Khar mouthing ‘vacuous platitudes’, says Pakistani daily

July 26th, 2011 - 12:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, July 26 (IANS) Only history will tell whether Hina Rabbani Khar’s appointment as the country’s foreign minister is “a stroke of inspired perspicuity or yet another shot in the foot”, said a Pakistani daily.

An editorial in the News International said that foreign ministries are usually led by political appointees with a substantial track record and a leavening of experience in foreign parts.

“As is our sovereign right we have chosen to do things differently this time around, and have replaced an experienced foreign minister with a person who has an interest in the leisure and hospitality business and some limited domestic experience in the upper echelons of our murky national finances.

“Whether the appointment of Hina Rabbani Khar as foreign minister will be seen as a stroke of inspired perspicuity or yet another shot in the foot, only history and hindsight will tell. Early indications suggest that short-range target practice may be among her attributes.”

The editorial appeared Tuesday, a day when Khar leaves for New Delhi to hold talks with her Indian counterpart S.M. Krishna. Khar is Pakistan’s first woman foreign minister and the youngest to occupy the post.

It said that Khar “demonstrates a grasp of the need to deploy all-purpose vacuous platitudes when communicating with lesser mortals”.

“It is impossible to disagree with her when she says that Pakistan wants friendly relations with all neighbouring countries. Likewise, her assertion that the issues between India and ourselves over Kashmir cannot be settled overnight. They have not been settled for over 60 years and it is safe to say that they are not going to be settled in the lifetime of the present government so she was on safe ground there.”

“…Where we begin to see a little wheel-wobble was in the matter of Indian regional hegemony. One thing a foreign minister needs is a clear-eyed grasp of real-politik; an understanding of the world based primarily on practical considerations rather than ideological or moral perceptions.”

It went on to say that Pakistan is undoubtedly an important regional player, “but we play in a different league - and in many ways a different game - to India”.

“Likewise, we are important to America, but for different reasons to that in which America and India are important to one another. Khar’s declaration that our bilateral ties with the US are not ‘one-sided’ is wish rather than reality, and our leverage is limited.

“It would have been encouraging had she presented a more nuanced understanding of all of this, and she is going to have to punch well above her weight if she is to hold her own in the international bear-pit that is foreign relations.”

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