Imran Khan’s foreign policy | Pakistan Today

Imran Khan’s foreign policy

  • Difficult decisions ahead

Prime Minister Imran Khan and Secretary of State Pompeo  started off on the wrong foot in their first  interaction leading to certain claims by one side and  contradictions by the other. The State Department said  Pompeo wanted  Pakistan to take decisive action against all terrorists operating in the country.  Pakistan FO rejected the statement in strong words  calling it “factually incorrect.”  This sets the tone for the talks between the two sides when   Imran Khan meets  Pompeo early next month.  The incident indicates that  both sides will have to  work hard to be able to  forge a productive working relationship with each other.

Imran Khan told the Foreign Office that he does not want confrontation with any country and that  there would be no compromise on national interests. What national interests are should however be defined only by the Parliament.  One expects  the PTI government to  take significant steps  towards  improving Pakistan’s relations with the neighbouring countries. It remains to be seen  if the new PM  is able to overcome resistance  from powerful circles to improvement of relations with certain neighbours.

Over the years Khan has shown a remarkable flexibility sometime marked by about turns. From opposing to fight  “America’s war” in exchange for aid,  to “balanced relationship” with the US  is just  one example.  He tweeted on Tuesday that “Pakistan and India must dialogue and resolve their conflicts including  Kashmir… and start trading”. With his advocacy of open borders with Afghanistan, many across the western border consider Khan as a man who can bring the two countries together. The PM has also offered mediation between Saudi Arabia in Iran.

During the next one hundred days it will become clear  how far  Imran Khan is able to assert  himself.  Besides the US Secretary of State,  foreign ministers of China, Iran and Japan are scheduled to visit Islamabad next month. This is an indication of the rise of a multipolar world with new opportunities  and challenges for Pakistan.  A groundbreaking improvement in relations  with neighbours would reduce hostility in the region which benefits Pakistan.  Keeping  the animosity alive would be a setback for Pakistan and  would show that Imran Khan is  a part of the status quo.