In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Grande Strategy

Trade, Overseas Pakistanis & Moral Leadership (DRAFT, WORK-IN-PROGRESS)


(DRAFT, WORK-IN-PROGRESS)
Trade, Overseas Pakistanis & Moral Leadership
An Independent Foreign Policy for Free Pakistan

Date: 27th August 2012

Status: Draft Proposal
Meinhaj Hussain

Executive Summary
Pakistan has for the foreseeable past not had a meaningful foreign policy; it has been a policy of subservience to a foreign power. Such one-dimensional policies are increasingly irrelevant in a progressively multipolar world, a world where new nations are emerging who are primarily interested in building economic ties and common interests, not a master-slave relationship.

Table of contents:

Executive Summary Table of contents: 1. Introduction 3. General Framework 3.1 Three Central Focuses: Trade 3.1.1 A Focus on BRICS, Far East & N-11 3.1.2 Following China’s Inroads into Africa 3.1.3 The Pak Trading Post 3.2 Three Central Focuses: Overseas Pakistanis 3.3 Three Central Focuses: Moral Leadership 3.3.1 A Meaningful Islamic Block 4. Neighbours 4.1 Afghanistan 4.1.1. Tribes & Warlords 4.1.2. US Policy in Afghanistan 4.2 Iran 4.3 India 4.4 China 5. Policy Ideas Conclusion and Summary Appendix 3 Author’s Profiles

1. Introduction

Pakistan has for the foreseeable past not had a meaningful foreign policy; it has been a policy of subservience to a foreign power. Such one-dimensional policies are increasingly irrelevant in a progressively multipolar world, a world where new nations are emerging who are primarily interested in building economic ties and common interests, not a master-slave relationship.
Pakistan’s foreign policy paradigm has, even at its best, had mixed results. The 1980s under Zia may have indicated a relatively positive outcome for the general policy of subservience to a foreign power, owing to the success of the Afghan Front and the US financial and military backing. However, even in this case, the long-term outcome for Pakistan faltered as the US reneged on her promises and created a socio-political quagmire that Pakistan is still struggling with.
On the downside, for instance Musharraf’s unequivocal support of the War on Terror (WOT) has proved an unmitigated disaster for Pakistan virtually at every front. Even the perennial argument for such support, military aid, has failed to prove of any significant benefit to Pakistan. Rather, Pakistan’s conventional weapons stock has suffered significant depreciation due to a prolonged insurgency#.
For the PTI concept of Insaf to play out in the realm of foreign affairs, a dependent foreign policy will be both counter-intuitive and counter-productive. Pakistan must move on to a foreign policy era that breaks from the contemporary past, and is aligned with the category of foreign affairs policies that were effected at the birth of the country under the tutorship of the Quaid.
Pakistan cannot progress if she continues to live within a neo-colonial worldview, and if she is to find a meaningful future in the 21st Century, she must make a decisive break towards a meaningful independent foreign policy that is focused on her interests.
For such a foreign policy to be meaningful, it must be said from the outset it is not possible if Pakistan continues to be dependent on aid from Western foreign powers and on financial institutions such as the World Bank and IMF; aid with strings attached. Pakistan must make the hard commitment not to take such aid.
With that sight in mind, we begin here to build towards a new vision for an independent foreign policy for Pakistan.
3. General Framework
This foreign policy paper is built on three central themes: Trade, Overseas Pakistanis and Moral Leadership. These three focuses draw from PTI’s 100 Day Plan, policy directions indicated in past statements by the party leadership# and the ideology of Insaf. Each of these themes is outlined in detail below.

