Prime Minister Imran Khan’s emphatic speech on Wednesday was a statement meant to exude political strength and militaristic confidence. Prime Minister Imran Khan touched on several key issues during his speech in the National Assembly.The most significant among these was the question of Pak-US relations, with the prime minister making it clear that while Pakistan is willing to continue its collaboration and alliance with the US for purposes of peace, it will not be doing so for purposes of conflict. The prime minister pointed out that the US has used Pakistan in Afghanistan for many years, and then blamed Pakistan when its own tactics in that country and in the region failed. In this, he is not incorrect.
While PM Imran has made it clear that Pakistan will no longer be following US directives on the matter of drone attacks and pointed out how much Pakistan has lost in both financial and other terms by doing so in the past, Pakistan would need to devise its own strategy to manage militancy and terrorism and also to deal with future complexities in Afghanistan, with the threat of a new influx of refugees, and also the possibility of a Taliban takeover of the country, leading to new complications inside Pakistan.
Imran slammed the US for bad-mouthing Pakistan instead of praising or acknowledging our sacrifices. He also spoke out against the US drone strike policy, calling it the “darkest period of our history” when a supposedly friendly nation was bombing Pakistan. On this, he noted that by lying about permission given for drone strikes, “We disrespected ourselves, the world did not disrespect us.” However, several analysts have pointed out the irony of the fact that Imran brought up the ‘Taliban Khan’ label that was attached to him for speaking out against US drone strikes, specifically because one of the prominent people who used that label was Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, who was then a member of the PPP. Imran also noted that Pakistan would not play favourites in Afghanistan and would talk to “whoever Afghan people choose”
It is true that anyone who believes Mr Khan’s well-built case would be heard by the US hawks is living in a fool’s paradise. However, letting the world in on our sufferings and shattering the violent stereotype brilliantly weaved to alienate us is just as important. As far as Pakistaniat goes, you won a million hearts, Prime Minister. Of course, the coming days will ascertain whether what went down in parliament was the rant of an angry man or a deep-rooted policy! With all eyes on you, it would be simply foolish to not act upon your thunder.
The prime minister needs to make his policies clear in the House that he leads more often and to involve the opposition in discussions on key issues, as he seems to be attempting at this point. There may be some tough times ahead and the PM has done right in pointing out the errors in the foreign policy from the General Musharraf era, but now is the time to set it right. We need to strike a balance between China and the US and once again siding with one at the cost of annoying the other is neither advisable nor feasible.