Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Pakistan’s Foreign Policy Challenges

    Wednesday, May 29, 2013   No comments

The new government in Pakistan will have to take some hard decisions on difficult issues pertaining to foreign policy, even though the choices will be very limited. Numerous complexities will emerge not only in its dealings with its immediate neighbours like Afghanistan and China, but also external players in the sub-continent, predominantly the US.

As far as Afghanistan is concerned, the most difficult challenge for the new Pakistani leadership will be how to manage the situation post-2014, and how best to guard its interests. Within a year, two things are expected to happen: fresh elections for the Afghan President and the withdrawal of the US forces from Afghanistan. In a situation where Karzai is not very popular either with the non-Pashtuns or with the Taliban, Nawaz Sharif will have an onerous task to ensure that the next president is acceptable to Pakistan, and will help in safeguarding Pakistan’s interests. The second part of the challenge will be the roadblocks to the reconciliation process and how Nawaz Sharif will influence the final outcome – whether he will continue to give support to the Taliban, which will not be acceptable to the Americans or to Karzai, or whether he will try to accommodate the non-Pashtuns and non-Taliban Pashtuns to arrive at a durable solution. The core interest of Pakistan will be the same, to ensure that a pro-Pakistan dispensation is in place once the Americans leave. Whether or not to support the Taliban will be a difficult choice.

Isr Ed

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