Welcome policy revamp

The nation, fed up with the pro-US policies of the PPP-led government that have badly undermined our national interests, would feel delighted to learn that Pakistan has finally revamped its foreign policy and decided to develop “very close” relations with its neighbours.

Washington, it is no secret, has been pressurising Islamabad not to have relations with Tehran that could boost its economic strength, on the cooked-up claim that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. Prime Minister Gilani reportedly told Iranian President Mehmoud Ahmedinejad about this fundamental shift in our stand during a meeting with him at Tehran on Monday, saying that Iran was one of those countries with which Pakistan wanted to have really close ties.

Pakistanis, without exception, would fervently desire that he lives up to his words and strives hard to achieve the target of $10 billion of annual trade with Iran, lifting it from the relatively paltry $1.2 billion at present. For that ambitious goal to be realised, the two leaders agreed to develop effective communication and transport links.The most far-reaching in its beneficial effects for us would, however, be the supply of natural gas from Iran; for that will help resuscitate our moribund industry; operate tubewells in the rural areas and give our main economic strength, agriculture, a veritable boost; and light up our homes that plunge into darkness with frequent spells of loadshedding. The gas pipeline has been delayed for too long and now that decision to get this energy resource from Iran has been taken, the work on laying the pipeline on the Pakistani side of the border should be taken up on a war footing and straightaway.

Mr Ahmedinejad’s words, indeed, also deserve serious attention. He believed, and rightly, that the regional powers – Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan – should coordinate to solve their problems of security and development without any outside help or interference. The changing global scenario and the role the US has been playing in creating turmoil in the region should make the neighbouring countries think in terms of moving away from the US, and in our context, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and Turkey should join hands and as a single unit to address theses issues. Ankara is also realising the harmful effects of its relations with Israel, which a press report warns Iran, is planning to attack it (to wage a proxy war on behalf of the US).

The façade of Americans’ “abiding friendship” with Pakistan has already fallen to the ground, and if anyone has any doubt about it, Vice President Joe Biden’s statement to the CNN on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of 9/11 to the effect that Pakistan was an “unreliable ally” and the price of its choices had been the “loss of life of American soldiers in Afghanistan” should make him wiser. That US leaders invariably maintain the protection of the lives of American citizens as their primary responsibility indicates the serious offence they must have taken at Pakistan’s pursuit of its own national interests. – Nation