News Analysis |
Prime Minister Imran Khan has visited the Foreign Office (FO) today and is chairing a meeting to discuss Pakistan’s current relations with the countries across the world. Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua has reportedly briefed the officials attending the meeting on Pakistan’s stance on regional and foreign issues. The newly-appointed Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, and other officials are attending the meeting at the FO.
The Prime Minister’s highly significant visit has come at a time; when, after a regime change, Pakistan is looking to kick-start a new era of cooperation with the foreign countries. PM Khan will be briefed particularly on the relations with arch-rival India in the context of the situation in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK). Khan did not shed light on the foreign policy of his new government in his maiden address to the nation.
Mike Pompeo who is expected to arrive on September 05 to discuss bilateral relations and matters of mutual interest with PM Khan had phone call conversation with the Premier.
He made it clear; however, that Pakistan is looking to have peaceful relations with its neighbors. On August 21, Khan tweeted that, “to move forward Pakistan and India must have dialogue and resolve their conflicts including Kashmir: The best way to alleviate poverty and uplift the people of the subcontinent is to resolve our differences through dialogue and start trading.”
Khan will also be apprised of the situation in the Kulbashan Jadhav case which will be heard in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in February next year. Earlier, the credible government sources in India had rejected the claims of Shah Mehmood Qureshi that in Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s congratulatory letter to Mr. Khan, he has indicated the beginning of talks between the two countries. According to Indian media, in the congratulatory message, Modi didn’t express his wish for dialogues with Pakistan and only asserted that India is committed to peaceful ties.
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Again, On August 23, PM Khan in his tweet said that “on behalf of the people of Pakistan, we send our prayers and best wishes to those who have been devastated by the floods in Kerala, India. We stand ready to provide any humanitarian assistance that may be needed”. PM will also be briefed and taken into confidence regarding relations with neighbors Afghanistan, China, and Iran.
Moreover, the relations with the United States will also remain critical to Khan’s future foreign policy. Qureshi, in his first news conference at the Foreign Office, had made it clear that there is a need to alter the ‘direction’ of Pakistan’s foreign policy and Pakistan’s new foreign policy would begin and end at Pakistan.
The trust deficit of Pakistan with the duo—India, and Afghanistan is very difficult to bridge. Given the complexity of the relationship, PTI led government must build up a national consensus to move forward on crucial bilateral relations with its troubling neighbors.
PTI’s led coalition government has shown intent to bridge the trust deficit with other neighboring nations based on the wishes of the people of Pakistan. He ensured the public that foreign policy will be made at the Foreign Office of Pakistan and negated the preconceived notions regarding it, [as if the policy is already crafted in GHQ]. Mike Pompeo who is expected to arrive on September 05 to discuss bilateral relations and matters of mutual interest with PM Khan had phone call conversation with the Premier.
Showing the first sign of defiance, on Thursday, Pakistan’s FO had rejected the statement by the US State Department. “Pakistan takes exception to the factually incorrect statement issued by US State Dept on today’s phone call between PM Khan & Sec Pompeo. There was no mention at all in the conversation about terrorists operating in Pakistan,” FO Spokesperson Dr. Mohammad Faisal tweeted.
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The US State Department after the phone call had issued a statement which said that “Secretary Pompeo raised the importance of Pakistan taking decisive action against all terrorists operating in Pakistan and its vital role in promoting the Afghan peace process.”
But in response to Pakistan’s rebuttal, US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert reiterated that ‘We stand by our readout, and it may surprise some of you, but they had a good call and the US looks forward to working with a new civilian government’. PTI in its new and effective foreign policy also addressed neighboring Afghanistan and offered them a new beginning in the bilateral ties between the two countries.
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A new foreign policy is expected to face obstructions and hurdles as the decision based on a nation’s aspirations, and priorities may collide with those of other stakeholders. Qureshi is in it for a bumpy ride ahead. The trust deficit of Pakistan with the duo—India, and Afghanistan is very difficult to bridge. Given the complexity of the relationship, PTI led government must build up a national consensus to move forward on crucial bilateral relations with its troubling neighbors.