Trump-Imran positive engagement


ALL eyes were on the first ever summit level talks between Prime Minister Imran Khan and the US President Donald Trump at the White House and these proved to be very positive as the signs of convergence were very much apparent and evident during the press talk of both the leaders who are known for their non-traditional way of doing diplomacy and politics.
It was very visible from the tone of the US President that he wants to work together with Pakistan not only on security issues but also in terms of trade and economy. In fact it has been our longstanding demand that the US should not see Pakistan only from the prism of Afghanistan, as Pakistan wants to establish a long-term economic partnership with the sole super-power. The fact of the matter is that an enduring bilateral relationship is in the interest of the two countries as Washington cannot achieve its regional goals especially vis-à-vis Afghanistan sans Pakistan whilst for us this relationship is also important in terms of regional security and economy.
Credit definitely goes to Prime Minister Imran Khan for genuinely presenting Pakistan’s case during talks with the US leadership. In fact, he is the leader after Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who is well articulate and can present his point of view in a very unequivocal and effective manner. In the past there used to be more demands from the US and often we used to hear the do more mantra but this time the situation was very different. In fact this time around there was a lot of positivity and the US President spoke highly about Pakistan and its people. Firstly, he himself acknowledged the role being played by Pakistan in the ongoing Afghan peace process. He said the relations with Pakistan are much better now than before. Then most importantly, his most important words came about Kashmir dispute for the resolution of which he also offered to mediate.
Trump also revealed that the Indian Prime Minister himself has asked him to mediate on Kashmir dispute, however, as was expected the Indian External Affairs Ministry later came with a denial that Modi asked Trump of any mediation on Kashmir. India has always shied from mediation on this lingering dispute but we understand that time has come that the world community force New Delhi to move towards its resolution, and definitely who could do this better than Washington, which enjoys now a better relationship with India. There is also lot of expectations in Pakistan that the way it is helping the United States in the Afghan peace process, the super-power also play its part in the resolution of Kashmir dispute.
Apart from regional security issue, it was also heartening to hear from the US President that his country desires to build a strong economic and trade relations with Pakistan. He talked about the potential of expanding trade ties ten to twenty times. This indeed also depicts the mindset with which Pakistan leadership sat with the US as the focus has now shifted from aid to trade, though the US President spoke about the possibility of restoring $ 1.3 billion in aid cut last year. As we seek a relationship based on mutual interest and respect, our focus should remain on economic partnership, which in fact will help build an enduring relationship with the US.
Undoubtedly there is great potential of substantially enhancing trade between the two countries and we expect that sincere efforts will be made from both sides to achieve the target. We expect that this top-level interaction will set the course of resetting the relationship that were marred by mistrust and misunderstanding in the past. The way forward indeed is to maintain the contacts at different levels in order to achieve what has been agreed upon at the White House meeting. For this we will once again stress the resumption of strategic level dialogue comprising of six working groups in order to take this relationship forward in diverse fields. A strong relationship is a win-win for both the countries.