Connect with us

South Asia

Outcome of PM Imran Khan’s visit to the USA

Published

on

Prime Minister Imran Khan has emerged as a celebrity in the USA. On 21 July 2019, he addressed a public rally in Washington, where a crowd of 30,000 greeted him. Most of them were Pakistani origin and has been come from far-flung areas inside the USA and Canada. Few of them traveled from the UK and Europe. There was also a big crowd of Americans. Especially the young American is a fan of him and he enjoyed the status of celebrity. As a sportsman, politician, and now a celebrity, his stature has grown further high. His charming figure, attractive personality, and visionary leadership qualities made him a popular superstar in the USA.

President Trump praised him and the Pakistani nation in a very good mood. We have seen President Trump’s meetings with other world leaders like, German, French, British, Canadian etc, but the body language while meeting with PM Imran Khan was unique pleasant. It was an obvious message of trust, respect, and partnership. President Trump’s talk was out of expectation encouraging and friendly.

The net gain out of this visit was the change of perception regarding Pakistan. Pakistan’s narrative was recognized and accepted. Pakistan’s positive role and sacrifices in war on terror were acknowledged. Pakistan’s potential and the pivotal position was recognized. In fact, after the Abbottabad incident on 2 May 2011, the Western world has written-off totally. Pakistan was coerced, pressurized and maligned. Pakistan was isolated and pushed out of the mainstream. But this visit has reversed all negative perceptions and brought back into the main stream again. This visit is very important in political, diplomatic front for Pakistan.

Yet it requires a lot of homework and intensive follow-up to make this visit useful on the ground. It requires frequent contact and interaction before reaping its fruits. Both sides need to work in close coordination and reach specific agreements. In the coming days, it is expected a lot of interaction at ministerial, departmental and senior official levels between the two nations. The spirit set by the two leaders PM Imran Khan and President Trump will be observed in such interactions at all levels. Both sides will struggle to achieve the desired results in the later and spirit of meeting between the two leaders.

Pakistan may seek the US’s support in resolving its issues with FATF, IMF, World Bank, ADB, NSG, UN, and UN-organizations, International organizations and various platforms. Pakistan may seek access to American Market at preferential status, attract American investments, transfer of technology, and high-tech, cooperation is Educational sector, easy access to Pakistani students in American Universities, Internships and job opportunities for Pakistani professionals and youth, cooperation in Science, Technology, Innovation, and commercialization, etc, Industrialization and modernization of agriculture, Tourism, defense, security, training, etc.

While Pakistan opens its doors for Americans in all sector of the economy, offer them attractive incentives and concessions for hi-tech and emerging technologies. Cooperation in resolving Afghan issues, and protecting American’s interests in this region, maintaining close partnership in achieving peace and security in this region. Restoring Americans lost reputation in the Muslim world.

Both countries have a track record of cooperation and success stories during the history of almost 7 decades. We were the closest ally outside NATO, either it is in the cold-war era of war on terror. In close partnership with Pakistan, the US achieved its strategic goals in the past and it is expected any cooperation with Pakistan, will ensure that American interests will be protected. Pakistan may be a small country, economically poor, socially diversified and divided nation, but the one of the most resilient nation, brave, loyal and trust worth nation. Our geostrategic locations make out the role of the pivot and bridging the world.

PM Imran Khan and President Trump, both are straight forward, loyal with their own country, patriot, and visionary leaders. Both have a history of keeping their promises, abiding by their words, can take any hard decision, even that unpopular decisions too. The days ahead will prove the true friendship between Pakistan and the US. It is worth mentioning, our friendship is only for “Peace, Harmony and Prosperity” globally, and our relations may not be a threat to any third country.

Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan.

Continue Reading
Comments

South Asia

Accusations to Acknowledgement: The Battle of Article 63 A

Published

on

The weather is heating up. As the May is ending, Political temperatures are soaring. The fate regarding the country’s political and economic stability will be measured in the upcoming days. Earlier, PDM built momentum by taking on institutions. Maryam Nawaz raised the temperature by targeting key personalities and institutions. Allegations were bursting against the institutions in all dimensions. Today, we witness reversal of roles. Accusations have been outflowing in every Jalsa by PTI. But now suddenly, the “accusations” turned into “acknowledgment”. “Complaints” started transforming into “Compliments”. Is it the change of narrative? Is it another U-turn? Or is it the restoration of confidence in the institutions? Where will this chaos end?

The Supreme Court’s “decision” or as they say “opinion” or “binding” on Article 63 A has raised some pertinent questions on the status of CM Punjab election? In the interpretation of Article 63 A of the constitution, the Supreme court categorically condemns the practice of horse trading by calling it “a cancer afflicting the body politic”. Supreme Court in its decision of 3-2 rejected the vote count of these dissident members against the party directives. So the future of the Chief Executive of Punjab is now under threat because it is contrary to what happened in National Assembly. The political instability continues and the situation is messy.

