Pakistan’s deepening isolation


No time left to lose


At no time in its recent history was Pakistan as isolated as it is today. At the last SAARC summit in Kathmandu in November 20014, Pakistan faced only India as a hostile country. Unlike now when Afghan ambassador maintains that Afghanistan and Pakistan are in an undeclared state of war, days before the Kathmandu summit Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said partnership with Pakistan was an ‘important pillar’ of Afghan foreign policy. Relations between Pakistan and Bangladesh had gone cold after Pakistan National Assembly passed a tamped down resolution against the execution of Jamaat-e-Islami leaders in Dhaka but these were still not marked by bitterness.

There are signs that show Pakistan will have a tough time at the SAARC Summit later this year. Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh will have no bilateral meetings with Pakistan when he comes to attend the SAARC interior minister’s moot on August 3 and 4. Bangladesh has downgraded its representation at the conference by sending its High Commissioner. Relations became tense seven months back when Pakistan and Bangladesh expelled each other’s diplomats in a tit for tat reply. The isolation is not confined to SAARC alone. Pakistan’s relations with Iran are no more warm and Washington has shown willingness to forgo its commitments to Pakistan.

The aim of diplomacy is to reduce enemies and increase friends. Over the last three years those managing foreign policy have done the opposite. Making foreign policy proposals requires a professional cadre with a nuanced approach. The final decision has to be taken by the politicians. What has gone wrong is that the foreign office has been turned into a post office while policy making has been taken over by those who look at things as black and white with no grey shades in between. A moot of Pakistan’s envoys has been called to devise strategy for ending isolation. No strategy to end the isolation can succeed unless the prime minister is able to retrieve his turf and take foreign policy decisions with the help of FO.


  1. Well said and explained. Every bit of the article is true. Honestly its time for Pakistan to review its foreign policy on track.

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