MUCH bigger challenges than those facing on the domestic front, are in economic and foreign affairs fields. Imran Khan as prime minister is luckily known world over, both as renowned sportsman, and as outstanding spokesman not only, for his own people, but also of those confronted with problems around the world.
A person of celebrity status, he has stoutly resisted Western pressure to recognize Israel, so much so that a brotherly country like Saudi Arabia was checked, and Tel Aviv’s plan to make inroad into Islamic bloc had could’nt enlarge beyond a micro-level redemption. Just two of the 54 or 57 OIC States, UAE and Bahrain, fell in the trap. Others appreciated Islamabad’s logic to link Israeli recognition with solution of Palestinian issue.
Pakistan, now has to convince the Muslim world to look for a consensus consultation so that both Palestinian and Kashmiri people, struggling for decades to be masters of their destiny, could see their dreams attaining reality. Pakistan foreign office has to work hard to attain this goal, which is still very elusive. Imran Khan’s government has won accolades for its efforts for permanent peace in Afghanistan. The trouble in Afghanistan is the presence of splintered Taliban groups.
But sanity seems to have prevailed after protracted negotiations, visible from Doha negotiations in Qatar, and frequent consultations among the four key players, Unite States, which wants to withdraw its remaining 8000 troops, Afghan leadership and Taliban themselves. An agreement on a government of pure Afghanis, on equality basis, committed to improving the lot of its people, is a must, and although looks painful now, can materialize with patience and persistent efforts.
PLO and Israeli negotiations, too, were protracted but with skillful handling of Ashrah Pehalvi, it finally led to something concrete and positive. The canvas now has to be broadened. Similar is the Kashmir issue, which because of Islamabad’s efforts did click, and with a little more push, the world, silent so far for varied reasons, has begun to realize the gravity of the situation. Voices, feeble still,is encouraging nevertheless.
Remarkable was latest report from UN secretary General, calling for resolution of Indo-Pak disputes anad giving up thinking of solving it through foce, because then it will be catastrophic. Also the EU Disinfo Lab report, caused consternation in India which is no minor breakthrough. Imran’s persistent efforts to shake the world conscience, has begun to work. He is the only prime minister in recent decades to articulate very forcefully Kashmiris’ plea for their birth-rights. Indian media to a great extent, and Indian society too, seems unnerved.
That in itself is matter of considerable satisfaction. However, Pakistan foreign policy needs to be pro-active, rather than being reactive. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s telephonic contacts with US foreign minister, and other world dignatories, Imran’s visit to Kabul, and meetings with President Ashraf Ghani and others is bound to have atleast some effect, which if pursued more vigorously, can lead to much greater success than achieved so far
What, since long, was required was worldwide tour by the Pakistan foreign minister, for, personal contacts is always much more beneficial, than mere telephone calls. Pandemic, off course, is a major hurdle, but people keep travelling. A glaring example is of army chief General Qamar Bajwa. He is constantly on the move, covering wide distances from Gulf region to Azerbaijan and a number of other countries. Since this military-civil cooperation is unique and exemplary, it was bound to pay dividend,and it has.
On the economic front, Imran must pay greater attention, and motivate his cabinet colleagues, especially those in office by sheer dint of luck, to deliver, erase the impression or complaints of their being mere idealists. It may sound harsh, but no point having an army of people, wittingly or otherwise, labeled liabilities on the exchequer.
Similarly Imran’s media too needs overhauling. He must have someone experienced of media handling in Sindh also, for the 2023 election his absence will be acutely felt. The exercise must begin right away. Another valuable step will be voluntary reduction in pay and allowances of ministers and parliamentarians. Sacrifices are now need of the house. Petrol levy surcharge must be cut down to keep prices within affordable limits of the people.
The world is currently on the threshold of a change, vivid and widely acknowledged. Its intricacies ought to be scientifically studied, analysed for our own benefit. Centuries old, or atleast practices in vogue for decade, demand a thorough review, and proper application to bring our system in consonance with modern trends, is inevitable. Mounting debt liabilities, high rate of inflation, rupee revaluation, boosting of exports etc, is no ordinary task.
Devotion, commitment, and planning or execution of economic, trade, investment policies, demand shirking or discarding irrelevant scheming, for they will not be useful any more. A fresh thinking and skillful handling to tap new markets is required. Imran, instead of waiting for pandemic limitations to be over, must undertake journeys to USA, Japan, South Korea, France, Germany, Britain, Singapore etc to sell Pakistan as ideal investment and tourist destination. Terrorism has long gone from Pakistan. Fears of the past now must give room to new thinking in approach by major investors.
Such an exercise is bound to yield results, With Joe Biden in control in America, major changes at in variety of fields are generally being anticipated.. Pandemic is a hurdle in traveling to United States, But Imran can establish direct contact with the new American leadership to abreast himself with fresh logic In thinking and planning for coming months or years. Countrymen are looking towards their own leadership to salvage them from declines, and ensure a more happier and prosperous future for them and coming generations.