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Wednesday Jun 07 2017

Sympathy for Sartaj Aziz

It was one murky morning, many months ago, when Islamabad woke up to the news that Pakistan had become a member of Saudi Arabia’s Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism (IMAFT). For Pakistan’s Foreign Office, it was a bolt from the blue to know about the fait accompli.

The then-foreign secretary feigned ignorance, as did the erstwhile Sartaj Aziz, the prime minister’s adviser on foreign affairs. It was embarrassing, to say the least. Pakistan had found itself in a Catch-22 situation when the popular perception that emerged implied that the Arab anti-terror alliance is a united front against archrival, Iran.

Besides Iran, the newly formed alliance also did not include Indonesia, since the country’s name could not be added without their tacit approval. But Pakistan, on the other hand, became a member without its knowing and without a debate in the parliament.

The overall questionable manner in which Pakistan has acted in the related matter has rendered the country, its sovereignty and its parliament most vulnerable and a laughing stock. Notwithstanding the fact that our incumbent prime minister has a very personal and intimate relationship with Saudi Arabia’s royal family. And these ties aren’t limited to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz. Former-President General Pervez Musharraf too had no moral qualm to declare that the late King Abdullah gave him millions of pound sterling for buying his palatial London flat.

The manner in which Pakistan has been rendered into a helpless state is outright pathetic. It cannot decide what is in its best national interest—to be known as the only nuclear Muslim state that could stand on its own or be branded as a republic whose political and military leaders are up for sale.

Unfortunately, the incumbent government has neither a foreign policy nor a sense of direction or awareness about national and geostrategic interests. I felt pity for Aziz when he had to face the Senate to respond to the uncomfortable questioning by the Senators regarding the IMAFT.

It was surely embarrassing to see him act as if he had no clue about it. No doubt he is old, but he is alert and sharp enough to hold at arm's length, in wit and wisdom, anyone in the area of his expertise. There could not be anything more insulting to read about a man of his calibre, who was at loss for words.

Aziz cut a sorry figure out of his own vocation. Since he was not privy to the terms of reference (ToRs) for the setting up of the 41-nation alliance—he would have earned national respect if he had refused to be party to such a sell out by individuals for personal dividends sacrificing national interests.

Hasan is the former High Commissioner of Pakistan to the United Kingdom and a veteran journalist.

Note: The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Geo News, The News or the Jang Group


    Mudassar commented 2 years ago

    to me suadia arabia is just doing what they want it does not matter what ever is it on the other hand Pakistan is playing safe no needs to get involved just stick to the basic and observe the situation and keep calm try to keep them united

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