Global Realignment Impacts Pakistan


Hafeez Khan

The sixties and seventies were the golden era of the Pakistani and Punjabi film industry. There are commonalities between blockbusters in those days and what is happening on our political horizon. “Phaney Khan” was one of them, depicting a Lahori bad boy who would intimidate others by waving a “kachu”, a large knife. He would demonstrate his abilities for gory deeds by uttering sound bites like a stabbing attack. This comedy film made viewers roll in laughter.
Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit recently concluded under Indian Chairmanship. It took up many important matters. Iran was accepted as its ninth member. It comprises former Soviet states Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Their joint landmass is greater than Europe. Then there are the heavyweights; China, Russia and India and our beloved Pakistan. Put together, they make up about 35% of the world’s population. It is an emerging new world order.
The theme of this Summit was “Secure SCO.”
The final communiqué, “The New Delhi Declaration,” covered security, economic development, connectivity, unity, respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and environmental protection. It would take up the entire article to cover SCO positions, so I will limit myself to India’s reservations on China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” on BRI’s 10th birthday. India’s opposition stems from the inclusion of projects in “Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.” It’s a shot at the heart of the CPEC–challenging roads and other projects in Gilgit and Baltistan.
The Chinese President responded by calling for a political solution to all disputes.
However, our Prime Minister, who attended virtually, went into silent mode. He hardly offered any defence. Instead, within days of this declaration, our rulers disrupted and overthrew a smoothly functioning Government in Gilgit Baltistan. Such a drastic step in an extremely sensitive region spells disaster. We are already damaged goods on the economic and political front. This unfortunate move shall only add fuel to the fire.
In the recent past, a number of global realignments have taken place reshaping strategic interests. Other than SCO, another alliance known as BRICS is emerging as a geopolitical rival to the G7 bloc. It includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, considered to be the five foremost emerging economies. They represent 40 per cent of the global population. Saudi Arabia and many other emerging global powers have expressed interest in joining this bloc.
The improvement in ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia, facilitated by China, is nothing short of a political miracle between these traditional rivals. It is extinguishing a bloody conflict in Yemen and greatly reduces the pain and suffering of people stuck in proxy wars. Pakistan was side-lined in this entire process by its closest friends and neighbours. Ever since the ouster of PTI, Pakistan has been reduced to a bystander with no role or recognition. It is a huge step backwards from IK’s efforts to bring Pakistan onto the world map as a self-respecting nation, progressing and stabilizing economically.
A strong and resurgent Pakistan did not suit our traditional masters. They did not have to do much; throw some juicy bones to the corrupt elite and twist some arms of those in uniform. This incompetent and corrupt regime has lost more money through reduced remittances and exports each month through their mishandling of the economy. Are we really falling apart under our own weight as stated by PM Modi? Just to meet our existing liabilities we need 25 to 30 billion dollars each year.
The real cruelty is being meted out to the common man. The entire burden of additional taxes to generate revenues is being recovered through indirect taxes on fuel, electricity and gas hitting the masses. The man-eating corrupt elite is scot-free escaping the tax net yet again. Electronic media is muzzled. The entire power structure is focused on rooting out PTI from the political arena. It is the worst period in Pakistan’s history barring the break-up in 1971.
The dividing lines are clear. The nation is helpless, disenfranchised and living in fear of the brutal force unleashed on them by this power-hungry pack of wolves. Some claim IK appears sad. Yes, he is sad, but not for himself. His pain emanates from what is being done to our nation. Anyone with a sliver of decency in their body feels the same.