Minister exposed fault lines in PTI’s foreign policy: PPP

Published August 17, 2020
“Dr Mazari’s criticism poses a strong question mark on the PTI government’s ability to forge any policy," says Sherry Rehman. — APP/File
“Dr Mazari’s criticism poses a strong question mark on the PTI government’s ability to forge any policy," says Sherry Rehman. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Pakis­tan Peoples Party (PPP) has said that the recent statement by Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari has exposed the confusion prevailing in the frontline ranks at the Foreign Office (FO) and the federal cabinet, which has been affecting the Kashmir cause amid the atrocities being committed by Indian forces.

“Dr Mazari’s criticism poses a strong question mark on the PTI government’s ability to forge any policy. Now the disunity is pointing to policy failures that the opposition has been raising. Now their own ministers are saying it,” observed PPP vice president and parliamentary leader in the Senate Sherry Rehman on Sunday in response to Ms Mazari’s remarks.

Senator Sherry said: “Clearly, there is policy confusion in the frontline ranks at the Foreign Office and cabinet. For a ranking minister to publicly question policy is not the norm, and the rifts in PTI ranks have now become fault lines that are having an impact on the clarity and strategic force of our policy. How can a government with no cohesion in its own cabinet instill confidence in Pakistan’s policies abroad?”

Just a day earlier, the federal minister expressed her disappointment over the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for “letting down the Kashmiris and Prime Minister Imran Khan” by not taking his nuanced narrative forward and merely resorting to traditional diplomacy.

This rare criticism of the Foreign Office came from the minister while speaking as a chief guest at a paintings exhibition titled “Kashmir through Art” organised by Islamabad Youth Forum for Kashmir to highlight the plight of people in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) during lockdown through creative and high-quality artwork.

She said the PM had single-handedly highlighted the Kashmir issue. “Had our FO and those institutions who make policies on Kashmir taken it up further, today the situation would have changed,” she said.

“Government foreign policy is in tatters,” said Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, who is the spokesman for the Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari.

He said: “The federal minister for human rights has admitted that the country’s foreign policy is limited to statements, speeches and Twitter.” He said the failure to raise the Kashmir issue was not just the failure of foreign office but also of the prime minister himself. “The nation and the opposition already know that the government has totally and utterly failed in every field, but now the failure is also being exposed by the government itself.”

Mr Khokhar said Mr Khan’s policies harmed the Kashmir issue which could have been raised more effectively.

PPP Secretary General Nayyar Bukhari pointed out that conflicting statements from ministries on the issue of Kashmir highlighted failure of the PTI government in underscoring the brutalities committed by the Indian army in Occupied Kashmir.

“Conflicting statements from different ministries on the Kashmir issue sabotage the fight for the right of self-determination of Kashmiris,” he observed.

Published in Dawn, August 17th, 2020

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