With the advent of new party’s government at Islamabad, certain gigantic but chequered foreign policy initiatives are found abundantly floating on the surface of Pakistan’s diplomatic pool. These are seen to be sometimes fraught with uniqueness, novelty, unprecedented and independence lacking so far. However, sometimes, the initiatives are, prima facie, strange, dramatic, camouflaged, shocking, indefinite, an unpredictable and strings pulling for the local and the international forces as well as the political analysts. Thus, having far reaching national, regional and international effects, good or bad, whatsoever.

Perhaps, out of blue, the US President, Donald Trump recently has expressed his ‘desire’ to see Pakistan’s leadership to pave way for better cordial mutual relations. Pakistan not through foreign office but Ministry of Information has responded to the US urge. It has sought relations on US‘s realization of the Pakistan’s peculiar circumstances and acclaimed services in fight against terrorism, little for herself but largely for the United States which are not appropriately recognized by the latter so far. Earlier, as a corollary to the Pakistan’s untraditional independent diplomatic stance, the US President had sought ‘help’ from Islamabad in brokering peace with the Taliban.

The question arises as to whether the reconciliatory response from US President is originated from US’s genuine needs to have safe exist from Afghanistan? Whether, the US is truly left with no other option but to solicit help from Pakistan? Whether, Taliban are so deep under the influence of Pakistan that Islamabad can put them to some solution which would be fairly acceptable to all? Whether, the US and the sitting Afghan government are separate and independent entities with their respective interests, whatsoever? Whether, it would be sufficient to establish the credit for Pakistan to have talks at UAE instead of at Qatar? Whether, the US President is compelled by circumstances or voluntarily willing to visit Pakistan or will be warmly welcoming the Pakistani Premier at Washington or somewhere else at a third place? Last but not the least; whether, the US diplomatic move is truly imbued with the spirit of acclaimed friendship towards Pakistan or is covered by any trap underneath which would abruptly erupt sooner or later?

Before embarking upon the replies to the questions supra, let us say that Pakistan has found herself in various diplomatic regional and global enclaves in the past such as wars with India, 9/11, Kargil, Siachen, Dacca and nuclear episodes etc.

Precisely, Windows is a cyber-software operational system designed to operate hardware systems on the back of it. It cannot work without Windows. It is devised for management of information, data processing and its storage which can be subsequently monitored, evaluated and rectified for further use on the basis of any internal and external feedback. In IT terms, Windows so far are found to be of various types, characteristics and nomenclature. But in common, Windows sometimes become slower, interrupted or sometimes altogether crashed being corrupted. Sometimes only trouble shooters can be helpful to repair the Windows but for the others in the case of its being corrupted and crashed due to virus attack or any other reason, no such trouble shooter can rescue restore the Windows leaving no option except to install the Windows afresh.

Certain similes can be drawn amongst Windows and various organizational systems in Pakistan. Pakistan has three major visible Windows which include legislature, judiciary and executive. Media endeavours to be a separate Windows which is yet to be established in Pakistan. Besides, yet another Windows is provided by the Constitution to protect the country from any external aggression and to act in aid of civil power when called upon to do so.

Pakistan in its foreign policy systems has but only few significant Windows unlike India, Russia and United States which have so many other Windows dealing with various parts and countries of the world. China, India, Afghanistan and the USA are the four only major foreign policy Windows which she has to deal with continuously. Notionally, it should not have been a big deal for the professional officers of foreign office who are fairly capable of it but factually it is not so for the reasons unknown.

Such a geostrategic Windows was opened for Pakistan with the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in 1979. It operated the hardware of many countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and South Korea etc. including Pakistan in line with the US policy of ‘containment’ of communism, nay, supremacy over the new world order in the impending uni-polar world.

Per se a school of thought comprising retired diplomats and army officers maintain that in the first instance, the Windows got impaired for Pakistan due to 3.1 b US $ aid in shape of cash instead of technology and industrial investment vis-à-vis Malaysia and South Korea who preferred industrial establishment instead of cash. For Pakistan, it worked like a virus of cocaine culture, if not pajero or the Kalashnikov. This school maintains that the Windows finally got corrupted and crashed with the signing of Geneva Accord in April, 1988 and the demise of former President Zia-ul-Haq in August the same year. The impair culminated with the accepting of the terms of the Accord which excluded the Afghan Mujahideen, the real resistance to the Soviet Union and the stakeholders once supported by the US through Pakistan. The Accord was signed between the Afghan government and Pakistan, sans Mujahideen, with USA & USSR as guarantors for non-intervention of the parties which resulted into long civil war in Afghanistan having serious repercussions for Pakistan’s internal hardware in the central process unit, CPU. With this the policy of strategic depth which outlined the principles, inter alia, to have substantial physical and psychological presence across the western borders, also got impaired, according to this school qua. However, the second proponent school of thought still believes in the working and functioning of this Windows favouring Pakistan, though with little impairments but curable.

The maxim of learning from the history has now been held to be only half true. In our context, it can be fairly said that we have learnt from the history that we have learnt nothing from the history. Soliciting help from Pakistan for talks with Taliban may be a genuine US need for safe exit to which even Trump’s close officers seem disagreeing and hence resigning. Taliban might be under the influence of Pakistan but they as a client may not be more than a myth for loyalty to Pakistan as they would like to secure their interest in any future Afghan political set up, anti or pro US. The credit given to Pakistan by holding meetings at UAE is returned to Qatar for the latest talks. Contrary to the Geneva Accord, on the other extreme, the US this time seems excluding and Pakistan including Afghan Government in the talks which needs to be reconciled at both ends for durable peace unlike in the past. As regards question of Trump’s desire for meeting, not place but the essence matters. Usually traps are hardly unearthed immediately as only the consequences prove the predictions.

Interestingly, over an informal lunch in the Capital, a combination of a US national friend, a senior most retired diplomat and a seasoned field diplomat summed up the aforesaid ‘Windows corrupted’ concept fairly in their respective and larger perspectives. The US friend maintains that the US & Pakistan have constant cordial Windows with little impairs which were ever repaired subsequently but never corrupted or crashed to which the senior retired diplomat endorsed. The field officer reserves such impairment beneficial for Pakistan and an opportunity to catch the tide in this situation of gap where no antagonist like India is in the run by any reason. In a punch line, Windows corrupted phenomenon cannot be ruled out. One has to be on guard to avoid any such future crash.

 

The author is a lawyer and a socio-political analyst.