The Foreign policy of a country is anything but concrete, but usually there seems to be a plan. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs uses these words, “Our foreign policy is one of friendliness and goodwill towards all the nations… We believe in the principle of honesty and fair play in national and international dealings... Pakistan will never be found lacking in extending its material and moral support to the oppressed and suppressed peoples of the world, and in upholding the principles of the United Nations Charter,” attributed to Quaid-e-Azam, as the guiding principles of our foreign policy.

While these words are pacifist enough, they are very so vague that they lead to no policy impact. What is the real plan? What if anything can be done to look favourable to the US so that we can avoid situations like the Syrians and Libyans are in? What is to be done about India – about the spy Yadav and the Indus Water Treaty and border violations? What is our strategy with the US vis a vis China? Does our foreign policy actually protect the Pakistani citizen, and afford them respect and opportunities internationally?

With Khawaja Asif as the Foreign Minister, there are reports that foreign policy will be revised, and probably look just like what it did before the post-Panama cabinet shuffle. The Foreign Office spokesperson, Nafees Zakaria, on Thurdsay, reiterated the need for dialogue and negotiations to sort out political and territorial disputes. While explaining Pakistan’s position on Afghanistan, he emphasised a political solution. Both statements were vague and in character with all past statements. Additionally, he said world leaders had repeatedly recognised Pakistan’s successes and sacrifices. One wonders who these leaders are, and why Pakistan still has a bad image internationally if our efforts are acknowledged.

The fact is that our foreign policy is reactive. We aren’t forging our own path; it is not as if we had a choice when warming up to the Chinese, or Russians. The only real decision in our foreign policy in the last four years has been the decision not to interfere in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, and that was taken by the parliament rather than be introduced to legislators by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

What is the real plan?