Can Imran Khan Balance Different Interests and Priorities?

Can Imran Khan Balance Different Interests and Priorities?
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SHAH KHALID

The international and the Indian media have repeatedly stated that the foreign policy of Pakistan will always be determined by the country’s army. It is true that the military establishment in the country has an important role to play. However, there is a role for civilians to guide the country’s foreign policy.
Whenever a new prime minister takes charge, he always thinks of how much support he will receive and how he will achieve his national objectives. Imran Khan is about to take charge, but given the issues that face Pakistan I believe that her foreign policy will not change. Imran Khan is not an extremist but a nationalist. However, his image has been twisted by the political parties in Pakistan, and in India, too. There is a strong possibility that Imran Khan’s government will bring economic stability to Pakistan, as the youth has supported him and given him his mandate.
Khan has repeatedly said that Pakistan has been used a weapon by the west, especially during the so called “War on Terror”. However, now that he is assuming office, we have to see how he deals with the subject, and how he moves forward with the US. Pakistan has been placed on the FATF grey list, and to get out, the country has to play nice with the US. Khan has not addressed what he plans to do about the militia groups that the US government is keen to get rid of.
Foreign policy is important. If Khan wants to improve the economic stability of the country, even for this he needs to improve on the foreign policy. In Pakistan, the foreign policy has too many stakeholders, i.e. the civil, military and political parties. The fundamental issue when making a foreign policy is that the elected government has to cooperate and make relations with various nations.
Media outlets are now reporting that Khan will change his previous political stances after he takes oath. If Khan continues his relationship with China this will be another signal for the US. And, with or because of this, Washington and New Delhi will continue to stand on one side.
President Mamnoon Hussain, while speaking in a session of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit at Qingdao, remarked that he hopes that the general elections 2018 bring further economic stability to Pakistan. He also said that “Pakistan has witnessed valuable improvements in services and the agricultural sector, adding that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has further strengthened Pakistan’s economy. Speaking about relations with Afghanistan, he remarked: “peace and stability in Afghanistan is our common objective and Pakistan is playing its due role in this regard.” He added that Pakistan and Afghanistan were working on a comprehensive strategy on a bilateral basis to establish peace in Afghanistan, stating that “ceasefire in Afghanistan is a positive sign for regional peace”.
Yesterday, the Voice of America (VOA) , a US based international radio broadcasting service, reported that some media houses had used a word “unpredictable” for Imran Khan. Now, it is his turn to show us what he has planned for Pakistan. The only question is how he will balance Washington, Delhi and Beijing without going against the establishment’s vision for Pakistan’s foreign policy.

The author is a Srinagar-based freelance journalist, having a Diploma in Mass Communication & Journalism. He is presently a final year student at the Department of Electrical Engineering IUST Campus Awantipora and can be reached at: [email protected]

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