DAVOS Business Forum was founded by Klaus Schwab in 1971 in Switzerland. It has been mired in controversies and site of protests of Right or Humanity Cause groups. However, whatever criticism, it has gained its own importance. Projection of Pakistan’s case at Davos Business Forum in the gathering of world political and business leaders by PM Imran Khan has been superb. After his UN address last Sep his address at Davos indeed is classic and praiseworthy. As Pakistani, one feels at least there is a leader who can not only speak up but stand up against international pressure. His meeting, third in the last eight months with President Trump is epitome of aggressive exterior diplomacy. Although Pakistan should not expect any quick fixes on Kashmir, but the fact, the issue is not only fully highlighted but also world is being warned of the impending genocide not only of Kashmiris but persecution of 200 million of Indians as a whole. And that Muslim minorities concern under Liaqat Nehru pact is very much cause of worry and concern for Pakistan. IK stressed that Pakistan will not join any proxy war , rather he is a messenger for peace, is a clear message to not only world at large but also India which has chosen the path of extremism and fascism. Pakistan after 9/11 suffered not only colossal loss of human life but also economically got pushed back by twenty years. Besides human cost, loss of over US $ 125 Billion in infra structure damage has pulled back Pakistan economically by many years. Further, PM’s categorical policy statement, Peace in Afghanistan is as much needed to Pakistan is clear indication of Pakistan’s future foreign policy approach and priority. He highlighted Pakistan’s efforts in this regard.
In regional context, there is no example of the leader who could look into the eyes of US President and tell him war with Iran will be a catastrophe which will jolt not only the region but lead the world at large into a blood bath. It will also unleash economic disaster world over. And that President of US listened is an achievement. His meetings with other world leaders and commercial heads has been equally successful. The sideline meetings are likely to bear fruit in coming days in multiple spectra of industry, education, social sectors and boost to exterior diplomacy. He is already invited to visit Germany by German Chancellor. The impact of his endeavours is already visible. 2019 being a peaceful year coupled his efforts at Davos to invite world to visit Pakistan, British Government has upped Travel Advisory lifting warning not to visit Pakistan. USA is also likely to revise Travel Advisory. Similarly UN has declared Pakistan family station after many many years. Thus both political governments and military establishment deserve kudos in achieving peace. He also stressed the brighter signs visibility in the economy having taken hard decisions at macro level policy decisions. These are painful but paying dividends. For that he is facing barrage of criticism from vested interests and media still towing their line. Also, PM warned in his one of speeches, happening in Kashmir, of impending genocide of Muslims, and also racial profile in the name of national registration of 200 million to eliminate, those not registered. They will be confined to containment camps a la Nazi Germany concentration camps. It is violation of international laws and Pakistan specific Simla agreement. This is going to have multidimensional impact on Pakistan. Modi and hawks in India are most likely to indulge in aggression against Pakistan. It may also create an exodus of refugees to Pakistan. All this is not tolerable and may push both the countries to atomic showdown. It will be disastrous for two billion population of subcontinent and its impact beyond borders. PM warned the world.
Notwithstanding above, there are people in Pakistan , and some drawing room analysts who are churning out analysis after analysis that IK failed to convince the world at Davos. He was not convincing. This is contrary to what international opinion makers say. There was time PM Nawaz Sharif was not even allowed to address due to corruption charges. Thus if critically examined post visit, there are bright signs and fluff of fresh wind. In the regional milieu there are clouds of war hovering due to India’s stated aim and it may venture into deviating the world attention from growing unrest and falling popularity of his government. Such a war will destroy both countries. Unfortunately, our internal politics revolve around politicians who talk of democracy but are slaves of their vested interests. Their leadership is mired in corruption charges. They talk of democracy but do not have the tolerance to accept defeat. Yes, numbers in Assembly matter but we forget strength of country’s Foreign Policy depends two cardinal pillars, a strong economy and good internal perception to international powers. In such a milieu it is the responsibility of every political party and citizen to work to create favourable political climate in the country. Work in tandem and prepare for next elections. Negativity be shunned. That is the only mature way forward.
—The writer, a retired Brigadier, is decorated veteran of 65 & 71 wars and a defence analyst based in Lahore.