Adherence to the law and non-intervention

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Imran Khan, Pakistan’s embattled prime minister, spoke to his country during a political rally just days before the vote of no confidence. As part of an elaborately crafted speech on the importance of a free and self-respecting nation, Khan pulled out an unidentified piece of paper from his pocket and claimed that it was a “letter” from a country of great importance.
For him and Pakistan, it was a warning that the two countries’ diplomatic relations would suffer and Pakistan would face “difficulty” if Khan didn’t resign. Khan believes that his diplomatic travel to Russia just before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was the catalyst for this warning.
Pakistan’s National Security Committee issued a harsh criticism after receiving what seemed to be a diplomatic cable, describing the communication as undiplomatic and a flagrant intrusion into Pakistan’s domestic affairs as well as an attack on its sovereignty. Before the claim gets buried in the barrage of counterclaims, which include claims that the cable was faked or inflated by a sinking PTI administration clinging to straws, it is crucial to first untangle its complexities and correctly integrate it within the international law system.
Respecting the sovereignty of a nation’s internal political processes and foreign policy decisions is an essential component of its sovereign authority, according to international law. “All members should refrain in their international dealings from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state,” reads Article 2(4) of the UN Charter, which binds all UN member states. International organisations and member states are prohibited from interfering in “matters which are basically within the domestic jurisdiction of any state,” according to Article 2(7).
According to UN General Assembly resolutions, which have come to have significant juridical force in the international legal space, there are a number of actions that can undermine a nation’s sovereignty, including violating its political, economic and cultural foundations or advocating or assisting in a regime change. In the same vein The 1965 ‘Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention and Interference in the Domestic Affairs of States’ and the 1970 ‘Declaration on Principles of International Law Friendly Relations and Cooperation Among States’ are the two most important international treaties.
In order to justify involvement and bring about regime change, Western countries have come up with creative methods.
An international court was asked for its opinion on the United States’ involvement in Nicaragua’s regime change during early 1980s. When the International Court of Justice ruled against the United States in the case, it laid down the fundamental concept of non-interference in state affairs as a cornerstone of state sovereignty. Supreme Court rules that sovereign states can’t interfere in each other’s domestic affairs, including “the choice of a political and economic system as well as the formulation of foreign policy.
A fundamental principle of international law was established in the 1949 Corfu Channel case, and it was reaffirmed in 2005 when the International Court of Justice was asked to rule on one of Africa’s most heinous conflicts. At issue here was whether or not Nicaragua had made it obvious that a state cannot “intervene, directly or indirectly, with or without armed force, in favour of the internal opposition within a state.” The court declared this in the DRC v Uganda decision.
In the event that a state is unable to defend its citizens from grave human rights crimes, some Western countries have devised creative ways to justify intervention and regime change in other states, as they did in Libya and later attempted to do in Syria. Under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the vast majority of states seem to see such oblique tactics of overthrowing governments as a threat to peace.
Globalization, modern technology and diplomacy have made it more difficult to prove outright infringement of a nation’s sovereign rights by another state like in the case of Nicaragua. A clear violation of the UN Charter and other customary international legal rules appears to have been committed when an official diplomatic warning was sent to a sitting prime minister that his country’s autonomous foreign policy and domestic political decisions will have severe implications.
According to the US, Russia has been accused of a wide range of cybercrimes, including espionage, internet trolling, and the prosecution of several Russian companies for having a “strategic goal to sow discord in the US political system, including the 2016 US presidential election” in an effort to influence its internal electoral processes. Since Russia’s subversion of American democracy was regarded a direct threat to American democracy, it appears paradoxical that Pakistan’s future relationship with the United States is seen as a factor in the country’s ability to make important decisions on its own.
When it comes to developing a foreign policy, Pakistan is clearly lacking in the ability to do it simply. This complex geostrategic environment in which Pakistan currently operates includes a key strategic alliance with China, the aftermath from the West’s “War On Terror” in neighboring Afghanistan, and the arduous task of managing an increasingly contentious relationship with India.
When it comes to dealing with Western powers, Imran Khan’s relationship with them has always been a problem – and one he has tried to fix, but not without risking terrible consequences. It’s not the demise of his government that’s tragic; it’s the possibility that foreign involvement could once again weaken Pakistan’s political process.