Sunday, August 5, 2018

Foreign policy sans public diplomacy

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WITH the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf [JB - see] about to enter the power corridors, analysts in the country are talking about issues the new government will have to tackle. One such issue is Pakistan’s foreign policy.

The making of foreign policy has always been the establishment’s turf. Any ambitions in this respect on the part of civilians results in civil-military imbalance, which has brought grief to democratic governments.

The PTI, on the one hand, needs to find a balance between civil-military stakes in foreign policy making and, on the other, needs to infuse our foreign policy with sound public diplomacy. [JB emphasis]

Public diplomacy is an aspect of foreign policy through which states try to influence public opinion of other states about itself through the promotion of its soft image via embassies, cultural programmes, media and many other initiatives.

Unfortunately, we are lacking in sound public diplomacy which is reflected in the fact that Pakistan is considered a most insecure state because of widespread (mis)reporting about it being a hub of extremism.

Moreover, global surveys about human development indicators in Pakistan, especially with respect to women empowerment are so poor that the international community perceives Pakistan to be the most conservative place on earth.

The PTI government must ensure that sound public diplomacy is an integral part of Pakistan’s foreign policy.

Inamullah Marwat

Published in Dawn, August 5th, 2018

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