PM’s candid posture


TRUE to his reputation of being a forthright and plain talker, Prime Minister Imran Khan, during his current visit to the United States, has made candid observations on several issues of interest to both Pakistan and the international community. While addressing the Council of Foreign Relations in New York, he held the United States partly responsible for the present-day economic mess and remarked that Pakistan’s decision to join the US-led war on terror was the biggest mistake. And during his meeting with President Donald Trump, he told his interlocutor that it was responsibility of the United States to help resolve the Kashmir dispute. He also offered his mediation in US-Iran tension, which was accepted by the American President.
All this is indicative of the fact that the Prime Minister has been able to articulate Pakistan’s point of view on important issues effectively especially the cause of Kashmiri people. In view of deplorable conditions in Occupied Kashmir and untold miseries of the Kashmiris, the Prime Minister rightly sought intervention of the US President to help end curfew there and get assurance from the other side to take up the issue with the Indian Prime Minister. Hopefully, President Trump would live up to his pledge and would not only raise the issue with Modi, which he should have already taken up in his earlier meeting with the Indian leader, but pressurize him to do the needful urgently as life is completely paralyzed in Occupied Kashmir for over fifty days. President Trump should not allow the issue to be sacrificed at the altar of election politics as he did in Houston where Modi, in the words of Trump also, used aggressive language in the presence of the US President. It was all the more regrettable that the two made announcements to join hands in fighting, what they alleged, Islamic terrorism, remarks that reflected jaundiced and anti-Islam mindset. Prime Minister Imran Khan has tried to cultivate the US leader by declaring him as the strongest man who can influence the UN Security Council on the issue of Kashmir but President Trump, as before, is adamant to move only if both Pakistan and India want him to mediate. Trump’s self-admiration of being an effective arbitrator might be true but his unwillingness to act in the case of Kashmir until a nod from New Delhi is a lame excuse being used to run away from the responsibility to help resolve the issue for the sake of right of self-determination of 13 million Kashmiris and in the interest of peace and security of South Asia. How can he legitimately lay a claim on Nobel Peace Prize while silently watching the human catastrophe taking place in Occupied Kashmir and taking no worthwhile interest to facilitate settlement of the longstanding dispute as per UN Security Council resolutions? Trump’s observation that Pakistan was not treated well by his predecessors but the record so far shows the situation has not improved and in many respects deteriorated further during his tenure. As pointed out by Prime Minister Imran Khan, most of Pakistan’s economic woes stem from its decision to join the US-imposed war on terror and Washington ought to provide meaningful assistance to overcome Islamabad’s economic challenges. It is, however, regrettable that the US often opted to use economic and military assistance as leverage to pressurize Pakistan to toe its lines irrespective of whether or not that suits Pakistan’s own interests. It is Trump Administration that has withheld reimbursements from Coalition Support Fund (CSF) and is also allegedly resorting to arms twisting to force Pakistan to abandon the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) altogether or slow down progress on projects despite the fact that this is purely an economic initiative aimed at wellbeing and prosperity of people of Pakistan. As against this, Pakistan always demonstrated its sincerity to help the US come out of difficult situations like Afghanistan and Iran. Pakistan has been facilitating the peace process to end 18-year conflict in Afghanistan providing Washington a face-saving to get out of an unwinnable war. Similarly, growing tension with Iran would have implications not just for the region and the world but the United States as well and that is why the Prime Minister has extended an offer to help lower down tension. We hope that the United States would also come out with similar gestures and moves to mitigate strategic and economic challenges of Pakistan.

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