The Foreign policy of Pakistan: issues, challenges, and solutions

The Foreign policy of Pakistan issues, challenges, and solutions

The foreign policy of Pakistan: issues, challenges, and solutions | Best for CSS, PMS Current Affairs, Pakistan Affairs, and Essay Papers

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With various issues: political instability, less coordination among state institutions, and poor economy, it can be contesting for Pakistan to manage its internal and external challenges, like the Kashmir problem, the US-India nexus, the arm-race in South Asia and establishing peace in Afghanistan. However, to make itself influential based on its foreign policy in the competitive world, Pakistan has to maintain good relations with its neighbours, confidence in all super-powers, and curb non-state actors.

What is meant by the foreign policy?

The foreign policy of Pakistan

Fundamental principles of Pakistan’s foreign policy

  • To protect its sovereignty
  • To maintain good relations with the Muslim world
  • To observe the principle of non-interference
  • To implement the UN Charter
  • To support self-determination

Current scenario of Pakistan foreign policy

Challenges to Pakistan’s foreign policy

  • Existing political instability
  • Increasing Balochistan conundrum
  • Prevailing terrorism and sectarianism
  • Non-solving Kashmir problem
  • Growing nexus of US-India
  • Hanging sword of FATF
  • Defaming the international Image of Pakistan
  • Establishing peace in Afghanistan

Issues in Pakistan foreign policy

  • The minimum coordination among state institutions
  • The issue of incompetent policymakers
  • The presence of inept leadership
  • The burden of geographical location
  • The enigma of religious fundamentalism

Way forward

  • To maintain good relations with all neighbours
  • To initiate a balanced approach toward the Middle East countries
  • To give equal weightage to all superpowers
  • To refrain from interference in internal affairs of other countries
  • To promote political stability
  • To boost the economic condition
  • To curb non-state actors

Critical analysis


Answer to the Question


Nothing in this globalized world for a modern country is as important as sound foreign relations to secure its geographical, economic, and ideological interests. Living in isolation is no more in the interests of a country. Therefore, every developed or developing country has to formulate a peaceful and objective-oriented foreign policy keeping in view its national interests. Being a developing country, Pakistan enjoys its own effective and productive foreign policy based on its security and economic motives. It entertains cordial relations with all countries of the world. However, Pakistan faces several challenges regarding its foreign relations regarding the Kashmir issue, Indian aggressiveness, war-torn Afghanistan, the Middle East crisis, and a few more. These hurdles seem impossible to be managed by Pakistan in the presence of multiple issues such as fragile policies, a weak economy, a vulnerable geographical location, and the presence of non-state actors. In short, if Pakistan intends to formulate a successful foreign policy and manage its internal and external impediments, it has to eradicate all issues related to its economic, political, and ideological interests.

“Domestic policy can only defeat us; foreign policy can kill us.” 

John F. Kennedy

What is meant by the foreign policy?

Foreign policy is the total of objectives, principles, and interests that a state keeps in view establishing its peaceful relations with other countries. Professor Joseph Frankel has aptly said, “Foreign policy consists of decisions and actions that involve relations between one state and others to some appreciable extent.” Moreover, it reflects domestic policies by which a country extends its relations to other sovereign nations. That is why the foreign policy of one state has profound effects on the neighbouring countries. Hence, Pakistan should make itself a stable country economically and politically to establish sound interactions with other countries.  

The foreign policy of Pakistan

Having hostile neighbours on both eastern and western sides, Pakistan’s foreign policy is mainly revolved around its key concerns, such as preserving its sovereignty, protecting its territorial integrity, and promoting the well-being of its people through economic development. Besides, Pakistan believes in maintaining good relations with all other countries on the basis of equality. Moreover, Pakistan has been the focal point of international politics owing to its geographical location. Being a gateway connecting many countries, Pakistan’s foreign policy can determine the fate of the region and affect international stability. Hence, Pakistan should formulate a peaceful foreign policy to secure its national interests in the best possible way.

“Success in foreign policy, as in carpentry, requires the right tool for the job.”

Richard N. Haass

Fundamental principles of Pakistan’s foreign policy 

Being a self-reliant state, the foreign policy of Pakistan is based on some essential principles. In the first place, Pakistan’s foreign policy at all costs ensures the sovereignty and independence of the country. Pakistan is the outcome of the great sacrifices of millions of Muslims, and that is why freedom of the country has become an integral part of its foreign policy. Second, Pakistan always seeks to maintain strong relations with all Muslim countries. For this very purpose, Pakistan has joined many organizations of Muslim countries to enhance its relationship with them. Third, Pakistan’s foreign policy is based on the principle of non-interference; thus, it never meddles in the internal affairs of other countries unless they invite it. Fourth, Pakistan does not ignore the UN Charter while formulating its foreign policy. It always supports all the moves of the UN in true essence. Lastly, Pakistan’s foreign policy is based on the principle of self-determination. Hence, it fights orally for the independence of Kashmir and Palestine based on this very principle.   

