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Why is there too much scrutiny over Imran Khan’s visit to Russia?

Imran Khan's choice to continue with the Russian trip, which is vital to the advancement of many sectors in Pakistan, was a wise one; media experts who have criticized Khan's administration for not canceling the trip would have been more critical of Khan's government if he had done so. This trip was planned for January, and Prime Minister Khan will travel to Russia. Its cancellation would be the worst thing that could happen to Pakistan-Russia relations for decades.

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Optics have a significant influence in international politics. The visit of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to Russia comes at a critical moment when the confrontation between Russia and Ukraine has escalated to a new level, sparking debate throughout the world. Who’d have guessed that the size of a table would be a point of contention in so many countries?

PM Imran Khan’s visit was long overdue, and it has nothing to do with the Ukrainian issue or the resurgence of the Cold War. Pakistan is facing economic difficulties. The bilateral agenda of PM Khan’s visit to Moscow includes cooperation with Russia on energy and Afghanistan. The trip’s cancellation would be a major political message. Going on with the trip is a sensible decision in these circumstances. What we can say is that because of the timing this visit became very important in the eyes of the media and other sections and was talked about a lot. It certainly caught a few eyeballs in New Delhi and Washington.

Read more: Russia attacks Ukraine: Now what’s next?

Ex-US President Truman asked Nehru to conduct a state visit to the United States in 1949; however, Liaquat Ali Khan did not get such an invitation. Relations between the Soviet Union and Pakistan were likewise strained at the time, although it is noteworthy that Pakistan was unexpectedly invited to pay a state visit to Moscow. This invitation was a big political triumph, especially because India had not yet been invited by Moscow. This invitation piqued American interest in Pakistan, which was exactly what Liaquat Ali Khan desired. He gladly accepted the offer and chose to visit America on a state visit and ditched the Russian invitation, hence he was never invited again.

Fake intellects and reality

Imran Khan’s choice to continue with the Russian trip, which is vital to the advancement of many sectors in Pakistan, was a wise one; media experts who have criticized Khan’s administration for not canceling the trip would have been more critical of Khan’s government if he had done so. Over the years, the Foreign Office and many important stakeholders have worked hard to close the gaps between the two nations, and what many optics fail to say in order to push their own agenda is that such trips are not done on a one-day basis. This trip was planned for January, and Prime Minister Khan will travel to Russia. Its cancellation would be the worst thing that could happen to Pakistan-Russia relations for decades.

The narrative being built mostly in Indian and some Pakistani media is that Joe Biden’s lack of interest has led to PM Khan’s decision to join forces with Russia and become a member of a new nexus as a result of Biden’s lack of interest. After Khan’s visit, the US will be enraged and will punish Pakistan even more severely. This notion is incorrect and propaganda promoted by Indian media, and certain Pakistani media outlets are eager to spread it for personal advantage.

Read more: Biden condemns Putin’s actions in Ukraine

Over intellectuals, or as we should call them, fake intellects, still have a colonial attitude. This story is being promoted more in local media than in mainstream media in the United States. In Pakistan, intellectual dishonesty has reached such a degree that they are pleading with the US to penalize Pakistan for a visit that was only for the benefit of a country’s own interests.

Myths that needs to be mentioned

Many analysts will ignore the reality that the US has always wanted Russia to make this decision on the Ukraine issue, which, by the way, is not a new issue; it has been going on for years and has its own history. The US has always wanted Russia to make this decision so that they may impose sanctions and be severe with them. The United States has been waiting for a chance to take decisive action and put pressure on Germany to stand up to Russia.

Another truth worth mentioning is the hypocrisy of Indian media and analysts who are slamming and blaming Pakistan over its recent visit. The Indian government has made no public statements condemning or criticizing Russia’s actions in Ukraine. No substantial stance so far in the world of diplomacy from India so far. Despite that, Indian media and analysts are discussing Pakistan and PM Imran Khan for his visit.

Read more: Turkey’s UN envoy calls for restraint amid Ukraine crisis

To sum up the issue, I believe the optics implying that Washington will be enraged with Pakistan are only a desire that may or may not come true. Both the US and Pakistan are aware of the gravity of their bilateral relationship, and the US is wise enough to recognise that when it comes to the Russia-Ukraine issue, Pakistan has no leverage. This dispute was created solely to create a stir and make this visit contentious. It will not be what others want it to be in the future.

 

The writer is an MPhil scholar, analyst and journalist with expertise on national and international politics. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.

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