- The way to cover up shortcomings
To develop mutual confidence and seek much-needed cooperation from Iran, it was sensible on the part of the PM to admit that “Iran has suffered from terrorism [perpetrated] by groups operating from Pakistan”. He is however more fortunate than Nawaz Sharif, who had to face serious consequences after the Dawn Leaks which essentially conveyed a similar message. Mr Khan must confess now that it was opportunistic on his part when he had described the Dawn Leaks as a conspiracy against the armed forces and a move to weaken Pakistan.
Some might agree with PML(N) MNA Khurram Dastgir that the statement was made at the wrong place and at the wrong time. Others could argue that Iran needed to be assured of Pakistan’s sincerity to seek cooperation against the terrorists launching attacks inside Pakistan from hideouts in Iran. In inter-state relations there are no unilateral favours and for every quid, there is a quo. The confession helped ease tension and led to an agreement to form a rapid reaction force to be deployed on the shared border as part of efforts to deal with the growing threat of terrorism.
Imran Khan has little knowledge of diplomacy, which could be dangerous for the country. In the last three months he made at least three foreign policy howlers. In March he advised Afghanistan to form an interim government to facilitate the peace talks. This was interpreted by the Afghan government as interference in Afghanistan’s internal affairs and led to the withdrawal of the Afghan ambassador from Islamabad.
In April Imran Khan issued a statement saying Modi’s victory in the Indian elections would provide a better chance of peace talks between the neighbouring countries leading to some kind of settlement on Kashmir. This must have injured the feelings of Kashmiris who daily face Indian atrocities and have been told by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he would repeal Kashmir’s special status. Speaking in Tehran on Monday, Imran mixed up France with Japan while giving an example of how the two countries set up joint industries in the common border region. Imran Khan had condemned Nawaz Sharif for reading from prepared texts. It’s time he too followed the practice.