3.1 Three Central Focuses: Trade

Trade can be considered the key element that has fostered constructive relationships between nations (REFERENCE NEEDED). Trade is an important focus for Pakistan in ensuring:

  • Economic insaf for the people
  • In pursuance of economic and political independence from foreign powers
  • Building meaningful and productive relationships with foreign countries.
PTI’s 100 Day Plan seeks to ensure the economic wellbeing of the country on a war footing. In the 24th August exposition of PTI’s economic policy, a meaningful and independent foreign policy was recognized as critically important. International trade is a known key element for such prosperity, as was outlined as far back as Ibn Khaldun#, and later in the Western world by such men as Adam Smith#, in the concept of comparative advantage.
The question must be asked, what do we want Pakistan’s comparative advantage to be? How do we wish to be recognized in the world? Once that destination is charted, the next step is to ask: how we can go about getting there.
The present state of international trade requires nations to negotiate bilateral and multilateral trade agreements to further this very economic interest. Pakistan will need to build and negotiate such relationships with trading nations of the world and this is a key task of the foreign missions of the country. However, this task has not always been managed effectively and has often been side-lined by other considerations, deeply entrenched in a client state mentality. One example of many is the present lack of meaningful economic ties with Iran as a result of towing US foreign policy objectives. The focus of this past legacy of foreign policy dysfunction must be realigned around trade, and foreign missions need to essentially be turned into trade-building missions.
It is through trade that meaningful relationships beyond superficial friendships can be built. An example of the power of trade in bringing countries together is the US-China relationship which, while one clearly of rivalry and conflict of ideologies and interests, remains a meaningful relationship almost solely because of trade.
Pakistan must build such relationships with all countries of the world, particularly regions of the world that have remained neglected. One such region is South America where even diplomatic missions are missing in many of the countries, relying largely on the embassy in Brazil.

3.1.1 A Focus on BRICS, Far East & N-11

Pakistan must seek to diversify her export base so as not to be dependent on the United States and Western Europe, both for the quest of seeking meaningful political and economic independence, and because these markets are increasingly saturated. The alternative is to seek to enter the markets of emerging economic powers and regions such as BRICS, Far East and the N-11#.

3.1.2 Following China’s Inroads into Africa

China has made significant inroads in building meaningful business relationships and opening the markets of some underdeveloped nations of Africa. This is essentially the same strategy that the West pursues vis-à-vis Pakistan and other developing countries.
Pakistan must seek to beeline behind China in these countries, allowing for export of Pakistani manufactured goods, a category that is often missed because our traditional trading partners in the West have no interest in such products from Pakistan. Such a strategy would complement the industrial policy outlined in the PTI 100 Day Plan.
This is a worthwhile investment, not only from the perspective of their expanding markets but also because a first mover advantage into these countries could help entrench Pakistani business interests in the longer term.  

3.1.3 The Pak Trading Post

Many Pakistani companies have not developed enough to strike out on their own and establish local branches in line with global multinational companies. In finding meaningful solutions to this national problem, Pakistan may establish trading posts that showcase and sell Pakistani products. This could be the micro grassroots equivalent of the macro policy of establishing trade as a central foreign affairs policy.
Such a trading establishment would not only showcase and sell products but provide vital market intelligence and knowhow to Pakistani businesses seeking to build a foothold in the host country. If done right, such an establishment would prove to be a key marketing and distribution channel for Pakistani products, something that Pakistan’s trade engagements have long lacked, relying instead in selling low-priced goods to foreign multinationals.
If we are to imagine such an establishment, we could envision it as a private-public venture of Pakistanis and overseas Pakistanis alike, a small mall-type establishment, an enclosed building with shops at the lower level(s) and living quarters and various amenities at the high floors of the establishment.
Any Pakistani individual or company may buy or lease shops in such an establishment. If the establishment is sufficiently large, it may include a school for the children and facilities to help learn the local language.
Regarding the latter, it may also be possible to make a host country language course compulsory for those heading to the country from Pakistan, prior to their travel. Such a course may also include information about customs and etiquettes. The establishment would eventually be a self-contained Pakistani community, a business establishment that pays for itself and provides rich dividends for trade and subsequently, diplomacy.
A small Pakistani nucleus establishment could be established to help create a foothold in various countries of the world, particularly in countries where historically Pakistan has not been able to build relationships in. Such a community can eventually organically include a wide range of commercial products and even services, and may eventually include the embassy itself which would be an ideal location to stay in touch with the local problems and issues of the Pakistani community.
In our present focus of seeking foreign aid and looking up to the major powers of the world, we often forget the vast number of countries there are and how an incremental increase in trade with each of them could increase Pakistan’s exports manifold in comparison. Such a diversified strategy is the need of the hour for Pakistan, both from a trading perspective and the perspective of shifting away from a client state status.
3.2 Three Central Focuses: Overseas Pakistanis
Overseas Pakistanis are an important resource for Pakistan, not only in the remittances and other direct economic benefits they bring, but as a vital element in rebuilding and developing Pakistan. Overseas Pakistanis are a resource that:
1. Can help rebuild Pakistan, as they remain loyal and deeply affectionate towards Pakistan.
2. Have an outside perspective into the local problems and issues that can engender meaningful solutions to perennial issues
3. Have a host of skills and competencies that can prove indispensable in many of PTI’s policies
4. Can play a vital role in fostering trade and diplomatic relationships for Pakistan
Overseas Pakistanis must thus be seen as a vital resource and PTI may seek to carefully plan how they can be utilized. Overseas Pakistanis overwhelmingly support PTI and many seek to make a contribution for the benefit of Pakistan through the renaissance that PTI is insh’Allah projected to bring. The task is thus to engage and galvanize this vital and important resource.

