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The PTI’s brand of politics to secure its vote-bank is proving to be divisive – dangerously divisive. At one level, the PTI is pitching one province against another. At the second level, the PTI is pitching a provincial government against the federal government. At the third level, the PTI is pitching the federal government against Nato countries. At the fourth level, the PTI is pitching the state of Pakistan against the Security Council.

The fundamental question is if the PTI has done a cost-benefit analysis of all this pitching. If the benefits of all this pitching outweigh the costs then we should all be supporting the PTI. If the PTI’s sit-ins are going to make Pakistan stronger and Pakistanis more prosperous we should all be right behind the PTI. But if all this pitching is just an attempt to secure one party’s political interests over and above national interests then this pitching must come to an end.

Here’s the legal consideration: Under Articles 97 and 98 of the constitution of Pakistan “the executive authority of the Federation…” extends to all provinces. If the state of Pakistan gets into an agreement with Isaf, for instance, would the state of Pakistan be able to fulfil its commitments? That becomes an issue of international credibility. Next; under the Security Council’s Resolution 1386 Pakistan is under international obligations to provide logistic support. Do we want to remain part of the international community or not? To the world that becomes an issue of state intentions.

Here’s the PTI’s manifesto: a total of 10,160 words and 55,151 characters. The word ‘drone’ appears two times, ‘health’ 29 times, ‘education’ 16 times and ‘economy’ nine times. It now appears that the PTI is spending 98 percent of its time on drones and the remaining on health, education and the economy combined.

To be certain, under the laws of Pakistan truckers carrying containers to and from Afghanistan are involved in legitimate business. To be sure, PTI workers forcefully obstructing the operation of legitimate business are involved in criminal behaviour – criminal behaviour being encouraged by PTI leaders.

Is the PTI trying to hurt America or Pakistan? The object of foreign policy is to make as many friends as possible. Of the 193 member states of the United Nations we can count all our friends on the fingers of just one hand. Here’s a list of countries that constitute Isaf: Turkey, UAE, Bahrain, Jordan, Malaysia, Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungry, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, UK, US, Armenia, Austria, Finland, Georgia, Ireland, Macedonia, Montenegro, Sweden, Ukraine, Australia, El Salvador, Mongolia, New Zealand, South Korea, Tonga, Singapore and Switzerland. For these countries a total of 24,000 containers and 20,000 vehicles are to be transported back either through Pakistan or an alternative route at the cost of $7 billion.

Isn’t the PTI painting Pakistan into a tight corner? Here’s a look at 66 years of our history: in a non-isolationist mode Pakistan has been stronger and Pakistanis more prosperous. And in an isolationist mode Pakistan has always weakened and Pakistanis poorer. Isn’t the PTI taking Pakistan into an isolationist mode?

What can we learn from Iran; “heroic flexibility”? Do we really want to become the next North Korea or Burma? Is internal chaos in our national interest? Is external isolation in our national interest?

PS: Pre-Isolation Iran – 70 Rial to a dollar. Isolated Iran – 40,000 Rial to a dollar. The day of the interim nuclear agreement the Rial appreciated by 16 percent.

The writer is a columnist based in Islamabad. Email: farrukh15@hotmail.com. Twitter: @saleemfarrukh

Dr Farrukh Saleem, "Isolation," The News. 2013-12-08.
Keywords: Political science , Political issues , Foreign policy , Security Council , Drones attacks , Criminals , Crimes , Constitution , Economy , Afghanistan , North Korea , Iran , Pakistan , PTI