangladeshi:
    @Hu Jintao:
    What do you think US & Nato are in Afghanistan for? They are not there to do any charity business. Even after 2014 they are not going to withdraw their troops completely from Afghanistan. They want to keep this strategic location in South Asia so that they can have advantage on the neighbours Pakistan, Iran & China in case of any disputes and the Mohamand checkpost attack was just a warning to Pakistan to fall in line with US of A

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  • Dec 13, 2011 - 10:39AM

    @Shafiq Nasery: What good??? have you read it carefully?
    Over two dozen ambassadors and high commissioners, who were called to the foreign ministry for urgent deliberations to review ties with the US, on Monday urged the government to immediately reopen supply routes for Nato forces…
    ambassadors????????????????????????????????????Recommend

  • Dec 13, 2011 - 11:00AM

    @Bangladeshi:
    I am sorry I could not get your point, please elaborate. Thanks

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  • Dec 13, 2011 - 11:02AM

    @Far:
    I think we are faring worse than north korea.

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  • anon
    Dec 13, 2011 - 12:23PM

    I wonder where we stand as nation. No doubt we need to have friendly relation but not at the cost of self respect and security of our nation which come first and foremost.

    To us we see the credibility gap toward our Ambassadar’s , for example Haqqani . As some one earlier pointed out they may be the first one to apply for asylum if something disastrously goes wrong here.

    In all ‘Caution’ is the way to go but not at the cost of self respect. (Didn’t once our leader Bhutto said we would eat grass if we had to ? so why did he said that ?)

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  • Pakistani
    Dec 13, 2011 - 12:39PM

    The Envoys must not forget the basic need of Pakistani people
    i.e
    “WE WANT TO LIVE WITH HONOR”

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  • frank
    Dec 13, 2011 - 12:46PM

    Breaking free of America’s embrace is in Pakistan’s strategic interests. There is nothing ’emotional’ about this assessment. It is based on facts, logic and reason, things the Pakistani liberals hardly know anything about.

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  • sultan
    Dec 13, 2011 - 2:01PM

    Change all these envoys, good 4 nothing bunch of US cronies. We must decide according to our supreme national interest not economic interest of our ruling elite.

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  • Alfred jan
    Dec 13, 2011 - 2:03PM

    Pakistan should decide according to the national interest not economic interest alone.

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  • Salman
    Dec 13, 2011 - 3:41PM

    There is no comparison with NK and Pakistan. Even US Pak relations are put on a halt, Pak does enjoy better relationships with almost entire muslim world and including some European countries. And if US has to succeed in Afghanistan for what ever reasons(minerals/gas/no talibans) they ultimately have to rely on Pakistan in a Longer run. Now get this in your thick brains you all ignorants. Most will happen is suspension of aid but I doubt international sanctions which Iran and North Korea are facing. Sanctions means international isolation which is farrr beyond the point right now and i doubt it will even come closer to it.Pakistan has to learn to stand on feet anyways ..sooner or later it was coming even if that border clash incident wouldn’t had occurred.

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  • Anjum
    Dec 13, 2011 - 11:11PM

    @Cautious:
    If and if and if … Are you a wizard troll ? Comparing us with N Korea?? You have lost … Sir.

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  • Anjum
    Dec 13, 2011 - 11:31PM

    @Jp:
    They will leave for sure – until then its good that they are here, it will make the development of Pak, Iran, Arabic and Kaukasus countries quicker Recommend

  • Shakky
    Dec 14, 2011 - 1:49AM

    @Ejaz, @Bangladeshi: Comparing Pakistan to Iran is a nonstarter. The reason Iran has survived all these years is because it is a major oil exporter with a dependable inflow of oil export revenues in the form of hard currency. What is Pakistan going to export?

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  • DB
    Dec 14, 2011 - 4:04AM

    @Cautious:
    According to your expert analysis the only option is to live as US slave or as North Korea?

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  • Asif
    Dec 14, 2011 - 5:05AM

    Most of these envoys don’t belong to Pakistan as most of them have their investments outside Pakistan. I agree that we cannot break relations with whole world nor we should do. But we have right to resist brutality regardless of price we will need to pay eventually.
    For those who think Pakistan has benefited from US, I’d like to ask them to have a good look into past. Pakistan has lost more than gaining from US. Although it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t deal with US. We should keep relations with US but with cautions!!! We need to avoid relations like Mush had with US.

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  • Asif
    Dec 14, 2011 - 5:12AM

    @Salman: You are absolutely right; Pakistan needs to learn how to stand on its own feet. I strongly believe the day Pakistan stands on its own feet, incidents like Salala check post will never repeat themselves (inshallah).

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  • observer
    Dec 14, 2011 - 9:29AM

    @Ejaz @Bangladeshi

    Did you by any chance notice,

    A. Iran was/ is not hosting OBL/Quetta Shura/ Haqqani/ LeJ/ SSP/LeT et al.

    B. Iran is a major producer and exporter of oil and is not dependent on foreign aid.

    Can we say the same for Pakistan?
    For greater clarity please read Air Vice Marshal (Retd) Shahzad Choudhri.

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/305518/jettison-external-load/

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