pakistan

At a time when Pakistan-US relations are possibly at the lowest ebb for a number of reasons, few people remember or even know of the peak days when a US first lady visited Pakistan and extensively travelled across the country to a rousing welcome by thousands of men, women and children 55 years ago. From Karachi to Lahore, Rawalpindi and Peshawar, people were seen lining the roads and streets, waving, cheering and cherishing their country’s friendship with the United States.

Cricket diplomacy has thus long been used as a tool to bring the public in both India and Pakistan closer to each other through sport. For nearly 70 years, the scheduling (or cancelling) of matches has served as a signal of the state of political relations.

Since the formation of the Afghan National Unity Government in 2014, Kabul has used “Pashtun Diplomacy” as an instrument to bring the bilateral Afghanistan-Pakistan relationship back on track and make grounds for re-initiating normal official talks. The Afghan government also seeks the support of Pakistani Pashtun nationalist and religious parties as facilitators and confidence-builders in the Afghan peace process.

Even as official talks between India and Pakistan continue to stagger, track-two diplomacy is flowing in Dubai, with politicians from both sides discussing better governance and bridge building. On Tuesday, more than a dozen parliamentarians, media bosses and technocrats from both sides convened in Dubai for a dialogue on governance.

Over the past few years, the UAE’s multitude of diplomatic initiatives have included cultural diplomacy — such as an exhibition of Emirati art that toured nine US cities over two years and was titled Past Forward. This was in addition to major artistic events the UAE hosts including the Sharjah Biennial, Art Dubai and Abu Dhabi Art that bring thousands of people together. [...] However, very few of us know about the UAE’s historic role in sports diplomacy.

Saudi Arabia aims to promote itself as an attractive touristic destination owing to its diverse landscape and archaeological treasure, currently little known owing to decade-old lack of state interest. In years to come, Riyadh plans to gradually introduce tourist visa to people of all nationalities, with the condition that the visitors will respect the local culture and traditions. Currently, eight million religious tourists visit the country to perform umrah and hajj.

The training topics include China’s political, cultural, media and economic studies amongst others. Other activities will include touring China, covering major political activities at the National People’s Congress and other major events like the BRICS economic summit slated. The development studies and media exchange is being organized by Renmin University of China (RUC) based in the capital, Beijing. 

State-to-state relationships are not grounded in emotions, but based on shared interests. No one is a friend or a foe forever; the convergence or divergence of mutual interests decides the nature of the relationship between two countries. Though relations between Russia and Pakistan remained turbulent over the years, they have been warming up over the last decade, with top political and diplomatic meetings. 

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