Foreign policy of any country is naturally aimed at safeguarding its national interests. In that, ensuring and/or strengthening country’s security and stability is the prime interest. For a long period of time, Pakistan’s Foreign Policy goal has been defined by this prime interest which was parochial but on a deeper analysis, might seem inevitable. With the seeds of the Kashmir conflict with India have sown right at the time of partition and consequent inheritance of various problems (very weak institutions, water disputes, economic compulsions) to the new-born state not only determined the contours of Pakistan’s foreign policy in the early years but also set the highlighters that were to greatly squeeze and influence Pakistan’s foreign policy goals in the following decades. With the threats from India, Afghanistan’s previous hostilities, invasions and presence of external major powers in the region and adding to that – the horrors the “war on terror” brought to Pakistan; it is not difficult to see that the state’s foreign policy remained desperately reactionary in most cases and dormant in others. Whatever the compulsions for Pakistan have been in the previous decades, the current regional and global structures are different and very opportunistic for Pakistan. Khursheed Mahmud Kasuri, former Foreign Minister of Pakistan writes, highlighting foreign policy issues to the country, “The emerging new international economic environment influenced in several different ways by the process of globalization has placed new responsibilities on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.” He also highlights the politico-economic relationship becoming preeminent in the 21st century: “the term political economy now applies both to the internal and external dimensions of politics and economics.” Another major trend that paints the continuously changing global environment is “Regionalism”. States revise their foreign polices according to their domestic needs and external crescendos and diminuendos. Pakistan now, more than ever needs to set fiercely proactive goals and not just be on the receiving end of matters but broaden its foreign policy goals and its execution. With the economically “Rising China” and “Resurging Russia”, the dynamics of the international political and economic environment and most importantly the regional dynamics of Asia are changing. With the first trade activities of CPEC kicking off in November last month, Pakistan has set itself on a road to economic development and also to positive image-building. The smooth completion and execution of this project is not only crucial for Pakistan’s dwindling economy but also serves to be an abstract venus-flytrap foreign policy move without the parasitic aspects: Pakistan cannot utilize the immediate benefits of CPEC in its entirety if it does not attract other regional and neighboring states. With Iran showing interest in joining CPEC, Pakistan has a massive opportunity to not only expand the littoral potential of Gwadar but also to gain a long-term ally. The potential of the Arabian Sea as the next major trade route increases exponentially with the Gwadar and Chabahar combined. Pakistan’s relational history with Iran has been on and off but Iran is a proactive state when it comes to national interest, with a vast pool of natural resources and a comparatively much better governance level. In International relations, there is nothing better than a sensible neighbor and even more important is getting her on-board. Furthermore, after lifting of sanctions from Iran and diminishing US presence in the region, Pakistan needs to step up work on the Iran-Pakistan pipeline. As Russia, China and Pakistan agree on efforts to remove Afghan individuals from the UN sanctions lists late in December recently as part of efforts to foster peaceful dialogue between Kabul and the Taliban movement in Afghanistan, the political dynamics in the region also shows promise. Pakistan must capitalize on what the environment and circumstances are offering to gain another ally in the region and to facilitate the spill-over of these political collaborations into economic ones with Russia as well. A glance at the past mistakes should caution Pakistani policy makers to not be completely dependent on any own major power. Sensing the aromas of ‘regionalization’, it is important for Pakistan to engage on multi-lateral levels proactively and diplomatically if she is to materialize current opportunities and nuances into substantial and long-term development and success in the coming years. It then, also becomes important that the nitty-gritties of CPEC be negotiated and executed in a manner which keeps Pakistan fiercely independent in her decisions. The major foreign policy challenge for Pakistan lies in her next-door Indian neighbor. The Pakistan India rivalry is far from over and perpetual hostilities keep making it worse but both countries have major potential trade partners in each other. India has made tremendous economic progress and is likely to rise further. Without compromising on country’s security and stability, Pakistan’s foreign policy pundits and military gurus need to formulate the modus operandi for exploiting maximum out of a rising neighbor towards the country’s national interest. India agreeing to give transit fee to Pakistan and Afghanistan just this week, finalizing the transit agreement on Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (TAPI) shows a great sign as to India realizing the changing regional atmosphere and Pakistan’s worth as major a geo-political actor in it. With China stepping up in the OBOR mega-project and Russia’s political involvement in the Middle-East and now in South Asia, another challenge for Pakistan is in an irritated USA. A clear shift from US-centric to China-centric policy should not be allowed to damage Pakistan’s interests in any manner. There is hence a need to continuously keep ourselves engaged with US to accrue maximum from both super powers like a true non-aligned sate. The Bi-Tri-Quadrilateral collaborations in the region are evolving signs of regionalization in current geo-politico-economic scenarios. These trends may help Pakistan to strengthen her role in the regional organizations like SAARC and ECO. Policies towards the players, immediately external to South and West Asian region, like Turkey and Central Asia are very crucial in this rising trend. Where Pakistan’s littoral potential is an attraction for Central Asian states, bi-lateral relations as well as relations with Turkey on Regional Foras like ECO and OIC are important. Efforts at ECO will help Pakistan to strengthen ties with Iran and Turkey and will help her ride the wave of regionalism. Manipulating the ‘soft power’ resources, another unique aspect to be utilized in the country’s foreign policy formulation is the emphasis on extremely careful selection and training of Pakistan’s human resource as expatriates in other countries. Pakistan population’s predominant portion being young (between the ages of 25 to 65) is an excellent HR tool to act as ambassadors abroad. Ways and methodology needs to be considered to exploit this unique aspect on not only economic and business sectors, but also on cultural, social and academic fronts. Utilizing this youth potential at Regional Foras can also bear many fruits for Pakistan. Saudi Arabia is in a state of shock after US changing stance towards them and now wants Pakistan’s help in multiple fields more than ever. As Former Chief of Army Staff, General (retd) Raheel Sharif is expected to be appointed Defense Advisor of Saudi Arabia-led military alliance of 39 Muslim countries, Pakistan’s foreign policy planners must ensure that Pakistan plays an active but cautious role in diffusing the proxy hot and cold wars being fought on sectarian divides between Saudi Arabia and Iran.Saudia agreeing to General Sharif’s terms for joining, including that ‘Iran should be invited and added into the coalition’ puts great responsibility on Pakistan. It is important that this move does not hurt or damage relations with Iran and warming up towards one, does not come at the expense of ties with the other. Amidst a continuously changing and developing political and economic environment, Pakistan’s Foreign Policy is met with great challenges and opportunities. This era is indeed a test of skill and expertise for Pakistan’s foreign policy makers and demands all the sincerest energies and resources to be employed efficiently and effectively, if Pakistan is to cease maximum benefits from these ripening prospects.