Pakistan’s jiggling to break free is a risk worth taking


Rafiq Jan (Doha, Qatar)

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s maiden trip to Pakistan did not go according to expectations in Washington. A cold shoulder reception by the state was probably the last thing the White House could have ever expected. Nevertheless, the reality is that under Trump, America is already somewhat isolated from the civilized world. Memories of this trip will be hard to digest as USA is not used to such rebuttals from developing countries like Pakistan.

The optics at the delegates’ meeting shocked the power centers in America. America always took Pakistan for granted and used it as a vassal state. From blackmailing and bullying to blatantly abusing the human rights of its citizens with heinous act of drone attacks killing scores of innocent civilians. They used Pakistan merely as a guinea pig for all the unscrupulous adventures against humanity and impudently named the human casualties as ‘collateral damage’ in typical American style.

A windfall of good luck in recent polls blessed Pakistan with much awaited respite from political uncertainties and dilemma. A country beset with social and economic malaise for the last 4 decades saw a ray of hope with phenomenal landslide victory of an unorthodox party headed by Imran Khan. His agenda of correcting the course of Pakistan was very much preconceived and well thought under his protracted struggle of changing the status quo. He has always been a staunch critic of entangling the country into traps of multiple fronts on behest of America.

Pakistan has a history of demagogues controlling people to sow the seeds of hatred, poverty and destruction across the globe. Mike Pompeo is obviously seemingly on the track of using vicious powers to execute Trump’s nefarious plans. His trip will remain an indigestible dose of a reality check. American hawks aren’t used to facing such a rebuttal, but it’s high time they start believing this geo-political paradigm shift.

The emergence of China-Pakistan-Economic-Corridor is the mother of all the mega projects that will reverse the power game in the region. United States and India, being new bed fellows, see this as a biggest threat to their future’s regional hegemonic plans in the long term. They are hell bent on going to any extent to thwart it.

Imran khan’s reformist government, still in its honeymoon period, is facing incredibly tough financial challenges to cope with. Humongous debts bequeathed from previous regimes of 10 years seem to be insurmountable despite all the choices PM Khan has. Financial burdens, domestic law and order and most importantly the upfront pressure of proving to the voters the pre-election promises and the follow through on them.

Prime Minister Imran Khan enjoys the support of the country’s youth, educated class, and largely the overseas Pakistanis. All he needs is to capitalize on this perfect situation to reap the desired results. He is well poised and looks determined to cash in on this opportunity to create a turnaround. He is leading from the front, contrary to his predecessors who deplorably lacked a clear vision and the required leadership perception.

A bare-knuckled approach to address the following key elements of attention is the only affordable choice to ensure viability of the state…. Hence the current call to action is,

Satisfying the conditions and requirements of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is a “Do or Die” situation, which will be pivotal to all the subsequent achievement of targets Pakistan has envisaged. Getting out of the FATF’s grey list will be the stepping stone for any further progress.

Pakistan must keep the CPEC project going in full swing despite serious threats from India and USA and speed up diplomacy with all the neighbors. Our new Prime Minister possesses the wit and charisma to aptly scale these hurdles.

Improving and maintaining the cordial relations with US, the West and all its neighbors based on mutual respect and equality.

Show enough honesty by mustering the courage to reign in the debts and consumptions while encouraging savings and export.

Weed out incompetent elements from the new cabinet to replace them with deserving and talented people to take on the onus of reforms.

Engendering the commitments for Afghanistan’s support in harnessing the control over insurgents as well as helping in restoration of conclusive and conducive negotiations with Taliban groups, which is impossible without Pakistan’s inclusion.

Showing to the US and the West the sincerity in working towards addressing the mutual concerns. A genuine desire to consider their concerns and work on policies to rejoin the mainstream of responsible nations.

Intra-religious harmony, fair allocation of responsibilities to the talented people, political reconciliation based on purely national interests, concrete steps to pave the way for eradication of corruption and embezzlement of public money.

Strengthening of cordial relations with all the neighbors, improvement of accountability at all levels, alleviation of poverty, owning the concerns of international community about alleged terror funding and money laundering.

Dismantling any residual terror outfits from across the country with an iron fist.

Include Russia for every possible venture of mutual benefit, including military training and defense equipment. Strengthen the existing warm bilateral ties and take them to a higher level to gradually lower the reliance on America.

Following strategies on war footing because Pakistan cannot afford to miss the boat of keeping up with the drastic reforms policies. It must personify the pre-election slogans and rhetoric to survive the in-house political rage as well as expectations of all the international allies and the strategic stakeholders. Pakistan needs to prove it is willing to repair the damage done in the past to dispel the doubts and reservations of the international community.

Given the veracity of thoughts, absolute trust in the nation for unconditional support and a strong will to work with a targeted approach while staying engaged with the global community, one can hope that a ‘new’ Pakistan has finally chosen a long-awaited and much overdue stance of facing its problems heads on.

‘New’ Pakistan has a very limited space to squirm under the tight timelines. But a rejuvenated and emboldened Army which exudes a non-verbal, but full, confidence can provide the trigger for this flimsy ship of Khan’s Pakistan. It takes true willpower, self-confidence, honesty and people’s support that empowers leaders to break the inertia. Once the forward movement starts, the rest becomes part of the history.

Disclaimer: Views expressed here are that of the author’s and do not reflect or represent the policy of the CRSS. CRSS Blog is an open platform inviting views from all sections of the society


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