Aggressive Diplomacy?

Posted on October 17, 2006
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Foreign Relations, Politics
Total Views: 16700

Adil Najam

Since the issue has been raised a number of times in our comments section, I was intrigued by a news agency report published in The Daily Times (16 October, 2006) stating: “Expenses on foreign visits by the two leaders were comparatively low until 2004, but such spending has seen a phenomenal increase since.”

… Musharraf and the three prime ministers who served under him made 61 official foreign visits. These visits had cost taxpayers more than a billion rupees by December 2004, and in the later part of fiscal year-2005-06, these visits cost almost the same sum that was spent between October 1999 and December 2004. Foreign Ministry sources said that Musharraf made 41 official visits and toured at least 71 countries between June 2000 and December 2004, costing taxpayers more than Rs 658 million. The three prime ministers went on 20 foreign visits between November 2002 and January 2005, touring 34 countries. Of the 20 visits, Aziz’s trips cost the exchequer almost Rs 352 million.

Although details of countries visited between July 2005 and June 2006 are not available, spending on delegations led by the prime minister during this fiscal year was almost Rs 900 million; documents showed a budgeted sum of Rs 759.1 million plus an additional sum of Rs 150 million. The president’s visits during the same fiscal year cost the exchequer the budgeted figure (Rs 200 million) plus a supplementary grant of Rs 100 million. Information provided by the Foreign Ministry on pre-2005 visits showed that the US was the country toured the most by Musharraf: nine times in four and a half years.

Of course a proper cost-benefit analysis would require some estimation of the tangible and intangible benefits of these visits. One should also acknowledge that foreign visits by Heads of State and Government are an important component of international diplomacy. Unfortunately, however, over the last many years (and not just in this government) the bloated entourage sizes have become a vehicle of political payoffs through junkets rather than authentic diplomatic missions. One wonders, therefore, at what point does ‘aggressive diplomacy’ become too aggressive? Or, at least, too costly?

14 responses to “Aggressive Diplomacy?”

  1. Quran Online says:

    well i dont knw the pakistan is a fortunate country or unfortunate where the govt are too rich and the normal public is touching the line of poverty

  2. Arsalan Ali says:

    i just got off the Karachi Express Train at Faisalabad this morning, during the ride i was sitting next to this lovely punjabi fellow who said
    “aap ko pata hay dunya ka sub se bara mulk kaunsa hay ?”
    i said no
    he says” Pakistan, jis ko sab khaa re hain phir bhi khatam nahi hota ! ”

    i laughed, but i felt so sad..

  3. PatExpat says:

    Eidee Man,

    Musharraf and Shaukat Aziz don’t need to go for every convention.

    As quoted above,
    [quote post=”364″][None of Mush’s visits] accomplished anything that could not have been achieved through our ambassadors in the countries visited and their ambassadors in Islamabad[/quote]

    As Fatima Jinnah once said, corruption like ice on mountain top flows from top to down. If Mush and Shaukat can take an entourage of 50 to 70 people most of them PML(Q) turncoats and journalists-in-pocket staying in five star hotels, I think that speaks volumes about the standards our leaders set for the rest.

    Having worked as a marketing guy, I feel that one needs to manage his marketing calls. You don’t make calls where there are no benefits. And even worse than that, the results are negative when one cannot deliver what one has marketed.

    If aggressive marketing results in such fiascos as PTCL, Pakistan Steel, Port Qasim Island sales; I think we need to work on our maketing strategy.

  4. Eidee Man says:

    Can we have a story about our Cornered Tigers? (Cricket team :D)

  5. Eidee Man says:

    As far as Musharraf and Shaukat Aziz THEMSELVES going off on trips, I’m not very concerned. Citizens who are concerned about this should direct their attention to OTHER real corruption that is the cause of so many problems in Pakistan. I’d be extremely surprised if those numbers did not make these look like a drop in the bucket.

    I obviously do not have the information to make sound judgements but I do believe that Pakistan should aggressively seek out business opportunities wherever there is a possible “lead.” I think most here would agree that Pakistan is not realizing MOST of its manufacturing/production/business potential.

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