By Junaid Ali Malik
On many occasions in the history of Pakistan, the foreign stakeholders, more properly international establishment, tried to influence the politics of the country. Some crucial instances in this regard include the proclamation of NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) on the pressure from Saudi Arabia on 5 October 2007 and the threats to debilitation if the American phenomenon of doing more is not accepted and pursued. The reality is that the foreign powers are interested in Pakistan’s politics for the reason that they have invested on their preferred stakeholders particularly on the politicians.
Without naming him, one of the observers in an Indian media channel some time ago claimed (when asked about Indian interests in Nawaz Sharif) that India had heavily invested on him.
Setting aside the economic importance, is there any instance that the Saudi kings came to Pakistan to discuss their own personal matters, like the corruption drive going on in the kingdom, with Pakistani politicians? Did it ever happen that the leaders from any political party of USA came to Pakistan to get a relief from any of their own institution? It never happened and will never come about. Every country that is independent and has its own boundaries cannot even think of going to another state to get any sort of relief.
For our politicians, selection of the local stakeholders from the international players seems to be more decisive than the free and fair elections.
The top brasses of the ruling elite are in KSA. This has raised more qualms especially when the agenda of their departure has not yet been revealed – of course they are not there for religious purpose only. The agenda of their current visit has been kept secret and different views are being given in this regard; the people should have been made well versed about it. The politicians are elected in Pakistan and their moves have substantial impacts over the lives of the people living in it.
The opposition parties are fretful and believe that another NRO is underway amid the political reshuffles in the country. Nothing can be said with unreserved clarity and affirmation but it is apparent that the meetings in KSA might affect the politics in Pakistan and may be the future of a number of national stakeholders including the state institutions.
As a matter of fact, no leader ever raised his voice in favor of Pakistani expatriates the lives of whom are getting worse day by day. Those common Pakistanis are suffering a lot from the stringent policies part of the kafala system. There are about 2 million Pakistani living in KSA. They send their hard-earned money in the country every year. The rise of the government fees in KSA is a clear indication that they want to get shut of the foreigners. At least for Pakistanis, KSA should have some exclusive care in the shape of diminution of Iqama and other fees. Factually speaking there is no out of the ordinary treatment provided to Pakistanis in any Arab countries as the Arabs get in Pakistan.
The relations of politicians with countries like KSA, Iran, America, India, and others are owing to Pakistan. Without their attachment to it, they might not have any name at all. Therefore, it is necessary to take its people into confidence before any official and unofficial visit to any country is made.
Pakistan has already paid a massive price for maintaining ‘not public’ relations of politicians and dictators with powers around the world. It is a sovereign country consisting of more than 200 million people; it is time to shun the foreign influence which would happen only at the time when sustainable and pure democracy will be prevailing in the country. Lastly, whatever the purpose of visiting KSA is at this imperative time period, the internal politics of Pakistan should not be affected in any case and in any way.