When Pakistan became independent in 1947, China was not power by any means, it was a secluded country across the mountains. There was a powerful Russian power beyond China, but our bureaucracy made a strange decision to establish relations with America, a friend, and ally of Britain overseas, and then we sidelined the visit to Russia and established relations with the United States.
Initially, these relations were still at a respectable level, but over time, Pakistan’s relations have fallen from parity. It is important to have good relations with the neighbor or neighbor to help in difficult times, defense, and strengthen the relationship.
Despite the initial US visit, relations with Russia were not cold. The turning point in these relations came when we sided with Russia in the US Cold War and later broke it by trapping Russia in Afghanistan. How did the Americans reward us for this kindness? It withheld our money, we endured the additional burden of Afghan refugees for decades, we endured drugs and we endured the “Kalashnikov culture”. However, relations with Russia are better now than in the past due to backdoor diplomacy.
Pakistan’s relations with Russia are also closely watched around the world. This is because we have been part of the US block since day one and we have been in the US block since 9/11. Why have we been in the US bloc since day one? This is because of the civil bureaucracy and its allies. That is why any politician who has tried to improve or restore relations with Russia has faced the right roadblocks. Every Pakistani prime minister who has tried to embrace Russia has been given a dance by the US-backed international establishment group. An example of this is Bhutto, Zardari, and Gilani and now consider Nawaz Sharif in the same chapter.
Russia had offered to restore the steel mill to Pakistan in 2014-15. It also included that Russia would run a steel mill in Pakistan and return it in a few years. Russia had also offered to lay a pipeline from Karachi to Lahore and as a result of this BOT, Russia had to hand over the pipeline to Pakistan after 10 years. We did not cash this offer either. However, it is encouraging that relations with Pakistan and Russia are good in defense matters and despite the intense pressure and propaganda from India, Pakistan-Russia relations are balanced in the field of defense.
The recent visit of the Russian Foreign Minister is of utmost importance even if you look at it from this perspective. During the visit, defense issues, as well as cooperation in the energy sector, were discussed. Pakistan urgently needs a pipeline from Karachi to Lahore or Faisalabad to run LNG, as natural gas will be depleted in the future and LNG will now run to the port of Karachi. Russia’s experience in aviation and railways can also be taken advantage of. There is also news that Russia will consider developing the vaccine in Pakistan. If that happened then we would all be better off.
The vaccine currently available on a commercial basis is from Russia. Russia needs Pakistan in Afghanistan in counter-terrorism and for this purpose, Russia needs Pakistan’s active participation and Pakistan needs Russia’s help on the Kashmir issue. The outcome of this story will be decided shortly. Take another look at this visit. The Afghan Summit is being held in Turkey soon. Pakistan is also important there, so the picture is becoming clearer here as well.
The Pakistani Foreign Minister’s umbrella dominated the entire visit. It was not a big issue that has been made such a big issue. One thing I did not understand in the discussion on social media was that the discussion started from the accounts of those who have been defending PTI in the past. Why have they sparked an unnecessary debate at this crucial time?
Pakistan is located in a geographically important place, so Pakistan cannot be part of a single camp. If this country is to move on the path of development and prosperity, then Pakistan will have to establish good relations with all its neighbors as well as the powers of the world. Pakistan has to balance relations. North Korea has only established relations with China and as a result, it is alone in the world and the economic situation is such that people there boil grass and eat it. South Korea had balanced relations and is now an economic power. There are other examples in the world where countries that have adopted a block and put diplomacy behind them have been cut off from the world and poverty and misery have taken over there. Therefore, Pakistan also needs to build better relations with world powers. This visit of the Russian Foreign Minister is of great importance, he is also closest to the President in Russia. I hope that this visit of the Russian Foreign Minister will be written in other words and style than in the past in history.