Diplomacy has many forms, but, when it comes to bilateral trust and synergy, the best way to connect and enhance goodwill between nations is human to human contact through formal leadership visits.
By Rafiq Jan (Doha, Qatar)
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Malaysia may be regarded as a routine diplomatic trip by some. However, for a country in the news for all the wrong reasons and labelled as the most unmanageable, such a grand welcome for PM Khan by his Malaysian counterpart reflects strong hope and encouragement for Pakistan.
This visit has unique historical importance for both heads of states. It was one of Imran khan’s dreams to meet PM Mahathir, one of his heroes and role models. For Mahathir, PM Khan was his first state guest since he assumed power.
It was only until the early 1970s that many Malaysians used to visit Pakistan to seek education. However, Pakistan’s downfall started after the 1970s, when the country ran out of academics and experts. Bureaucracy wasn’t as insidious, as it is now, to rule the roost. This gradually and overwhelmingly hobbled the whole machinery of the state to the extent that each election, thereafter, merely changed the sides of the same coin instead of changing the mindset.
PM Imran Khan also gave compliments to PM Mahathir, showing his earnest desire and willingness to follow in the latter’s footsteps in his ambitious development plans for his debt-laden and socially and diplomatically impoverished country. There were no financial support declarations as such, but this timely visit has laid foundations for a refreshed and rejuvenated era of fruitful ties between the two Muslim countries.
PM Khan’s visit to Malaysia can also be regarded as a homage to PM Mahathir. Mahathir is undoubtedly an icon of development and true statesmanship in the modern world. He is unarguably the last survivor of the old guard of the “new” Malaysia. He tirelessly worked to build Malaysia up as a strong and viable economy and a diplomatically respectable nation in the world.
Two back to back successful foreign visits by PM Imran Khan have enabled him to send strong messages to the global community. His genuine drive to bring the country back from the brink of bankruptcy, due to abysmal governance and financial bungling by previous rulers, has also grabbed the world’s attention. Secondly, he has also proven to his critics that he is determined to fulfil his pre-election promises to uplift his people from poverty, illiteracy, fundamentalism and religious and social intolerance.
Even though it will be an uphill task for a country like Pakistan to shed all the negative perceptions associated with it, PM Khan’s initial intentions, in how he plans to lead the country, can make the Pakistanis hopeful for a bright future.
Disclaimer: Views expressed here are that of the author’s and do not reflect or represent the policy or views of the CRSS. CRSS Blog is an open platform inviting all points of views.