Mawish Moulvi, Columnist and Political Analyst
When Prime Minister Imran Khan sits down with US President Donald Trump this month, many matters of mutual concern will come under discussion. But as our PM speaks in favor of enhancing Pakistan-USA relations, his body language must say: no more. Imran Khan must take to their table the same stance he has taken before his people; Pakistan will no longer be a pawn in USA’s games.
Last year he said “I would never want to have a relationship where Pakistan is treated like a hired gun — given money to fight someone else’s war” and he must stand by his words to pursue a Pakistan first agenda. This must entail highlighting India’s active meddling in Afghanistan and Balochistan in an attempt to destabilise Pakistan. Peace in the region is a mutually agreed aim and Pakistan can play its role.
However, peace is not just tied to Afghanistan. Iran is also a major player loathed by the USA much to our detriment. Imran Khan must push back against the pressure USA continues to apply hindering our trade with Iran. We are a country that matters strategically and it’s time Donald Trump was told this politely.
Yasmeen Aftab Ali, Lawyer, Academic and Political Analyst
U.S. President Donald Trump will hold his first meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in July this year.
That the meeting comes in the back drop of a time when US is trying to put an end the nearly 18 year-war in neighboring Afghanistan via dialogue with stakeholders particularly Taliban is significant.
Also significant is the fact that US recently declared BLA as a terrorist organisation.
Besides focusing on peace in Afghanistan, other related issues of bilateral ties may be discussed-but nothing earth shattering is expected to take place.
In an interview with ARY PM Khan had expressed his desire to raise the issue of increased military tensions between US and Iran.
However, since there has been no official announcement yet from either side as to the ‘point sheet’ of issues to be discussed by both- one can only wait and see what transpires between the two leaders.
Ambassador M. Alam Brohi
We should not punch the bag more than our weight. We undertake what we can deliver in regard to Taliban. We may not have enough influence to nudge them to a hasty deal. They are in a strong position and would like to secure as much concessions in the deal as possible.
We should not take sides in the US-Iran tension. The Americans may expect Musharraf like plunge in exchange for monetary inducements and relief from Financial Task Force Committee.
We should make our position clear on any role for India in Afghanistan or our bilateral cooperation with China and our moral obligation to Kashmiris. No compromise on these two issues. We want better relation with India willing to talk on all issues. India has to shun its ambition for hegemony in South Asia.
We should try to satisfy Americans about the safety of our nuclear assets and our need to maintain strategic nuclear deterrence in view of the belligerence of India.
We should also press the US leaders for the release of the arrears in refund if coalition support funds. Pakistan has already spent this much amount.
Ahsan Raza, Journalist and Political Analyst
Imran Khan will have a loaded agenda in his meeting with Donald Trump. On the top of the list will be, of course, dialogue with the Taliban, the Pakistan-sponsored talks, being held in Doha. The US is eager to discuss the business and pull out its troops from Afghanistan at the earliest.
The recent military build-up against Iran could be another talking point. On the other hand, Imran Khan would naturally love to discuss the resumption of military aid, and the growing influence of India in the region, thanks to Trump-Modi alliance.
No one can predict the outcome of the meeting given the unpredictable nature of Mr Trump. He may start tweeting about the great, handsome man he has ever met, Imran Khan, or may start criticising him. Let us our keep fingers crossed.