The Express Tribune
Published Date: Sep 3, 2019
While the world is talking about Indian atrocities in the disputed Himalayan territory, Islamabad still needs to popularise its political narrative over the Kashmir dispute with the foreign office playing a crucial role to engage with international forums.
This was stated by Barrister Naseem Ahmed Bajwa, the editor of a new book titled “Declassified: British Secret Documents, Diplomatic Communication Relating to Pakistan”. The launch was organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) on Monday.
Barrister Bajwa’s book is a compilation of communications sent by British diplomats stationed in Pakistan to the British Foreign Office between 1979 and 1980. The book is the first volume in a series of similar books to be published in the coming years.
He said that these archives were like a mirror in which the people of Pakistan can see the face of their leaders.
“No sugar coating of facts, no exaggeration, no expression of bias or prejudice,” he described the declassified documents, adding that reports in these archives are factually accurate, candid, reliable, concise and as close to the truth as possible.
He contended that international powers now exert a tighter grip and influence over the country’s policy matters than they did on the very first day of the nation’s creation.
Pakistan needs to popularise its political narrative, especially over Kashmir dispute and needs to play a more proactive role at the international front to get the support of the world, he remarked.
Former federal secretary Muzaffar Qureshi said that the book is a record of the British government’s views about Pakistan, covering daily, weekly and monthly developments of political, economic, sociological and strategic importance during the period.
“The book captures the gravity of the situation and provides analytical understating of the events,” he said, adding that the book is extremely useful and provides an informative narrative which should be used by all academics and professionals for better understanding and interpreting of past events.
National University of Modern Languages (NUML) International Relations Associate Professor Dr Riaz Shad said that this book is different from the traditional books as it carries rich information and analysis about the secret communications of British diplomats in Pakistan to their government.
The book, he said, is important for two reasons. The first is the authentic primary data it is based on — sourced from the British official archives. The other is the specific time dimension from 1979-80 — a critical juncture in Pakistan’s history, which enhances the credibility of the book.
This book has an interplay of domestic, regional and international politics, which provides an authentic source of reference and a valuable contribution in the literature, he added. SDPI Advocacy and Outreach Director Moazzam Sharif Bhatti said that the book makes an important contribution to Pakistani history and has relevance for its politics, on the internal and foreign policy fronts.