The theme for this year’s UNGA session was “Rebuilding trust and reigniting global solidarity: Accelerating action on the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals towards peace, prosperity, progress, and sustainability for all.” While it is hard to take an issue with the stated objectives but it is an irrefutable reality that the record of the UN in promoting peace and ensuring prosperity, progress and sustainability for all has been quite dismal. The reality is that UNGA is only an international debating club where countries make presentations about their political economic and security related issues without attaining the desired results. Their voices fall on deaf ears, particularly the discourses delivered by the leaders of the poor countries. Take for example the case of Kashmir. Every year our leaders have been raising this issue at this forum and reminding the world and UN about their obligations towards the people of Kashmir as enunciated in the UN resolutions. They also have been unmasking the threats posed to the security of the region by India and its state terrorism on which dossiers have been handed over to the UN and the countries which really matter. But regrettably no substantive results have been achieved because the international community looks at the permeating issues through the prism of their commercial and strategic interests. They only support the issues where their interests are served. They are least concerned about the UN Charter and the principles enshrined in it. The UN is there only to serve the interests of the powerful nations. The ability of any country to manage international affairs and achieve the desired goals depends on its worth which is reflected in its economic and military strength plus its position and utility in the global politics. The lesson for poor countries like Pakistan is that if you want your voices heard you will have to set your own house in order and achieve a position which is not easy to neglect by the international community. The reality is that UNGA is only an international debating club where countries make presentations about their political economic and security related issues without attaining the desired results. However in spite of this clear message there is no dearth of people who remain stubbornly oblivious to the harsh and irrefutable realities of our situation and position in the comity of nations. Their obsession with self-righteousness and an oversized view of Pakistan’s clout in the global diplomacy does not allow them to remove blinkers on their eyes and minds to see and perceive things in their proper perspective. They believe that irrespective of the size and status of the country, the resolution of the intractable issues can be made possible only through diplomacy. This lobby also holds the view that US-India deal for transfer of civilian nuclear technology to India, US attempts to prop up India as a predominant regional force and support for permanent Security Council seat for her, are the consequences of our diplomatic failure to exploit our clout in the war on terror and dissuade USA from going ahead with these initiatives. This is an over-simplistic view of the obtaining situation, to the exclusion of other more dominant considerations that have contributed to the crystallization of the US-India nexus. Let us first take a look at the clout that this lobby thinks Pakistan had against the US due to its role that it played in the war on terror which could have been effectively used to force her to treat Pakistan at par with India in regards to transfer of civilian nuclear technology. First of all what needs to be acknowledged is that we did not join the war on terror on our own volition, rather were coerced to facilitate the US in her offensive against AL Qaida and the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Our position was only that of a facilitator instead of an equal partner. The other point worth noting is that Pakistan was not the only option available to US to supply the NATO forces in Afghanistan. It could use aerial route and even the CAS countries. It actually reached an understanding with those states in this regard. Pakistan could not afford a total breakdown of relations with the US due to its vulnerabilities in the economic and military domain. Further, Pak-US relations in the war on terror were marred by a persistent mistrust. The US had all along been accusing Pakistan of double-dealing. The discovery of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan and his eventual elimination by US forces also sent the relations between the two countries into a nosedive. All these factors diluted whatever clout Pakistan had against the US. Coming to the question of transfer of civilian nuclear technology, it is wrong to assume and insinuate that Pakistan government did not raised this issue with the US. Successive heads of the government are on record to have spoken on this issue with the US authorities and agitated it at different diplomatic forums. But unfortunately our credentials in this regard were not as strong as that of India. As compared o Pakistan, India is a much bigger market for the US and its allies. That is why UK and France also followed suit and clinched commercial deals worth billions of dollars. To promote its global and regional objectives in regards to containment of China, US sees India as a potential and dependable counterbalance and a fit case for developing strategic relations, whereas her relations with Pakistan are of tactical nature. US support to India for a permanent security council seat also stems from Indian utility in the achievement of its regional and global objectives. Apart from these factors, US is particularly wary of any Muslim country acquiring nuclear capability and no country knows it better than Pakistan who despite being its ally against USSR in the Afghan war was subjected to severe sanctions through Pressler Amendment to thwart her efforts to go nuclear in view of security threat from India. No amount of diplomacy and pleading by a weak country like Pakistan can trigger any change in the US strategic objectives in the region. US opposition and even threatening posture towards Pakistan over the implementation of Pak-Iran Gas pipeline undoubtedly is also inimical to strategic interests of Pakistan. These realities should be enough to open our eyes regarding US designs in the region. To develop a clout at the international level Pakistan will have to adopt policies that gradually move it towards economic self-reliance and decreased dependence on powers like US and international lenders and donor. However it is easier said than done. To lift the economic profile of Pakistan and usher in an era of a sustained economic growth, we will need drastic structural changes and a break from the past culture of tax evasion and subordinating economic realities to political expediencies. The writer is a former diplomat and freelance columnist.