The mythical dragons in medieval fantasy epic ‘Game of Thrones’ rain fire down on the enemies whenever their master Daenerys is surrounded in perilous conditions. Through such callous acts, the dragon conveys a uniform message to foes and friends alike: no one would be allowed to bring any harm to their mother, army or allies.
Just like these fire-spitting mythical creatures, the dragon that lies on northeast border of Pakistan has unambiguously conveyed quite a similar message to all of its allies, particularly Islamabad. The underlined message is that the dragon wouldn’t come to your rescue during hard times; rather it would only erect great walls and fortify its interests. And the Xiamen declaration, without considering repercussions, has caused more harm to China’s under-construction super power image than to Pakistan’s denial of non-existence of terror safe havens and has left Beijing’s aides shell-shocked. Countries like Nepal and Sri Lanka may tilt towards New Delhi as perception has stemmed that Beijing is unable to defend its allies even on diplomatic forums.
The joint statement declared “Taliban, ISIL/DAISH, Al-Qaida and its affiliates, including Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, TTP and Hizb ut-Tahrir” as terrorist groups.
“We deplore all terrorist attacks… and condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations wherever committed and by whomsoever and stress that there can be no justification for any act of terrorism,” the statement said.
Endorsing Indian narrative during the huddle of an economic organisation’s summit highlights that Beijing has given and would always give priority to its economic and strategic interests. Furthermore, the chances to solve Afghan quagmire through diplomatic means have drastically shrunk after framing of Afghan Taliban and Haqqani Network as terror outfits by regional giants. Obliquely, it seems that Moscow and Beijing have surrendered before Trump’s new Afghan policy after registering some initial hue and cry.
As far as Pakistan is concerned, this declaration has severely dented its efforts of devising a collective regional response towards Pentagon’s augmenting pressure. Against the backdrop of Xiamen declaration, the visits of Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif to China, Russia and Turkey have become of trivial importance. Unfortunately, this declaration has brought premature death to China-Russia-Pakistan nexus. Xiamen-like statements serve as wakeup call for Islamabad and pump it to revisit its ties with all countries including the so-called time-tested ally China. Like Beijing, Islamabad should also give priority to its economic interests.
Time is ripe that strategists in Islamabad should craft relations with other countries on basis of mutual geopolitical and economic interests instead of devising them on pretext of common enmity with specific country as Pakistan and China were conspicuously drawn toward each since Sino-India 1962 war. A complete reorientation in state policy is required with an honest reckoning of the past. It may cost Pakistan heavily in short run but would certainly help her in the long run.