Foreign Policy of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf

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The PTI has emerged as a third major political party of Pakistan in the last few years, and is expected to give a tough time to the PPP and the PML-N in the upcoming elections. As the PTI has never had a chance to come in power before, we do not have any past record of PTI to verify or double-check it credibility upon the promises it is making to the people of Pakistan. Therefore, we cannot follow the same method of scrutiny for the PTI like we did for the PML-N and the PPP. The only document that we have at this time is the manifesto of the PTI that is full of promises and hopes, but its difficult for us to believe in such manifestos and promises, as we have seen similar documents in the past from the other parties too, all leading to nothing significant.

Although the party chairman, Imran Khan, has always assured that he will keep his promises, giving examples of his achievements like the Cricket World Cup 1992 and Shaukat Khanam Memorial Hospital; yet the promises ofrooting out terrorism in 90 days, end of corruption in 19 days, transfer of power to the grassroots in 90 daysand uniform education cannot be achieved only by coming to power; in fact, they need to sweep the polls with a huge majority to achieve these goals.

The PTIs foreign policy, as outlined in its manifesto, is somewhat different from the foreign policies of the PML-N and the PPP. PTI believes in pursuing a foreign policy based on a nationalist agenda, which it believes will safeguard all of Pakistans national interests and promote greater regional cooperation. The PTI emphasizes on the economic stability for an independent foreign policy.

PTI and Imran Khan have always blamed the PPP leadership for compromising Pakistani honor and security by working with the United States, and apparently PTI follows a much stern standard in its policy regarding the PAK-US relations mentioned in their manifesto. It says that the PTI would formulate an independent foreign policy to build foreign relations on the basis of dignity and self-respect. PTI hopes to have a relationship with the US that will be based on self-dignity and respect. The PTI chairman, Imran Khan, said that his party is neither pro nor against the US. He said that thePTI would be absolutely comfortable working with the US on all issues, including the war on terror. PTI is against the US war on terror and against the policies of the US but not anti-US. The PTI Manifesto says that Pakistan will endeavor to have a constructive relationship with the US, based on Pakistans sovereign national interests and international law, not on aid dependency and also promises a full no-Drone policy.

Unlike the PPP and the PML-N, the PTI not only condemns the drone attacks, but has also arranged gatherings and protests against them. The PTI also blocked NATO supply to Afghanistan for a few days in protest against the drone attacks. ThePTI Chairman Imran Khan said in a speech that If the PTI is voted to power, there will be no drone attacks in Pakistanand that the US drones will be shot down after May 11.

Imran Khan stresses on strong relations with Iran, and says that we never had strong relation with Iran because we always served the US interests in the region, who in turn did not have good relations with Iran because of Israel. The PTI manifesto says that Pakistan will exploit its geostrategic position, especially in terms of an energy corridor and pipeline hub, without taking dictation from anyone.

The PTI also wants to have good relations with China like the PPP and the PML-N. Imran Khan said that after coming in power, his party would build gracious relations with China to enhance economic and trade ties. The PTI manifesto says that it will expand its traditional strategic partnership with china at multiple levels, especially in the strategic economic field.

In the case of Afghanistan, the PTI manifesto says that it will enhance the relations with Afghanistan.Imran Khan said in a debate at a private channel that we should help Afghanistan where we are asked for help, but we should not interfere in its internal matters and should not link Pakistan with any ethnic group of Afghanistan. But how the PTI will stop the terrorism that is exported from Afghanistan into Pakistan, and how it will convince the Afghan Government to arrest and hand over the terrorists like Fazlullah, also needs to be explained.

In the case of India, the PTI wants to have relations based on mutual trust, interest and respect. The PTI has a relatively hard stance on the core issue of Kashmir. It says that it will make the Kashmir issue a top priority, and will try and solve the issue permanently, so that Pakistan no longer has any border or territorial disputes with any of its neighbors.

The PTI foreign policy also emphasizes on strong relations with the Muslim world; its manifesto says that PTI will engage positively with the Muslim world.

PTI suggests political resolution for the terrorism in Pakistan. According to Imran Khan, our Army has done its work, and now its the responsibility of the political government to engage these people in dialogue and settle this issue with them. PTI is against the military operations in FATA, and wants to sort this problem with dialogue between the local people and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

Most analysts are very much optimistic that the 2013 elections will be transparent and legitimate. But as none of the major parties has candidates on all the seats of the National Assembly, it is very difficult for a single party to sweep these elections; and its presumed that as a result of these elections, another coalition government will come in power. It is also possible that the results of the elections would not be according to our expectations, but irrespective of the results, this whole process of elections is another step towards our confidence in democracy. Some terrorist groups and other powers have tried their best to stop or postpone these elections with different tactics; if we still manage to hold these elections, it is our victory; it is victory of the Pakistani nation against those powers.

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Atiq is an IT professional, his area of interest are Socio-Politico issues of subcontinent and regional security issues with a special focus on Afghanistan, India and Pakistan. Can be reached at [email protected] and tweets at @atiqpkkh.

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