Pakistan’s dynamic PM Imran Khan with his ‘Midas Touch’ has started to do wonders to fortunes of both Pakistan and South Asia. Billions of financial aid has started to flow in from Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar while burdening Chinese projects have been cancelled without displeasing Beijing.
Under PM Imran Khan, Pakistan has been at the forefront of driving the peace process in Afghanistan, forcing Donald Trump to seek assistance from Islamabad. The 17-year-old Afghan war is at the fag end and for the first time, both the US and Taliban have admitted that peace process is going well.
Who can forget the masterstroke of Imran Khan where he won the hearts of people around the world by opening the Kartarpur corridor and allowing the Sikh pilgrims to visit their holiest site in Pakistan.
The relations with India, sans a dialogue, are quite stable. A delegation from Pakistan has been permitted by New Delhi to visit the Chenab river basin in Jammu and Kashmir for inspection from January 28 to 31 under the Indus Water Treaty. This step is bound to lay the foundation stone towards long-lasting peace between two nuclear-armed neighbours.
If Imran Khan will go down in history as one of the greatest leaders to have ruled Pakistan, it won’t be because of his political acumen, economic policy or social justice reform. It’s his decisions in the foreign policy space that will be remembered and determine the future for generations to come in Pakistan and around the world.
Critics have long argued that civilian government does not make foreign policy in Pakistan. In 2018, political leadership changed in Pakistan but military leadership has stayed constant and results are evident.
After almost 18 bloody years of conflict in Afghanistan, an inflection point is fast arriving and Pakistan holds all the right cards. The US is ready to leave Afghanistan and Pakistan holds all the leverage, while India looks concerned and cornered.
Meanwhile, the aid from Saudi Arabia and the UAE is permitting Islamabad to strongly negotiate with the IMF. It’s easy to take money from the IMF in return for giving up sovereignty, but now things may turn out to be different.
The real coup that only Imran Khan can deliver is peace with India. A civilian government that enjoys a high level of support from the security establishment is the only power that can negotiate with India and find a permanent solution to the Kashmir dispute which has been lingering South Asia since 1947.
Will Imran Khan go down as one of the greatest leaders of South Asia is yet to be seen, however, he certainly is on way to becoming the greatest leader of Pakistan
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