- Diplomatic offensive ends in smoke
Finding it impossible to fulfill promises like five million houses and ten million jobs even if he was to complete his full five-year tenure, Prime Minister Imran Khan is desperately looking for something that he can present to the nation as a big achievement. Having exhausted all options without being able to relieve the Kashmiris’ sufferings, he wants now to bring about reconciliation between Iran and Saudi Arabia on the one hsnd, and Iran and the USA on the other. It is ironic that the mission reconciliation is being undertaken by a PM who refuses to maintain working relations with his political competitors at home.
Mr Khan’s latest venture as international facilitator has received a setback right at the start. Saudi media reporting Mr Khan’s talks with the King and the Crown Prince, made no mention of the main issue the PM had come to discuss. As reported by Saudi daily Al-Arabiya the two sides reviewed strong ties between the two brotherly countries and fields of joint cooperation as well as ways of enhancing them. The paper then mentioned that they also discussed the latest developments in the region and international arenas and efforts exerted towards them. There was no recognition of Khan’s role as a facilitator between the Saudi government and the Iranian administration. There was also no joint press conference. As opposed to this, the Iranian leadership had welcomed Pakistan’s efforts aimed at defusing the tensions in the region also accepting the facilitation by Pakistan’s PM at a joint press conference aired on the television and covered by world media. So Mr Khan’s idea of hosting Saudi-Iran talks in Pakistan was simply blue sky
Undeterred by the Saudi snub, Mr Khan now seeks to facilitate bonhomie between the USA and Iran to revive the Iran nuclear deal. He claims President Trump has assigned him the mission. It is time Mr Khan abandons his wild goose chase and concentrates on the grave challenges that the country faces that include poverty, illiteracy, water shortages, rising population, weak national institutions, and an increasingly frustrated opposition that is likely to be on the roads again even if the JUI(F)’s Azadi March comes to naught.