On a dark night in a mesmerizing twilight, time and waves have yet again brought two famous sailors each on a differently luxurious voyage into each other’s realm. One with a dwindling mighty shiphaving just survived the brim of collapse and the other with his huge titanic, well aware of the glaciers waiting ahead, yet ironically heading towards them swiftly. As the sailors come hand in hand each is to figure out how he can make use of the other to dismantle the dangers that lie ahead. Each calls out to the other, as the world looks on, ‘Behold Uncle Trump’. ‘Behold Heartthrob Imran’.
The world of Journalism is abuzz, these days, with the recent interaction between the two well known charismatic leaders. So is it really a new beginning or an addition to the long stalled and substantially fruitless diplomatic row of interactions between the two states, is the question to be asked. With this dazzling pictionary of yet another decisive diplomatic luncheon on the world stage, let’s get a bird eye view of what it really means to each of the two populists.
The US-Pak relations have seen decades-long ups and downs, with the strategy being mainly focused to catering peace and terrorism and bringing about regional stability, per say. But with Pakistan having adamantly declared its large territories free of invaders, IMF having released its $6 billion bill, the FATF blacklisting rope throttling Pakistan’s already fragile imagery, a $6 billion fine thrusted in Pakistan’s face by the ICSID, this meeting is a major one to look at and scrutinize.
So the questions now arise whether it still remains to be the main interest onthe Pakistan side? Also is to be raised the question of whether or not the Pakistani diplomatic persuasion will be strong rather important enough to be entertained by the US counterparts?
About the first question, the suspension of USAID last year took Pakistan into a deep black hole of economic instability and opened on policy makers the urgent need for making long-term wise choices instantaneously that would somehow end our chronic disease of dependency and produce a healthy state of self-sufficiency. Adding to the already restless waves was the US Iran tensions and globally implemented sanctions on Iran producing further economic shocks and impeding the path for a successful completion of Islamabad Tehran Pipeline, for years now;a pursuit mentioned in the nascent IK-Rouhani meeting. This was also a factor contributing to opening the way for mysterious and politically notorious friendly $2.7 billion loans borrowed by the Pakistan Government from China, KSA and UAE; adding to that is China having become the largest creditor of Pakistan, owning 60% of the favor. With this thinking hat on, I would argue, No, Pakistan’s current need is of economic first aid rather than fighting conventional terrorism, as has always been, but so it is to say “now more than ever”.
Some would say economic stability without regional peace is but just day dreaming and it is definitely agreed upon, but if it means fighting another war on terror by a weary of terror economy, then it’s certainly not wise to support, in the wake of regional peace,an insane repetition.
For US, things are rather seemingly straightforward with them evacuating Afghanistan bringing Pakistan to the talk-table trilogy before the next presidential elections and playing their trump card. A mediation offered by the Trump administration in the Kashmir issue is interesting to say the least, how it unfolds is awaited for.
Will it have the same consequences as the Israel-Palestine issue? Not sure. But one thing is certain, a definite diplomatic heroism, is it deemed to be solved but no less an award even if the long voluntarily ignored talk about the elephant in the room is initiated. At what cost is then the question? A reward for contribution towards Afghan peace process or a diplomatic deal cursing Iranian sanctions even more. The Iran issue being an important one, both locally and globally, and with Iran showing no respect whatsoever for the Titanic surfer, could Pakistan somehow be instrumental in clearing the tensions or will it be a tool to implement some more is yet to be figured out.
In conclusion, is it an all-is-well-for-the-time-being or all-is-a-mayhem, is yet to be seen. But history has it, no sane sailor wants to lose his ship, unless it’s a pirate sailing at the helm of affairs or if there’s a mighty hole in the ship. So, let’s wait and watch.