In light of this verdict, Hamza has a support of 172 MPAs in Punjab assembly but at the same time, he also has 4 dissenting members which draws the figure to 168. Now further moving ahead, PTI and alliance also has a collective figure of 168 votes minus 21 dissenting members. The situation here in Punjab is way too complex now. A support of 186 members is required for a clear majority in Punjab assembly to formulate a government. This current Punjab government can either fall through a governor led vote of no confidence or a Supreme court order. The governor even has a right to dissolve the assembly with his discretionary powers according to Article 112 (2) of the constitution. Supreme Court has already made its decision on cross voting against Party fiat.  Now legal experts are interpreting the decision in their own dictionaries. What will happen in Punjab? What will happen on the federal level? Will there be an election call? If so, what will be the care taker setup? Will there be a fresh mandate? Who will make the hard economic decisions?  Lot needs to be answered in these crucial times.

From “My judges disappointed me” to “Thankyou Supreme Court”, a lot has happened and a lot is ready to take place. Islamabad is full of gossips, interpretations, whispers and predictions these days. There is something seething under this political turmoil. The Red zone is under a lot of pressure whether politically or economically. Pre – Elections, Elections and then Post elections, we have a lot of consequences of a lot of hard decisions. But hard decisions need to be taken. Question is who is ready to make the hard choices? Be Afraid!!

Continue Reading

South Asia

The sizzling “Political Matrix”; What will happen now?

Published

on

Politics in Pakistan is unfortunately leaving scars that will fade away not that easily. Islamabad today is wrapped in thick political clouds since past few weeks. These last few weeks have altered all assumptions and calculations in the national political matrix.  While the political landscape today is sizzling with intensity, aggression and strain the economy is shattering every day.  Who is to blame for? What will happen now? And will sanity prevail?

The entire edifice of the “conspiracy mantra” which even made PTI commit violation of the constitution stands demolished today. It was one of the worst advices Imran khan could ever get from his party among the list of many others. Sadly he made his entire politics captive to this conspiracy myth.  But today no one questions them on the impact it had on our foreign policy. US today feels betrayed, Saudis not ready to give aid, Chinese worried about their stakes and it continues.  So diplomatically this conspiracy mantra has damaged Pakistan like anything.

Imran Khan’s followers see nothing wrong in what he says and what he does. They absolutely reject all the facts, all the logics and embrace the rhetoric which is fuelling more today with a greater intensity. Imran khan is leading this campaign more aggressively. Khan very well knows that bringing large crowds to Islamabad will have an impact only if there is some kind of aggression.  The leaders on different occasions already hinted towards an aggressive March. He very well realizes that the figure of 2.5 Million is unrealistic but keeping in view the size of Islamabad, 0.1 Million crowd will even be perceived as a bigger crowd. So can he force the early elections at this stage? How will the government react to it? For instance let’s accept this narrative that the pressure of crowd aids PTI in getting an early election call and PTI wins it. So now what next? How will you deal with the mighty US? The economy is already sinking. You need aid to feed it but no one is providing you that. Then how will you stop dollar from going above 200? How will you provide relief from the soaring fuel prices when you won’t have money for a subsidy even? Forget about one lakh jobs and 50 lakh houses.

From the past few weeks we haven’t heard any PTI leader telling any economic plan or any diplomatic plan to revive relations. How will you deal with the IFI’s, World Bank & IMF when they’re all US controlled and as per your narrative you won’t accept “Amreeka ki Ghulami” or USA’s dictatorship.

So now what options the present regime has? The government would of course like to stop this building dangerous momentum of “Azadi March”. They would not like any big clash in Islamabad which results in bigger mess and chaos. The PDM government also has a much bigger fish to deal with, the same sinking economy. They came into power with this narrative to fix economy as former Premiere was unable to do it.  The key cabinet members made more than two different official visits.  The instructions are coming from London today as a decisive power so who will run the government? Who will run the system? Will the IMF aid? What will be the upcoming budget about? This upcoming budget is a bigger risk for this government along with an already announced to Long march call. Khan has already played a dangerous narrative especially with the blame of another conspiracy being made about his Life.   

The stakes, the narrative and the politics of every party is at risk today.  But above that, Pakistan is at risk. The dread is in the air. The end of May will be heated ferociously in Islamabad, whether politically or meteorologically.

Continue Reading

South Asia

Sri Lankan economic crisis and the China factor

Published

on

After the resignation of Mahinda Rajapaksa, Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is the sole member of the United National Party (UNP), was sworn in as Sri Lankan Prime Minister on Thursday, May 12, 2022. Wickremesinghe will be holding the position of Sri Lankan PM for the sixth time. While the new Sri Lankan PM is a seasoned administrator, the task of restoring even a modicum of normalcy to the island nation’s economy, which is currently facing its worst economic crisis since its independence in 1948 seems to be a Herculean task (Wickremesinghe has clearly indicated, that his first task will be ensuring the supply of electricity, diesel and petrol to the people).

