Rameeza Majid Nizami Pakistan is a loyal and dependable friend, most would argue. Perhaps too loyal, I would say. Like a village boy visiting town for the first time, confused and embarrassed when his worldlier but affectionate cousins join their friends in teasing him as a bumpkin. In an international community such as the one we are witnessing today, much of our foreign policy has started to seem antiquated. New alliances are being made and remade within weeks, which previously used to take decades. In such a scenario, where plain and simple profit is the only universally accepted barometer of benefit, we remain mired in a peculiarly sentimental dreamland. Always ready to kill and die for all those we have ever been associated with, especially those with whom we share a religious affiliation - we neglect to ask ourselves what it has ever gotten us in return. Have our alliances thus far been far too sentimental? Should we be looking at new ones based on stone, cold advantage to Pakistan, instead of in pursuit of some sympathetic super-bloc we will suddenly find ourselves at the head of? Taking the example of Pakistans legendary sympathy to, and support of, the Muslim world; I think it is by now safe to acknowledge that the OIC is a toothless organisation, which no one covers if and when it meets and no one misses when it doesnt. Not one of our Muslim brethren countries came out in support of Pakistan after the Nato attacks, as effectively as, say China did. Bangladesh was the only country to block the entry of Pakistani textiles into EU markets in the aftermath of the floods that left millions homeless, after even India withdrew its objection. Mall Road is worn thin with the stomp of sandaled feet bearing banners and blocking shops, yelling themselves hoarse in support of the Palestinian cause. Ive never heard of a single rally in any other country in support of the Kashmir cause. Pakistan has clasped to its bosom the cause of defending the Islamic world against all their detractors, while being blind to the fact that in this day and age, politically speaking, there is no such thing. Islamic countries around the world are involved in the pursuit of progress, rapidly developing and exploiting every and any opportunity to move forwards. After all, Muslims are nothing if not ambitious. In the race to get ahead, Bangladesh will and did stab us in the back, and frankly, why shouldnt they? Alls fair in love, war and competition and we need to accept that. It is time to start being selfish exclusively to Pakistan. Pakistan is within our borders and that is where we live and die and fight and suffer. Unless we narrow our focus to within these boundaries and work to stabilise and build ourselves from the inside, frankly we are not worthy of championing the cause of 'the Muslim world - so many of whom are so far ahead of us in every sphere of life. Yes, we may have the only nukes among these countries, but in terms of education, economic prosperity, quality of life and civil liberties, we are not a patch on Indonesia, Turkey, Egypt etc. Pakistans image is severely tarnished in the international media due to its disastrous handling of its economy, the daily examples of bad governance and abuse of civil and human rights and the failure to enunciate a coherent stance in the war on terror it continues to remain reluctantly involved in. To expect then to be the leaders of the Muslim world in the state were in, is delusional, to put it kindly. We have a long way to go before we can be ranked in the same tier as Muslim countries, who are in fact poised to be among the worlds powerbrokers in the next few years. It is no secret how they got there, their examples are available to be followed, if we so wish. If, however, we think weve already made it, then this irrational hubris will be the end of us. Lets be realistic and lets take off the rose-tinted glasses we have become accustomed to seeing ourselves through. Its ugly out there and we need to get cracking on cleaning up our act. If not today, tomorrow - but why not today? Email: rnizami@nawaiwaqt.com.pk