The BRICS declaration has put our cards on the table. We have been told that our two religious organizations, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) though proscribed both by the United Nations and Pakistan, have been fomenting terrorism in the region. The declaration did not name Pakistan, but both organizations had been based in Pakistan, and their leaders, Hafiz Saeed and Azhar Mahmood are living here. The former was put on house arrest following Trump’s election while the latter has been underground in his native town Bahawalpur, running a fleet of Madrassas. LeT, and JeM may had been proscribed, but their organizational structures were never touched, giving them the leeway to resurface with new names. The LeT became Jamaat-ud-Dawa, and the JeM turned into Tehrik-al-Furqan. India has been trying since long to put Masood’s name on the UN list of terrorists, but China vetoed it always.

But now China has also told us that, “It’s time to put our house in order.” The Foreign Minister (FM) of Pakistan Khawaja Asif while talking about the BRICS declaration that has accused Pakistan based militant organizations of pouring oil in the Afghan war, pleaded the architects of the foreign policy in Pakistan to heed the voices emanating from the international corridors. In a clear helplessness, the minister did not give a clear-cut policy of how to go about ‘putting our house in order.’ He was looking somewhere else for the decision to rethink the existing foreign policy model and make it more reliant on diplomacy rather than on the application of covert forces.

It took a bit out of us when Russia and China became accusatory against Pakistan. The government immediately went into a damage control mode, and the FM went to China to get the concession. However, the question is why our friends had been forced to act strangers. Why this shift, when only a few weeks back, on the occasion of Washington’s new policy on Afghanistan, China asked the international community to appreciate Pakistan’s sacrifices in the war against terrorism. Russia too gave cover to Pakistan against Trump’s naked accusations that Pakistan was harbouring terrorists. What has changed in these two weeks that both China and Russia have joined Indian rant to designate Pakistani based religious organizations source of militancy in the region, especially in Afghanistan. Perhaps the change was in the making, and only we could not see it coming. Or maybe the architects have become immune to such allegations. But in the wake of China’s increasing economic involvement in Pakistan, this warning cannot be taken lightly, and perhaps, as we have been told the time has come to put our house in order. In reality, though, the foreign office had smelled the coffee much earlier.

The meeting of country’s high-ranking military, civil and intelligence officials last year, which will go down in the history of Pakistan, as ‘Dawn Leaks,’ gave out the same message. No logic can justify the ‘flawed’ decision to leak the talking points of such a sensitive meeting in the press. But one can hardly deny the similarity in the message both Dawn Leaks and the BRICS declaration carried; that the international community is running out of patience with our adventure of nurturing the Jihadi outfits disrupting situations in Afghanistan and Kashmir further. Unfortunately, the message got warped in the manner in which such an important policy issue was made public.

The trust deficit, in the civil-military relations, has only widened because of the policy of retribution, both sides have been adopting to get even with one another. It would have been pragmatic, if the time and effort spent on Panama case, that eventually removed the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, were invested in reassessing the foreign policy to make Pakistan a responsible country. Two wrongs never make a right. The government was wrong to put its military at the centre of the accusation ring – opening it up to India’s aggression that used the opportunity to expose Pakistan further. The military was wrong in denying the reality, and instead of hunting out the enemies it chose to sleep with them and pulled the guns at the government. The story has revisited us, and however nonchalant we may try to pose the reality is that Pakistan is facing isolation. Our sacrifices in the line of terrorism, and our claim to have made headways in clamping the head of this monster are likely to wither unless we decide to get rid of the long held dependency on the covert forces to protect our false fear and insecurities from regional countries. Pakistan can be better saved if shielded by a healthy economy and an honest political leadership.

There is scarcely any solace, as some people are finding, in the BRICS declaration also bracketing Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan as an equal spoiler of regional peace. Remember, before becoming India’s underbelly the TPP has been part of ours. Their apologists for years had called them ‘the strayed youth.’ Pervez Rashid, Nassir Janjua, and Munawer Saeed are on record saying so. But the problem is that except ourselves we find everyone else against us. Now that the Chief of Army Staff has asked the world to do more, rather than depending on us, we are left but with prayers to see sanity prevail.