When the foreign ministers of Pakistan, Turkey, Oman, and Sudan landed in New York to demand a ceasefire in Gaza, the Israeli guns were silenced. The United Nations General Assembly succeeded in enforcing a ceasefire. The Foreign Minister (FM) of the only Islamic nuclear power of the world returned to a hero’s welcome arranged by his family at the Chaklala Air Base.
Rose petals were showered over him. He spoke triumphantly and demanded a resolution of the Palestinian conflict. Peace in the ancient land can only be achieved with Arab unity, together with the support of the Ummah.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi (SMQ) has been at the helm of the foreign office twice. He was removed from this position by President Asif Ali Zardari over the Raymond David debacle in January 2011. After the mammoth PTI Jalsa at Lahore in October same year, he joined Kaptaan’s team.
‘Rose petal political players’ are a special breed who never lose an opportunity to project themselves. Jahangir Khan Tareen (JKT), Shehbaz Sharif (SS), Maryam Safdar all appear in the courts with their supporters who shower rose petals on them to establish their reverence.
In the Sufi tradition, showering flowers is looked down upon. When the great Mansoor Hallaj was being taken for his execution, one of his disciples threw flowers in praise of his cause and he got very upset. “When one is on the righteous path, the flowers hit like stones”—that is the Sufi way.
Read more: 4 morals to be drawn from Sufi legends
I closely watched the trial of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) at the Lahore High Court (LHC) in the seventies. He fought his legal battle with dignity and grace despite the extreme bias of then Chief Justice Maulvi Mushtaq.
To avoid personal humiliation, he should have boycotted the court but he decided to present his case hoping to get relief from the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP). A national leader of his standing fought his legal battles without cheap theatrics. His last address to the SCP is now a part of history which was later published under the title, ‘Witness to Splendour’.
The unfinished agenda of Kashmir
Kashmir is the unfinished agenda of the partition of the Indian Subcontinent. Quaid-e-Azam termed it as the ‘Jugular Vein’ of Pakistan as all our rivers flow from the valley. Since August 2019, Kashmir has been under the boots of the Indian Army. A curfew and human rights violations continue unabated.
With so much tyranny in our own backyard, the Kashmir issue has not been internationalized. I am sure the FM was pushed to go to Turkey to forge an alliance which then traveled to New York. While the Arab nations do not support us on Kashmir, we do have the support of other Muslim brethren like Turkey, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
It is time to pay back India in the same coins as they did to us in 1971 to dismember Pakistan. The Bangladesh model of internationalizing the uprising in former East Pakistan can be followed. In the eastern wing, we had only about 50,000 troops while India has over 800,000 in Kashmir.
Our embassies and delegations should be holding conferences and organizing demonstrations to highlight the plight of the Kashmiris. Two United Nations resolutions remain un-implemented despite the passage of several decades. Ethnic cleansing similar to Palestine continues in the valley.
What are we waiting for? Time is running out, it is now or never. Kashmir is crying for help. While we hear their screams, the world does not. It is our duty that their SOS (Save our Soul) message reaches every corner of the world before it is totally silenced.
Importance of a strong FM
There was a time when the Foreign Office was professionally led by heavyweights of their field. Sir Zafarullah Khan was the first to lead the department. Then ZAB and Sahibzada Yakub Ali Khan led from the front. It was ZAB who was the chief architect of the Pak-China friendship which then turned into ‘Iron Brothers’.
After over seven decades, the bond has resulted in the most important project of the country under the Belt and Road initiative (BRI) called CPEC under which a corridor is being built all the way from Kashgar to Gwadar.
If Shaukat Tarin can be inducted to lead the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should also be under professional foreign policy stalwarts like Senator Javed Jabbar or Ambassador Munir Akram who is currently our permanent representative to the United Nations.
Nawaz Sharif operated without an FM, while Zardari first tried SMQ and then appointed a novice, Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar to head this important department. Substance-less stewardship of such an important portfolio will get us nowhere.
Dr. Farid A. Malik is Ex-Chairman from, Pakistan Science Foundation. The article has been republished here with the author’s permission. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.