A country’s foreign policy, also called external relations policy, is self-interest strategies chosen by the state to protect its national interests and achieve their goals in the international relations environment. Approaches are used strategically to interact with other countries. In recent times, due to the deepening of globalization and transnational level activities, states will also have to interact with non-state actors.
The aforementioned interaction is evaluated and monitored in order to maximize the benefits of multilateral international cooperation. Since national interests are paramount, foreign policies are designed by the government through high-level decision-making processes. The realization of national interests may result from peaceful co-operation with other nations or exploitation.
In general, the creation of a foreign policy is the responsibility of the head of government and the minister of foreign affairs (or its equivalent). In some countries the legislator also has considerable control. As everyone eyes regarding Foreign affairs is on our newly elected Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Judging by his opening speech on August 19, Pakistan’s newly elected Prime Minister, Imran Khan, should focus on his electoral promises, although international isolation and foreign policy issues in the country worry many.
Pakistan’s foreign policy is often visualized through the prism of relations with its western neighbor, Afghanistan, the love-hate relationship with the United States and the endless rivalry and perpetual tension in the line of control. With its much larger neighbor, India. China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Middle East although important.
According to Khan’s conciliatory statements, at Imran Khan’s inauguration ceremony on August 18, it was generally believed that the new Prime Minister, known by its independence of criteria, would establish clear lines on foreign policy with respect to Afghanistan, India and the United States.
However, to the dismay of many analysts and experts, Khan’s 70 minute television speech conveyed a different message: either he needs more time to understand and define his preferences for foreign policy, or he does not want to discuss it publicly or he may not expose his ideas regarding foreign policy.
In Pakistan and abroad, public opinion is largely convinced that the country’s foreign policy has continued to depend on its powerful military institution and that it crosses the border with Afghanistan, India and the United States.
Imran Khan takes over the government at a time when Pakistan faces some major challenges on the foreign policy front. The country’s relations with the United States are at an all-time low, while India, its western neighbor, has doubled its efforts to further isolate Pakistan internationally.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global financial watchdog, has put Pakistan on the gray list at a time when the country needs an immediate development and the United States froze aid to Pakistan due to the inability of the country to take serious measures to combat terrorism and extremism.
And, above all, Pakistan’s relations with neighboring Afghanistan return to the usual phase of guilt after the failed attempt by the Taliban to besiege the city of Ghazni, capital of Ghazni province, 120 kilometers south of Kabul.
A big difference between Imran Khan as Prime Minister and his predecessor is Khan’s independence and strong will. Many of the political leaders who are now part of Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Khan, mocked him when his party did not get a seat in parliament in the 1997 elections, many efforts Khan managed to win his seat, becoming the only elected representative of his party in the National Assembly or the lower house of parliament. His party boycotted the 2008 elections to make a strong comeback by winning the third place in parliament in the May 2013 elections.
As a sportsman, Khan managed to win Pakistan’s victory at the World Cricket Championship in 1992. He is also famous for his social work; The ShaukatKhanum Cancer Hospital in Khan, which he established with donations from Pakistanis inside and outside the country, is the first of its kind in Pakistan.
With a track record of success thanks to luck, a strong will, an independent mind and a direct approach, there seems to be no reason why Imran Khan cannot prove his value in foreign policy by finding a way of peace and stability in the region.
Therefore, Khan’s only limit will be his independence and decision making power. Although Khan did not explain his government’s foreign policy in his inaugural address to the nation, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s press conference shortly after taking office in Islamabad on 20 August, was a ray of hope.
In addition to conveying a message of peace to Afghan and Indian governments and people, Qureshi has also attempted to dispel the general perception that the security establishment is truly responsible for Pakistan’s foreign policy.
There is no reason not to believe the words of Qureshi. But past experiences of the first government of the late Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan after Zia-ul-Haq, through the previous Nawaz Sharif government, suggest caution. No other Prime Minister had asserted civilian control over key decisions on the foreign policy front.Only time will show Imran Khan’s sphere of influence, strength and independence.
Over the next hundred days, it will be clear to what extent Imran Khan is able to assert himself. In addition to the US Secretary of State. The Chinese, Iranian and Japanese foreign ministers will visit Islamabad next month. This is an indication of the emergence of a multipolar world with new opportunities and challenges for Pakistan. A revolutionary improvement in relations with neighbors would reduce hostility in the region that benefits Pakistan. Keeping the animosity alive would be a setback for Pakistan and would prove that Imran Khan is part of the status quo.