By Rauf Klasra
ISLAMABAD: The people of Pakistan are not the only ones who feel confused and puzzled because of the intriguing politics of the top political leaders after the elections. — foreign diplomats in Islamabad are equally baffled.
Background interviews reveal that majority of the diplomats posted at foreign missions in Islamabad are also experiencing the disturbing trend of “uncertainty and ambiguity”. The foreign diplomats are virtually bewildered as they don’t know which way the intriguing politics had been heading in the past two months.
They were finding it difficult to send their assessment reports back home as they did not know what was happening in the country and what should they tell their own foreign offices. These diplomats regretted that they did not see even a slight change in the old foreign policy except two changed faces at the Foreign Office; Khursheed Kasuri replaced by Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Riaz Muhammad Khan by the new foreign secretary.
Otherwise, these diplomats say, everything else is the same old business although they feel a lot of confusion in the ranks of the FO as well, which too does not know which way politics and diplomacy are heading.
Even these foreign diplomats were finding it difficult to get their meetings fixed with PPP ministers for interaction on some important issues of mutual interests, as about two dozen ministerial portfolios were still lying vacant, said one source.
When asked, one diplomat said the delaying tactics being applied by the PPP leadership for resolving the judges’ issue followed by the resignation of the PML-N ministers, were finally taking its toll on the foreign front as confusions reigned the Diplomatic Enclave.
These diplomats, who did not want to be named, claimed that they understood that the top PPP leaders could not find proper time to sit down together to see whether Pakistan needed any change in its nine-year-old policy and move forward. The sources said even if there was any change in the minds of politicians about the foreign policy, it had at least not reached the Foreign Office.
The diplomats claimed that they had even found the PPP leaders and ministers confused about the current situation as what to talk of the bureaucracy or the other politicians with whom they frequently get in touch.
Many diplomats who met this correspondent at different occasions keep asking puzzling questions about how the leaders would resolve the issues as delay was causing more unrest not only in Pakistan but even in the foreign countries’ capitals, which were unsure about the stability and policies of the new government.
The diplomat said they were still in doubt as to who was really running Pakistan as there were different power centres after the general elections in the country. One diplomat said they were running from one leader to the other to understand the new twists in politics but no one was able to tell them what was actually happening.
As Musharraf was still in the presidency, so they were also trying to accommodate his point of view in their reports to their foreign offices back home. One diplomat said they were happy to see two major political parties taking things in their hands after five years of controlled democracy. So they too started waiting for them to take practical steps to tackle the formidable challenges Pakistan was facing.
But the diplomat was disappointed to see that no major change was taking place in the affairs of the country as it seemed to them as everything had come to a standstill. One diplomat said one of the reasons for the disappointment was the fact that the lawyers were still protesting on the streets and the politicians did not seem ready to reinstate the judges in line with the aspirations of the people.
The diplomat said even they were still facing the same old disturbing suicide bombings in Islamabad, which was a major cause of worry for all of them as they feared they could be hit anytime.
These diplomats believed that indecision on the part of the PPP leaders was mostly responsible for the sense of dejection and despondency which they were witnessing among the people. One diplomat commented that for them, this creeping despondency was more dangerous because usually elections always brought some elements of hope for the people as they rightly expected some positive change in governance, but they were yet to see any change in three months. “We are also concerned about Pakistan, as are its own citizens, for right reasons,” concluded one diplomat.
Source: The News, 6/6/2008