Challenges to Pakistan’s foreign policy

Various internal and external challenges surround the foreign policy of Pakistan. Political instability in the country implements Pakistan’s foreign policy problematic for political stability is the hallmark of vibrant and efficient foreign policy. Moreover, the Balochistan issue is another internal hurdle in the way of Pakistan’s foreign policy. It limits the thinking capacity of policymakers because their minds stick to internal affairs only. Moreover, terrorism, extremism and sectarianism in the country have further jeopardized Pakistan’s foreign policy. Besides internal ones, external challenges are more dangerous as they directly influence Pakistan’s foreign policy development. The most crucial challenge among them is the Kashmir problem, for this very issue has been complicating the foreign relations of Pakistan and India since their independence. No one is ready to compromise on their interests related to Kashmir because it is the best water source for both of them. Furthermore, the US-India nexus and culture of the arms race in South Asia are giving a tough time to Pakistan’s foreign policy. Additionally, the sword of FATF, along with a bad image of Pakistan, are creating more impediments in the way of Pakistan’s foreign policy. Lastly, establishing peace in Afghanistan is the most exciting challenge for the Foreign Ministry of Pakistan. Hence, all these internal and external challenges contain the smooth progress of Pakistan’s foreign policy.

“How can I play baseball when I’m worried about foreign policy.”

Charles M. Schulz

Issues in the foreign policy of Pakistan 

The foreign policy of Pakistan cannot protect the national interests of Pakistan properly in the presence of various issues. First, less or no coordination among the state institutions and intelligence agencies leaves Pakistan’s foreign policy at the mercy of the Foreign Ministry only. Thus, there remain many loopholes while formulating it. Second, incompetent policymakers and inept leadership frame opportunistic foreign policies that are not long-lasting; therefore, these policies are insufficient to attain the country’s national interests. Third, the geographical location of Pakistan makes it more complicated for the Foreign Ministry of Pakistan to analyze satisfactory regional and global changing interests. Lastly, religious fundamentalists inside the country influence Pakistan’s foreign policy for their vicious interests. In short, all these issues play a significant role in making Pakistan’s foreign policy directionless and problematic.  

Way forward 

Pakistan must take concrete measures to make its foreign policy vibrant and effective. In the first place, Pakistan should maintain better relations with all its neighbouring countries, especially India and Afghanistan. For this reason, Pakistan must at all costs resolve all its problems with these countries like the issue of Kashmir. Next to it, Pakistan has to adopt a balanced approach toward all Middle East countries. Therefore, it must engage itself with all these countries equally. Besides, Pakistan must take all superpowers of the world, especially the US, China, and Russia. All of them are equally important for preserving the national interests of Pakistan. Apart from it, Pakistan should not meddle in the internal affairs of other countries and always stick to the UN Charter.

Additionally, Pakistan has to improve its political stability to give extra focus to internal affairs. Furthermore, moving ahead, Pakistan must improve its economic condition to pursue good relations with other countries equally. Lastly, Pakistan must take stringent actions against all non-state actors roaming inside the country so that they cannot degrade the international image of Pakistan. In this way, Pakistan can make itself influential with the help of a vibrant and well-organized foreign policy in this competitive world.

“Here is my first principle of foreign policy: good governance at home.”

William E. Gladstone

Critical analysis

The foreign policy works as a building block for a country to initiate good relations with other countries. Without a durable and effective foreign policy, a country can’t engage itself successfully with other countries. Every country must change its foreign policy with time as there is no permanent friends or foe in the international arena. That is why Pakistan should maintain exemplary relations with other countries based on an objective-oriented foreign policy. In this way, Pakistan can secure its national interest abroad effectively.


To conclude, the foreign policy of Pakistan is surrounded by multiple challenges. These challenges make it difficult for Pakistan’s foreign policy to preserve the country’s national interest. That is why Pakistan is at loggerheads with many nations due to its short-sighted foreign policy. These hurdles cannot be managed fruitfully by Pakistan unless the existing issues related to foreign policy are resolved. Only then Pakistan can live peacefully with other nations based on its durable foreign policy, and it can protect its national interest in the best possible way.

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