3.3 Three Central Focuses: Moral Leadership

In recent years, Pakistan’s image in the world has suffered, and this has impacted Pakistan’s interests and even the quality of experience for private Pakistanis going abroad. Given the role of the international media who remain far from objective and unbiased, Pakistan must herself actively seek to correct this unjustified imbalance of views concerning Pakistan and the Pakistani people.
One important opportunity for Pakistan in this regard, and synergizing with an independent stand as earlier envisaged, is to take up the mantle of moral leadership in the world, a key position that is urgently seeking a voice. This however must be carefully considered and along the lines of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s highly successful approach. The Turkish Premier has exponentially increased the popularity and standing of Turkey as an independent and moral state, bringing long-term benefits for Turkey and her interests. Even regarding Pakistan, Turkey has been bold in inviting Imran Khan recently to visit Turkey and yet no such invitation was given to President Zardari. It sends a message to Pakistan that Turkey cares about Pakistan and is acutely aware of her circumstances. These are the kind of meaningful actions that a country can take, and is far more effective in building real bridges than parroted speeches, all too familiar to the Pakistani diplomatic corps.
Pakistan must seek to follow a similar strategy, a strategy that she herself pioneered in the post-colonial world under the tutorship of Jinnah. One example of the early success of that very strategy is given by a Pakistani forum commentator in the following words:
On the way to Friday prayer today an old Tunisian man stopped me to ask some directions. He noticed I am not Tunisian, so he asked me from where I am. When I replied "Pakistan", he got so happy and excited. He said you might not know the history, but Pakistan was the first country to recognize Tunisia and helped Tunisia to get a membership of the UN. He said Pakistan helped Tunisia in its initial years by sending teachers and professors to educate the Tunisians. He said when he was young, they always used to anxiously wait for any news about Pakistan on the radio. He said people were in love with Pakistan at that time.
This strategy served Pakistan well in the 1965 war, when a large number of Muslim countries opened their arsenals for Pakistan, the case of Indonesia in particular who offered any and everything for Pakistan to utilize in her war effort. This was seen in reverse in 1971, when Pakistan’s policy of subservience to the US over the previous decade and half had eroded her moral leadership, in addition to the blatant immorality of the East Pakistan military intervention.
In regard to moral leadership, Pakistan must raise its voice for humanity and justice, compassion and peace, and yet not turn into another Venezuela or Iran. Some of the vital issues that are impacting the globe include (but is not limited to):
1. US exploitation of the Dollar as a global reserve currency
2. Palestine and the apartheid and ethnic cleansing of her people
3. Western agricultural subsidies and other unfair practices and the attempts of BRICS and other nations to find a fair global trade regime
4. Ecological concerns in the global village
5. Nuclear hypocrisy against Iran
6. The global financial meltdown and the role of Western banking institutions
7.  Collaborating to fight famine
8. Building a meaningful Islamic block beyond the largely lame-duck OIC
With respect to the last, the OIC has become a meaningless organization and Pakistan must not waste her precious foreign policy resources in this defunct organization. Pakistan must instead build a meaningful Islamic block of a smaller number of countries, with the fundamentals of the relationship built on solid economic and political grounds.

