Under Khan, will any Progress be Made in Improving Relations with India?
0 comments | by Munr Kazmir
Imran Khan has not officially been sworn in as the new prime minister of Pakistan but he is already making a major impact. There have been longstanding tensions between Pakistan and India, which was one of the biggest issues the incoming prime minister will be tasked with handling. And he took a major step in doing so a few days ago. Khan reached out to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi after Modi congratulated Khan on his victory. The India Express had all the details of the conversation and they seemed to be of a very positive nature: “Sources said that the phone conversation between Modi and Khan took place, though the duration of the call was not revealed. They recalled their meeting in December 2015 and conversation from that time and hoped to pick up the thread from there, a top source told The Indian Express. ‘[The] Prime Minister expressed hope that democracy will take deeper roots in Pakistan,’ said an official statement by the Ministry of External Affairs, indicating India’s support for the democratic process in Pakistan, where political parties have expressed concerns over its fairness. Modi, according to the MEA statement, also ‘reiterated his vision of peace and development in the entire neighbourhood’ — which is in line with his government’s stated objective of ‘neighbourhood first policy’ and ‘sabka saath sabka vikas’ in the South Asian context.” Make no mistake, this is a terrific development for India and Pakistan. And thankfully for Khan, as he continues to navigate his way through the process of trying to improve relations with India, he has Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi by his side. Elahi has the experience necessary to be a major asset to the Khan government. Elahi is a former Chief Minister of Punjab and deputy Prime Minister of Pakistan whose party just re-elected to the National Assembly. Not only does he have great relationships with other assembly members, he has longstanding relations with diplomats from other countries as well. I have personally spoken to diplomats in the United States, Europe, and Islamabad, and have been assured that they welcome the chance to work with Elahi. This will be an enormous asset to the Khan government and will offer the opportunity for both countries to ease tensions and expand economic possibilities for both countries in the form of increased mutual investment, trade, and new jobs. Khan has already taken his first step in this direction by having a positive conversation with Modi, and with both Elahi and General Bajwa by his side, there is no doubt the possibilities for great results are endless. It has never been more obvious to me that the Pakistani people made the right choice with Khan. Hopefully this is just the beginning of many years of peace and prosperity to come for both Pakistan and India.