The question of joining or otherwise BRICS by Pakistan is in itself a testimony of the importance of BRICS, an economic-centric alliance between Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. The alliance is quickly gaining world attention, and more and more countries are aspiring to become its members. Why? Because of the economic opportunity this alliance may provide to the member states.

BRICS combined is larger than G 7 in terms of purchasing power parity, it encompasses 27% of the world’s land surface, 42% of the global population, and 33% of Global GDP. All five members of BRICS are members of G 20. So the situation is really interesting.

It’s not now a question of whom against whom or who is with whom, rather it is now the question of who is with all.

Reportedly, over three dozen countries including Iran, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Algeria, Bolivia, Indonesia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Comoros, Gabon, and Kazakhstan are interested in joining BRICS according to 2023 summit chair in South Africa. These countries consider BRICS as an alternative to the traditional Western-dominated financial market based on the Dollar. BRICS is contemplating starting a new currency with Gold backing, thus an alternative to the Dollar dominance, and this suites most of the developing nations.

Reportedly, in Johannesburg Summit 2023, Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have been invited to become members of BRICS, becoming full members on 1st Jan 2024. BRICS New Development Bank is also taking its roots. Bangladesh, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Uruguay are the new members of the BRICS New Development Bank.

Pakistan therefore cannot keep itself aloof from the new developments and alternatives. Already being a part of OBOR & CPEC with China, it is prudent for Pakistan to consider joining BRICS. Although the foreign office, in a recent press conference, does not commit or otherwise to joining, however, it needs serious consideration.

The Cold War mentality of countries aligning themselves with Blocks is now over. India is part of BRICS and, at the same time, is hosting the G20 in New Delhi. Modi was in Johannesburg on August 23 for BRICS and was hosting the G 20 Summit in New Delhi in September 2023. No heads were found rolled. The USA along with most of the European countries, are waging sanctions against Russia due Ukraine conflict, and on the other hand, they were shaking hands with Putin in New Delhi. Brazil is a pioneer member of BRICS but will be hosting G 2O on Nov 24 in Rio de Janeiro. However, the same is not true for the developing nations because they rely on the Western economies for their survival. If the past is the precedence, developing nations were mostly punished for any actions considered detrimental to a big power’s interest.

Pakistan has suffered a lot in the form of Pressler and other sorts of sanctions during the last forty years. It’s now time to mend the offense.

Big powers thus have to take this responsibility of giving confidence to the developing countries to decide their economic interest without any fear of reappraisal or sanctions. A developing country might be useful to all big powers in one way or another provided it is given a choice of an independent foreign policy. Pakistan may be useful to the USA in curbing terrorism in the region, but it may also be beneficial to be part of CPEC with China for its economic perpetuity. A prosperous Pakistan will be more democratic and contribute more usefully amongst the commodities of nations.

The mineral-rich Pakistan needs a mechanism for exploring and transporting the same and reaping economic dividends. However, it lacks expertise in this regard. South Africa has joined BRICS while citing the same opportunity. South African raw minerals are now exported to Brazil and China courtesy of BRICS. Pakistan can take the lead and consider the economic dividends of joining BRICs. Being part of BRICS may also help increase the balance of trade between Pakistan and India, which will be mutually beneficial for both nations. Old feuds do not mean restrictions on future progression. Economic interdependence paves the way for political discussions and, thus, solutions.

Pakistan therefore needs to come out of these calculations of being considered a part of certain lobby or block if it makes an independent decision. It’s not ‘with or without us’ anymore, the new normal is ‘with everyone’. This is thus the need of the time of the contemporary era. One who is left behind will curse himself in the long run.

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