Friday, March 17, 2023

Pakistan’s Importance in The Region: An Analysis Before Independence Day

As we approach 14 August (Independence Day of Pakistan), as Pakistanis – it is important to reflect on our country. Pakistan has seen a plethora of issues since its inception – terrorism, economic collapse, and sectarian violence. All these problems have impacted Pakistan on the global front. While things are moving forward with some improvements; let’s analyze how Pakistan has the potential to become a regional power. However, to understand the impact of Pakistan and its prospects, we will have to understand two terms: Geopolitics and Geo-Strategic Importance.

Pakistan’s Geography

First things first, let’s look at the basics – Geo-Strategic importance means the importance of a country or a region on the dynamics of its location and geography. And Geopolitics in its essence is defined as, the influence of geographic factors on the state power, international conduct, and merits, and demerits of its location. Pakistan and its location can be aptly defined as a conundrum of bittersweet aspects, at one hand it enjoys access to the sea and shares its borders with an economic giant like China but simultaneously lies in a problematic region and has to bear the effects of a war-torn country (Afghanistan) and a vicious neighbour like India.

The Researcher Stephen Cohn elaborates by saying “While history has been unkind to Pakistan, its geography has been its greatest benefit. It has a resource rich area in the northwest, people rich in the northeast.” There are no doubts that Pakistan is a crossroads between South Asia, West Asia, Central Asia, and resource-efficient countries. In the 21st century where globe suffering of major crisis of energy and exhaustible resources whereas Pakistan setting new world records by strengthens its democracy through practical and interventional reforms by making opportunities and giving route for transportation and a front-line state against terrorism in the world. Pakistan has witnessed in past few decades the major intervention of the three super powers of its time in Afghanistan – the British, the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. – which, during the cold war, turned into an imminent region when it became the United States Containment Policy ally, and after the cold war, its relevance has now proven itself politically.

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Economic Opportunities

Moreover, Pakistan, with proper planning can become an economical hub and a transit economy. As China is growing and has the potential to become a superpower in a bipolar world, Pakistan can benefit from the fact that it provides a route for China to reach other countries and keeping in mind the cost benefits of sea shipping, both countries can reap the benefits.

Secondly Gwadar Port is a huge win for Pakistan if only planned prudently and executed, it can transform the economy of Pakistan and convert it into a hub of international trade due to its location and its ties with the Arabian Sea. Sadly, Pakistan’s international strategy has consistently come up short on an intelligent structure and vision to perceive this predesigned arrangement of an excellent location. Rather than transforming its vital area into a resource, Pakistan has transformed its area into a curse that, particularly the superpowers, have abused since the nation’s origin. In conclusion, yes there is potential for Pakistan to become a transit economy and do wonders but it is a mere mirage until the plan is executed in its entirety, imagining the benefits feel like an achievement but it’s just a start of a bumpy and long road of infrastructure development.

Time to Plan Better

But all these factors are nothing without a proper structure of our foreign policy. In terms of it (FP) – Pakistan has lacked a cohesive plan in the past. This has impacted the country and consequently, we have not been able to churn out desired results. Especially in light of our neighbor, India does not accept Pakistan and its strategic importance. But, for the sake of the country and the case of Kashmir – Pakistan needs better policies around our foreign policy, especially at this time when Afghanistan is facing another crisis and with India’s involvement, Pakistan will have to do better, to emerge as a greater power in the region AND to sustain itself. Independence of Pakistan should be a day to celebrate the country but it is equally important to reflect and learn from the mistakes to do better.

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