3.3.1 A Meaningful Islamic Block

A Meaningful Islamic block may perhaps be started by the slow and quiet process by which the EU was founded. Such a block would be the complete opposite of the present OIC, which can best be described as “all bark and no bite”. It is not the number of countries in the block, but the quality of the relationship between them that is of vital importance. Pakistan today can build a very meaningful relationship with countries like Iran, Turkey, Malaysia and Egypt. However, like the European Union where the relationship began with France and Germany’s integration of economic interests in the form of coal and steel, the place to start is perhaps an Iran-Pakistan free trade agreement. Based on the success of this engagement, it may be possible to expand that relationship further depending on defined criteria by the incumbent partners. A Pakistan-Iran-Turkey relationship would both make geographical as well as political and economic sense, and encompass a diverse set of comparative advantages for each country.  
A defence strategy is also possible among Muslim countries. Such a treaty can essentially state that attacking one of the treaty states is equivalent to attacking all states bound by the treaty. A resource pool can be established with each state having at all times one independent brigade ready to deploy to the other treaty states under short notice. Over time, progressively the size of such deployment capabilities may be increased. This may then prove to be the nucleus for a NATO-style coordination and command arrangement with long-term interoperability of weapon systems and munitions in mind.
4. Neighbours
Pakistan’s most important foreign policy partners should not be seen as foreign powers sitting thousands of miles from her shores, but those that are her neighbours, for Pakistan has to live with these countries for the foreseeable years of her existence. This was in fact the foreign policy practice of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the methodology of dealing with the community in Islam; neighbours come first.
As such, this foreign policy paper first will consider Pakistan’s immediate neighbours and then progressively focus on other countries and regions. Pakistan must build meaningful relationships with her neighbours, built around trade and mutually beneficial cooperation. In a globalizing world, there is no zero-sum game between neighbours.

4.1 Afghanistan
Little introduction is needed, as Afghanistan is very much our biggest problem in the neighborhood at this point.
4.1.1. Tribes & Warlords
The present Afghanistan government is rampantly anti-Pakistani having emerged from the Northern Alliance. Pakistan must not make the mistake of choosing short-term friends and allies, but instead be a true friend to Afghanistan. This means that Pakistan should not engage with the present puppet regime and the warlords that run it, but rather look to tribes and tribal alliances, particularly in those areas bordering on Pakistan.
Dealing with tribes in the border areas has been an age-old art for all past nations and empires that existed in this area. Following the British, Pakistan has long maintained similar relationships. These relationships should be extended beyond and further, both in quality and quantity: deeper into Afghanistan and the relationship should be greater in scope; seeing these tribes as partners rather than having an arms-length approach.
The only non-tribal entities that Pakistan should deal with are groups and organizations that are genuinely serving the interests of the people in the area they are dominant. The Taliban and Hizb-e-Islami are two such organizations.
4.1.2. US Policy in Afghanistan
While the US conventional occupation forces, along with NATO, may move out of Afghanistan within a few years, there is strong evidence the Pentagon and NATO have no intention of leaving Afghanistan per se and are already negotiating their stay till 2024. The US shows every sign of holding on to at least three bases in Afghanistan, including Bagram, Kandahar and Shindad. The US understands the strategic importance of Afghanistan in keeping a check on Iran, Pakistan and China, and at the same time an over-watch of Central Asian oil and gas, and Russian interests thereby.
Pakistan cannot allow NATO and the US to continue to use Pakistan as a land and air corridor. Given that a large number of weapons and support equipment is being supplied through Pakistan, and that these weapons are being used against Afghani civilians by a puppet government despised by the people, it would not be in the long-term interests of Pakistan to continue this, as future Afghans may view Pakistan as the present Northern Alliance leaders have – as a friend of an enemy, i.e. an enemy state.

4.2 Iran

4.3 India

4.4 China

5. Policy Ideas
Conclusion and Summary

Vision Without Glasses

0 comments:

Post a Comment