A senior Pakistani journalist Zahid Hussein has said Pakistan has become isolated and needs to change its foreign policy, expressing concerns regarding the economic growth of the neighboring India and China which is far more higher than the current growth rate of Pakistan.
“The current government has made policies for economic development, but they are yet to be implemented because Pakistan’s foreign policy is driven by national security. The China Pakistan Economic Corridor could be a game changer,” Hussein quoted in a reported by Dawn News said.
Hussein further added that Pakistan’s economic growth rate has been 3pc for the last 10 years and compared this with that of India the economy of which has been growing by 8pc, while China’s economic growth rate has been 7pc over the same time.
“Pakistan has been left far behind, even by Sri Lanka and Bangladesh,” he said.
However, the country’s Special Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi disagreed with Mr Hussein’s observation and said the current foreign policy is relevant to the needs at the time.
Fatemi further added that no foreign policy can be called a complete success or failure.
“The PML-N’s manifesto said that the foreign policy will focus on the economy. We have tried to have good relations with Afghanistan because we believe there will be no peace in Pakistan until there is peace in Afghanistan,” he said.
In the meantime, the minent historian and author of ‘Pakistan, a Hard Country’, Prof Anatol Lieven said the breakdown of Afghan peace talks has increased US animus and that during his visit to Washington, he heard questions about the justification of Pakistan’s position in the Afghan peace talks.
Lieven further added that though US hostility has increased, China continues to support Pakistan and warned that this support must not be taken as a carte blanche.
“No country wants Pakistan to cross the line between sheltering the Afghan Taliban and arming them. Pakistan will forfeit all goodwill if this were to happen. It is desirable to revive the peace talks,” he said.
The speakers were exchanging views during a seminar titled “Is Pakistan Isolated? Regional Challenges and Opportunities’, which was hosted by the Institute for Policy Reforms (IPR). -KP
THE PASHTUN TIMES