The subjects that came under discussion in the meeting between PM Imran Khan and President Donald Trump were of diverse nature as it was expected to be, with Afghan peace process and actions against militants groups being on the top of the list.The body language of PM Imran Khan looked confident and composed.The meeting was to be interesting as both leaders possessed some common characteristics just like unpredictability. But the more unpredictable happened after the meeting.
While addressing the press both the leaders were asked various questions encompassing different issues. President Trump acknowledged and appreciated the efforts of Pakistan in Afghan peace process and further asked Pakistan help in bringing the Taliban to table for negotiation and dialogue to ceasefire, that PM Imran Khan assured him to do what Pakistan can do in this respect. But what got the center stage and made headlines in Pakistani and Indian media , and was a little bit surprising as well, was the offer that Donald Trump made to be the mediator between Pakistan and India to resolve Kashmir issue that has been an imbroglio between the two countries for over seven decades. While in Pakistan this statement of mediating the conflict of Kashmir by the president of US was welcomed, in India it was vehemently criticised by different circles of the country.
Nevertheless, US president’s willingness arbitration against the backdrop of Kashmir dispute is definitely something to celebrate in Pakistan as it is the first time in the recent history that a super power explicitly expressed its will to mediate the most burning issue between two nuclear powers. Whether US would do something practically to resolve this issue remains to be seen in future, but his statement has buttressed the version Pakistan of arbitration in the matter of Kashmir dispute, with India being against the arbitration calling it a bilateral issue and should be solved bilaterally.
This time, US didn’t reiterate the Do More mantra that it used to do in the past, despite the fact that Pakistan has always done going extra miles to help combat the menace of terrorism with the sacrifices of almost seventy thousand precious lives of both civilian people and military personnel. PM Imran Khan recapitulated the sacrifices Pakistan as a nation rendered in a war that was not inflicted upon it in the first place. Pakistani government’s recent crackdown against militant outfits and proscribed organizations and the latest detention of Hafiz Saeed, leader of proscribed LeT also worked out for Pakistan for not being called for do more this time
When asked about allegedly censorship on Pakistani media, Imam Khan rebutted this perception claiming Pakistani media being one of the freest media in the world. He further maintained that he himself received unprecedented criticism from the press within the country negating any curbs on freedom of expression in Pakistan.
Giving an interview to Fox News, Imran Khan spoke about the relationship between Pakistan and US as to not based on the mutual respect. There has been a deficit of trust between the two countries that developed the anger among people of both countries about each other. Imran Khan stated he wanted a dignified relationship with US built on mutual respect and understanding not just like it was in past.
Imran had also a meeting with business communication of US inviting them to invest in Pakistan as there is potential market and business avenues in Pakistan that remain to be explored. Investment is, in fact , very crucial for Pakistan given its worsening economic situation and industrial slow down. Pakistan population largely consists of youth for them employment is imperative that could only be generated through investments. So, Imran Khan’s insistence and emphasis on trade instead of aid is commendable as well.
Lastly, public gathering at capital one arena where PM addressed Pakistani community was also mesmerizing. A huge number of people assembled to listen the address of Imran Khan.
Where he battered the opposition as usual and held them responsible for what Pakistan is facing today on economic fronts. He again repeated his drive against money laundering and corruption saying no NRO would be granted to the culpables. Some people also criticised Imran Khan for highlighting the domestic issues abroad for no reason. Opposition also considered it to unbecoming of a prime minister representing a state on an international level.
In nutshell, this visit of PM to US has broken the ice paving the way for future reciprocity between the two countries that can cooperate in redressal of different issues including the political settlement in Afghanistan, economic activities and strategic partnership but that should be on basis of diginity and mutual respect.