The wind of change


Rayyan Baig

PAKISTAN is situated in both the northern and eastern hemispheres and occupies one of the best geostrategic location in the world. It possesses a profound blend of landscapes from the coastal areas of Arabian Sea to deserts, plains, hills, forests, plateaus to snow clad mountains. It has been blessed with abundant natural resources coupled with over 200 million resilient and hardworking population. However, despite all the promising advantages, it didn’t enjoy the respect it deserved in international community. The main reason of this infelicity is the quality of leadership which Pakistan inherited after the demise of Quaid-i-Azam, especially in the last few decades. These leaders have been stashing public money and buying properties abroad, which though remained hidden from the eyes of poor Pakistanis, but the foreign powers were intimately aware about their plunders and properties abroad. Because of their personal weaknesses they weren’t taken seriously and couldn’t stand for the rights / respect of Pakistan. Their visits abroad / interaction with the world leaders used to be generally for self-glorification and personal gains. The numerous high-profile junkets in last decades, with kith and kin and dozens of friends, never brought any hope for Pakistanis but a hefty bill to be paid by the public. The perception built about these leaders abroad was dabbed on all Pakistanis and they too gradually lost their respect.?
The recent visit of the PM to USA has changed all the perceptions about Pakistan and Pakistanis. Clad in Shalwar Qameez, instead of costly apparel like his predecessors, IK left a lasting impression on the Western world. His charismatic personality, confidence and lack of any baggage ie any ill-gotten property abroad, earned him unprecedented respect at international level. Pakistani diaspora living abroad lacked confidence in the leadership as they had inkling about their ill-gotten wealth and properties abroad. The leaders never tried to unite Pakistanis, and would gather just their friends and relatives during their visits abroad ignoring common Pakistanis, which divided them in various groups. Imran Khan has always been talking for the rights of Pakistanis living abroad, therefore, during his visit those living in USA/ Canada flocked to welcome him. Through his visit he has united all Pakistanis living in USA, who would be recognized as a political force to reckon with, in USA, and hopefully would lobby for Pakistan.?
The Indian/BJP government has been trying to isolate Pakistan internationally since long. In the last regime, India succeeded in creating misunderstanding between Pakistan and its close friends and to some extent isolated Pakistan. It was primarily due to poor diplomacy which was intentionally kept so by not appointing a Foreign Minister, resultantly Pakistan lost lot of ground on diplomatic front. Hussain Haqqani along with his Indian confreres and PTM etc were all set to mar PM’s recent visit to USA. PM Imran Khan through his charismatic personality and political/ diplomatic acumen not only failed all these traitors, rather isolated India in return. President Trump who tweeted negatively against Pakistan, just a few months back, praised the PM and Pakistanis. The antipathy which Pakistan faced from the US since 2015 converted into amity in just a maiden visit, and one can see the wind of change in Pak-US relations.? The PM didn’t beg for dollars and apparently came back empty handed, as for dollars/aid is concerned, but brought back much needed honour and dignity for the nation. The Kashmir issue has never been raised so boldly at international level before, which has put India on back foot. The Indian fluster and hollers in the backdrop of Mr Trump’s statement clearly reflect the degree to which India has been hurt. The sacrifices which Pakistan rendered in the war against terror were also amply highlighted and acknowledged by the US and world. This is the first time in decades that the US Administration has not repeated its mantra of “do more”.
It’s very heartening to see all the institutions and the Government on one page, all working for the betterment of Pakistan, improving its international image and internal/economic situation. It would be unfair not to appreciate the Armed Forces for their positive role and quiet diplomacy in taking the country out of isolation. The recent visit of the PM and military leadership has brought a new hope for the nation. The fruits of PM’s successful visit have started appearing, the ice has melted and US Administration itself has announced certain assistance for Pakistan, without any request from Pakistan? Unfortunately, those political leaders/bigwigs who are, for the first time, being accounted for their ill practices and plunder have joined hands. To save their skin they are not hesitant to put the reputation and cohesion of the country at stake. The current difficult economic situation of the country is due to the poor planning and corruption of the previous governments; however, these individuals try to mislead the public. There is no denying the fact that the public is feeling the pinch of recent price hike and the government needs to provide relief to the public at a quick pace. It is hoped that the successful diplomacy at international level by the present government and the measures to strengthen the institutions would yield lasting dividends for the country. However, the situation demands the entire nation to remain united keeping aside the political affiliations and fulfil our obligations as responsible citizens.
— The writer is freelance columnisat, based in Rawalpindi.

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