The foreign problem

Source: Dawn

It’s been creeping up on us for a while, but Nawaz and Raheel have now helped make it public.It’s not about personal relations with foreign governments — those are as old as the republic. And it’s not about enriching yourself through a shady deal or two — those are older than the republic.But between Nawaz’s Qatari prince and now Raheel’s Saudi benefactor, we’re seeing something that we shouldn’t:Doing business here — where state and individual are distinct, or at least should be — along lines that the Arabs do business there, where the line between state and individuals is deliberately blurred or non-existent.Rewind to last March. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was in Pakistan and, after the Iran-US nuclear deal and lifting of some Western sanctions, there was hope that maybe Pakistan too would seek an opening.There was even wild, woolly talk of finally getting the Iran-Pakistan pipeline moving.But then something spectacular happened. The ISPR put out a couple of sentences effectively claiming that Raheel had rebuked Rouhani for allowing India to use Iranian territory to destabilise Balochistan.Instantly, the air was sucked out of the trip. Rouhani didn’t even wait to get back to Tehran to react, rejecting the ISPR claim while still in Islamabad.It was hard to see the point to Raheel’s undiplomatic diplomacy back then and the best anyone has been able to come up with since is that it was an example of why diplomacy should be left to the diplomats.

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