A Diplomatic Blunder

Caretaker Prime Minister, Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, compared Pakistan and China’s relationship to that of the United States (US) and Israel while speaking to the US academic community at the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR). The comparison is essentially flawed and has invited a lot of criticism. Speaking at such an important forum and that too in the presence of a learned community, PM Kakar opened room for misreading and misunderstanding by choosing words carelessly.
Pakistan has long maintained a staunch stance on the apartheid state of Israel. By saying “Pakistan is China’s Isreal,” the PM has touched the sensitivities of people towards the unjust oppression Palestine is subject to. The choice of this expression displays a major lack of diplomatic finesse. A chance to speak before CFR could very well be utilised for setting up a healthy discourse around Pakistan and China’s bilateral relations. Sure, the relations are very strong but comparison with US and Israel was very inappropriate and potentially detrimental to international relations and foreign policy.
The dynamics of US and Israel relations are very complex. But in Pakistan’s diplomatic history, denouncing Israel has remained a sacred commitment to our values. In such a scenario, saying that Pakistan is like Israel gives off a very wrong impression and is therefore being received with utter shock. The response that is coming suggests why diplomatic language must be carefully chosen and must always represent the core values of a country.
As much as Pakistan condemns Israel, it celebrates its deep friendship with China. So, the PM’s words have been unjust to both of these principal stances of the country. It is very important that leaders, representatives, and diplomats choose jargon very carefully when they are addressing an international audience. A clarification might follow but by that time, the ambiguous comparison must already have been interpreted in a multitude of ways. Anything the Prime Minister says is no less than a policy statement and so it must be crafted and uttered with utmost responsibility

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