With Shah Mahmood Qureshi elected as the Foreign Minister of Pakistan - a choice which was expected due to his political expertise - many are looking forward to how the foreign policy of Pakistan will unfold in the next five years. History is witness to how successive governments have promised the same foreign policy vis-a-vis the neighbours of Pakistan but the political developments along with diplomatic stagnancy have not allowed those policies to materialise. It will be a test for the new federal set up too, to not just improve diplomatic ties but also move them towards some stability.
The fact that the party realises that there is a lot of work which will go into the foreign policy of Pakistan shows that they understand the complex nature of the work and hopefully matters will he dealt with realistically rather than an ideal frame of reference. A state’s Foreign Minister has a very major role in shaping the country’s diplomatic future, and PTI is not only expecting cooperation from Afghanistan but also continued uninterrupted dialogue with India. These alone will require rigorous and concentrated efforts so that these policy measures bear some fruit. Pakistan certainly has been on the back foot due to the absence of a Foreign Minister and this allows space for international pressure and others taking advantage of the lack of uneqivocal representation.
What the party must be commended for is their understanding that matters of foreign policy require support and dialogue. They have promised to reach out to government employees, current and retired, to ask for their expertise on the matter. They are also aiming at engaging the academics and think tanks who spend years studying these diplomatic channels and have developed expert advice. They must be encouraged to reach out to the members of the parliament too because taking decisions in isolation is not the right precedent to set. These issues must be debated out and then the right choice must be made.
Lastly, the reminder to Pakistani missions abroad that they have government servants rather than rulers was a reminder that was needed for all. It must be ensured that those in public office are actually performing their jobs, especially with PTI hoping to actually deliver on the same foreign policy that many before have promised too.