When there is a light at the end of a tunnel, one would run towards it. Finally, the two leaders putting behind their twitter war found some common ground to move forward on. This week’s summit between President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Imran Khan have broken the ice, putting back on track their relationship that was in a state of decomposition since Osama bin Laden’s raid in 2011.
The summit revolved around two main issues. One Afghan crisis, in which Pakistan is pivotal for America to exit the doors of never-ending war. Second is a regional security situation in South Asia. It is unpredictable that civil-military relationship of Pakistan is on the same page whilst addressing the above mention issues. American, now sees Pakistan as a solution, not a problem and the trust deficit that made the relationship tenuous was still lingering. Further, there is no "do more" mantra by America against Pakistan. The significant reason for reinstating the relationship is due to Pakistan's effort as to crackdown on militant groups and the arrest of Hafiz Saeed under the terrorism law on the eve of the visit.
The Afghan crisis has cost America billions of dollars putting Pakistan into the jeopardy. America visibly sees Pakistan as a solution to resolve the 18 years of war on terror. Trump emphasized that Pakistan could save ‘millions of lives' by helping American in Afghanistan to extricate from a festering war that the US has never been able to win. "He deliberately penetrated to wipe Afghanistan off from the world map but he is not going towards that route and neither sees it possible now". This statement has made outrage in the Taliban as well as in the Afghan population. I believe that the reason Trump voiced such inimical statement is due to its hegemony in the world. The US knows that it cannot win the war, therefore, just to let the world know of its capabilities, he oscillated such remarks of about the never-ending war. History is the guide, as President Nixon could not win the war in Vietnam in the 70s, so he decided to end the war in the face of the world while behind the scenes, he deleteriously bombed the civilians in Vietnam. This was done to show the US hegemony in the world and capabilities. In other words, one is snubbed to bow against the unbeatable.
In the current situation, Pakistan has made incessant efforts between the US and the Taliban to facilitate the peace negotiations which have been duly acknowledged by America. But the major question is whether Pakistan can meet American expectations. Imran Khan hopes that the Taliban will talk to Kabul government after Imran's return as he will persuade them by taking the initiative. This would be the utmost success of Pakistan to end the war of terror. Pakistan will also get benefit from this rancor.
Regional security is the most important concern for Pakistan, which was taken up by the military during the summit. Since China has invested in Pakistan and there is a dire need of peace in South Asia. Currently, Pakistan is facing threats from eastern and western borders. India, on the eastern side of Pakistan, is causing hamper for Pakistan. Trump's voice about Kashmir issue indicate his administration's changing stance over a lingering problem in South Asia. His offer for mediation in the dispute seemed more of a spontaneous than a serious proposition. Pakistan has always supported the third-party arbitration but India denies it.
Since Indian neglected the trump’s remarks about the Kashmir issue by making hue and cry. But one would like to know what the Indian prime minister really told the US president in their meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka last month. There must be some discussion about the bone of contention between Pakistan-Indian. For the solution of the decades old problem, dialogue must be resumed. Yet, as per the Trump’s comments, Indian wishes for arbitration through multilateralism, Trump should play his role now. Otherwise, this mantra we have been hearing for a long time from the side of America.
It was extremely important for Imran khan to solve the Kashmir issue, which has made the region nuclear flashpoint, with his Indian counterpart. Attempts should be made on both sides because it is in the interest of both the countries. It is imperative to realize for the US that Afghan peace is also linked to the lowering of tensions between Pakistan and India. Imran certainly knows that Kashmir dispute might not be able to be resolved, but the US can bring peace to the subcontinent.
Trade and economic relations were also discussed during the summit. President Trump is delighted to expand investment in Pakistan and certainly, there are more opportunities to be explored. Imran also purported to Pakistani-Americans to invest more in Pakistan and Pakistan would likely to come out of crisis soon.
Moreover, Pakistan needs US help to stave off the looming threat of being blacklisted by the Paris-based terror-financing watchdog FAFT. Since Pakistan missed its May deadline, one which required the country to keep terror financing and money laundering in check. Now Pakistan is required to swiftly implement its action plan by October this year. However, the possibility of blacklisting of Pakistan could cause isolation in the international community. Such implications would be disastrous for Pakistan's fragile economy. US support is critical to prevent such action.
Indeed, the prime minister’s trip to Washington has helped thaw Pakistan’s relation with the US. But there have also been some sore points during the trip that could have been avoided. Undoubtedly., the huge rally of Pakistani Americans in Washington was a testimony of support for Imran khan. However, his speech about threating the opposition leader does not ensemble him of being a leader. It seems that he cannot overcome his container habit. First, the leader cannot talk about domestic political differences outside the country. Unfortunately, khan has never been able to rise above petty politics. What he does not understand that no foreign policy can be successful without political stability at home.
Since the relationship between Pakistan and the US in the past has been sporadic, which means this could be a trap by the US administration to be in a dominant position on Pakistan, to sabotage CPEC. This is also a stir that US has succeeded in her mission.