On 21st July 2019, Imran Khan of Pakistan came and was all over. Yes, that was the summary of Pakistan’s prime minister’s first visit to the US. It won’t be surprising to say that he was greeted like a celebrity. 30,000 people waiting for him in the Capital one arena and that too in the US. A short visit of 3 days was what Imran Khan did which cost him $50,000 US compared to the previous visit of Nawaz Sharif, reportedly $450,00 US. Imran khan stayed in Pakistan Ambassador’s residence to cut off the expenses of the visit.
There have been lots of talk about this Imran Khan visit to USA in the media. As Us-Pak relations remains a hot topic for every person. Pakistan enjoys its strategic location in this region. But many countries remain awestruck by the fact that Pakistan’s economy is losing its ground by each passing day, corruption issues, energy crisis and terrorists attacks but still managing to hold its own. The US shared a very healthy relation with Pakistan until past Donald Trump, neglected the role of Pakistan in counterterrorism activities. It was believed that Pakistan was the breeding ground for terrorists and terrorist groups.
What turned around for Pakistan in a visit to Washington
It was believed that Pakistan was the breeding ground for terrorists and terrorist groups. Pakistan was assumed to be home for terrorism. Therefore, frequent terrorists attacks hurt our foreign policy and mascaraed the foreign image. Pakistan’s narrative was quite simple and especially after the National Action Plan was coherently agreed by the government and opposition at that time. It created ripples around the globe as Pakistan started operations against the terrorist in the country.
Implementation of the National action plan started changing things for Pakistan. Terrorists attacks were reduced to nothing. To begin with, Hafiz Saeed, founder of Pakistan militant group, Lashkar-e- Taiba was an internationally claimed terrorist who conducted many terrorists attacks. but Pakistan seems to care for him. This hurt their national interests and plans. Therefore, before this visit finally, the Pakistani government finally arrested Hafiz Saeed.
What went down in the last few years
Things took a drastic turn from that. As Imran Khan of Pakistan was invited a visit to Washington, so as to initiate another strong tie between two nations. Imran Khan, being a visionary leader was the bearer of this pristine relation.
Pakistan was alleged to support terrorists attacks and their activities. Therefore since 2011, Pakistan faced hostile behavior from the US. All the trades were decreased in each and every sector. Pakistan enjoyed aids of billions of dollars from the US in past years but these aids were cut down. The collation fund of approximately $1.4 US billion was given every year to the Pakistan army for its efforts and war on terrorism. Pakistan was the major ally of the US.
But things went down the track after a few bad incidents. The international pressure of capturing militants like Hafiz Saeed and others, Osama Bin Laden’s roots in Pakistan damaged the sentiments of the nation. while putting other countries in distrust.
Pakistan narrative is finally recognized
As Imran Khan of Pakistan met with the US, Trump, it was clearly evident from the gesture of US president about the change of perception regarding Pakistan. The net gain of this visit for Pakistan’s side was the change of perceptions. The US finally recognized Pakistan’s effort in the war on terrorism. Because the Pakistan government and especially Pakistan National Army is negotiating with the Afghan Taliban for a safe passage for the US army. There is no second thought about Pakistan’s crucial role between the two countries. How Pakistan is negotiating with the Afghan Taliban is truly commendable and that’s what Trump did.
Pakistan’s narrative about terrorism was always quite clear yet recognized late though. Whoever saw the meeting between the two heads can easily say that Imran Khan has struck a gutsy century on tricky batting conditions. Pakistan managed to acclaimed its role in the war on terrorism. People have seen Trump’s hostile attitude towards the heads of France, Germany and other heads. Thus, it’s pleasant to see both leaders meeting in such high spirits.
But the question remains the follow up of this meeting. What to take from it? and will both leaders maintain the same spirit by meeting and all other high levels?
What can Imran Khan of Pakistan take from it
If things go the way they are going. It can be the most fruitful visit for Imran khan of Pakistan. As Pakistan will manage to win the trust of the US once again, therefore, enjoying the perks of:
- The US support in resolving issues with IMF, FATF, World Bank, UN, etc
- Release of Dr. Afia Siddiqui
- The release of collation funds
- Access to the American market and attract foreign investment
- Transfer of technology
- US military technology access and trading of it
- Mediation on Kashmir issue
The US can act as a mediator in Kashmir issue
During Imran khan visit to USA, he was accompanied by the army chief and chief of ISI also. No one knows what worked for Pakistan, maybe Imran’s flattery or his dynamic vision that out of the blue a strong statement was passed over the Kashmir issue by the US president. All Pakistani prime ministers invariably raise the Kashmir issue and solicit international mediation. Choreographed questions by Pakistani journalists and Khan’s flattery led Trump to come up with a fantastic story that, at the G20 Summit in Osaka, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to mediate on Kasmir issue.
Donald Trump, President US said,
So I was with — I was with Prime Minister Modi two weeks ago, and we talked about this subject. And he actually said, “Would you like to be a mediator or arbitrator?” I said, “Where?” He said, “Kashmir.” Because this has been going on for many, many years. I was surprised at how long; it’s been going on a long —
As soon as few hours passed, the Indian embassy denied any of this kind of talk. It aggravated everyone across the border and any such claim by Donald trump was denied. Now time will decide where things will go further and the future of Kashmir issue. However, one thing is for sure that we are in the realm of the unknown.