 The grave economic crisis, which has resulted in acute shortage of food and essential commodities have brought ordinary people on the roads and demonstrations have resulted in violence and loss of lives (the Sri Lankan President had to declare a state of emergency twice first last month and then earlier this month). There had been a growing clamor for the resignation by President Gottabaya Rajapaksa but Wickremesinghe was sworn in after the exit of Mahinda Rajapaksa (protests have been carrying on even after the swearing in of Wickremesinghe)

During his previous tenure, Wickremesinghe had tried to reduce Sri Lanka’s dependence upon China, and in his current tenure he will be compelled to do the same. He had also been critical of the previous government for not approaching the IMF for assistance (Wickremesinghe has been repeatedly accused of being pro-west and having neoliberal leanings by many of his political opponents).

It would be pertinent to point out, that the PM had also batted for a coordinated regional response, by SAARC vis-à-vis the covid19 pandemic. The new Sri Lankan PM has also been an ardent advocate of improving ties with India.

While it is true, that Sri Lanka finds itself in the current situation due to economic mismanagement and excessive dependence upon the tourism sector (which faced a severe setback as a result of covid 19), it is tough to overlook the level of debts piled vis-à-vis China, and the fact that the Island nation was following China’s model of economic growth with a focus on big ticket infrastructure projects.

Another South Asian nation — Pakistan which witnessed a change last month where Shehbaz Sharif took over as Prime Minister, replacing Imran Khan, also faces daunting economic challenges.  Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves were estimated to be a little over $ 10 billion on May 6, 2022 and the Pakistani Rupee fell to its all time low versus the US Dollar on Thursday, May 12, 2022. Shehbaz Sharif ever since taking over as PM has repeatedly reiterated the importance of Pakistan’s ties with China and the Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto in a conversation with his Chinese counterpart alluded to the same, with Pakistan’s Foreign office in a statement released after the conversation between Bhutto and Wang Yi said:

 “underscored his determination to inject fresh momentum in the bilateral strategic cooperative partnership and add new avenues to practical cooperation”.

 Yet, China has categorically said that it will not provide any financial assistance until Pakistan resumes the IMF aid program. Pakistan has been compelled to look at other alternatives such as Saudi Arabia and UAE, which have also said that without the revival of the IMF program aid will not be possible. Only recently, Chinese power companies functioning under the umbrella of the China Pakistan Economic corridor (CPEC) have threatened to shut down their operations if their dues (to the tune of 1.59 billion USD) are not cleared. China had also reacted very strongly to the terror attack on Karachi University in which three Chinese teachers lost their lives, this is the second such attack after 2021. China in recent years had also indicated to Pakistan, that it was not happy with the progress of the China Pakistan Economic (CPEC) project. The current government in Pakistan has repeatedly pointed to this fact.

One point which is abundantly clear from the economic crisis in Sri Lanka as well as the challenges which Pakistan is facing is that excessive dependence upon China has disastrous consequences in the long run. If one were to look at the case of South Asia, Bangladesh has been astute by not being excessively dependent upon China – it has maintained robust economic relations with India and Japan. Given the changing economic situation it is becoming increasingly important for developing countries, especially in South Asia, to join hands to confront the mounting challenges posed by excessive dependency upon China. US, Japan and western multilateral bodies and financial institutions need to find common ground and provide developing countries with an alternative economic narrative. It is also time for India along with other countries in the South Asian region to find common ground and focus on robust economic cooperation.

Continue Reading

Publications

Latest

South Asia1 hour ago

Accusations to Acknowledgement: The Battle of Article 63 A

The weather is heating up. As the May is ending, Political temperatures are soaring. The fate regarding the country’s political...

World News3 hours ago

Food insecurity threatens societies: No country is immune

“When war is waged, people go hungry,” Secretary-General António Guterres told the Security Council on Thursday during a debate on...

USA China Trade War USA China Trade War
East Asia5 hours ago

U.S. Violates Its Promises to China; Asserts Authority Over Taiwan

As Werner Rügemer headlined on 28 November 2021 and truthfully summarized the relevant history, “Taiwan: US deployment area against mainland...

Health & Wellness8 hours ago

How functional medicine can transform your life

With an increased focus on functional medicine and lifestyle changes to prevent diseases, the market for global functional medicine is...

Reports8 hours ago

New Resilience Consortium to Forge Strategies for Recovery and Growth in Face of Multiple Crises

COVID-19, climate change and, most recently, the war in Ukraine and the ensuing refugee crisis, are the latest reminders of...

World News9 hours ago

First international day spotlighting women working in the maritime industry

The first ever International Day for Women in Maritime kicked off its inaugural celebration on Wednesday with a seminar to...

Tech News11 hours ago

The small things make a big difference in the science of measurement

Scientists must make ever more sophisticated measurements as technology shrinks to the nanoscale and we face global challenges from the...

Trending