Pak Prime Minister Imran Khan at WEF Davos – A Review
Propped up due to importance felt by the US of Pak in Afghan peace, PM Khan attempted to gain support for the economy and trade and third-party mediation with India by President Trump
Prime Minister Imran Khan attended the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, from 21 to January 23 2020. The highlights of the visit as per the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan were Prime Minister’s “Keynote Address” and the “Pakistan Strategy Dialogue” with CEOs and corporate leaders.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan used the forum in Davos for promoting Pakistan’s economic recovery and revival under his government and de-escalation of tensions with India. On the latter he urged the international powers, including the United Nations and the United States, to help de-escalate tensions with India, saying they must act to prevent the two nuclear-armed countries from reaching a point of no return.
Khan claimed that India might attempt to raise tensions at the border in order to divert attention from domestic protests against the new citizenship law and the Kashmir issue.
Khan also demanded that the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) be allowed along the Line of Control, the paper said.
India maintains that the UNMOGIP, established in January 1949, has outlived its utility and is irrelevant after the Simla Agreement and the consequent establishment of the LoC. Khan is also likely to have sought US mediation in Kashmir as well as with India during his meeting with the US President Donald Trump.
Here is review of various facets of the PM Khan’s visit to Davos-
On Khan Trump Meet
Prime Minister Imran Khan met President Donald J. Trump in Davos on January 21 2020 as the very first engagement of Mr Khan on arrival in Davos for the World Economic Forum (WEF).
Apart from a road map for strengthening of bilateral relationship particularly with reference to bilateral trade and investments, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan stated that the situation in Jammu & Kashmir was also discussed this being a key agenda point for Mr Imran Khan.
Prime Minister Khan who has been looking for third party intervention of the dispute of Jammu and Kashmir with India reiterated the need for a US role
The Ministry press release states that, “President Trump reiterated his willingness to work on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute and help ease tension between Pakistan and India”.
However the White House transcript of the Press Meet of Mr Khan and Trump does not indicate that Mr Trump was willing to work as an intermediary between Islamabad and Delhi, given the understanding that India did not accept third party mediation.
Afghan peace and reconciliation process and evolving situation in the Middle East with reference to Pakistan’s efforts for de-escalation in the region was also discussed while Mr Khan emphasized maximum restraint and diplomacy.
Prime Minister Imran Khan also met Ivanka Trump, Senior White House Adviser and daughter of US President Donald Trump, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum 2020. Ivanka had shown keen interest in launching various programmes for the welfare of women in Pakistan. It is not clear what transpired in the meeting but this would have added to deepening of relations between Mr Khan and Mr Trump.
On Jammu and Kashmir & Relations with India
Imran Khan claimed that India was “trying to change the demography of Kashmir, which is a war crime according to the Geneva Convention”, he said. “Our government is busy with rehabilitation work in the border areas. “The UN should send its observers to the Line of Control.”
Another point on relationship with India he stressed that, “The moment Pakistan and India’s relationship becomes normal and trade starts between the two countries.”
“You cannot have two nuclear-armed countries even contemplating a conflict,” he said in an interaction during his WEF enragements.
On the Economy
On the economy Mr Khan agreed that the reforms undertaken were hurting the people “People are hurting. We have gone through this very tough period,” he said claiming that the economy has now been stabilised. “This year we are looking towards economic growth.” Blaming Pakistan’s partnerships in the past for instability and rise of terrorism in the country Prime Minister Khan claimed that, “From now onwards, Pakistan will only partner with another country in peace. We will not become part of any other conflict.”
Mr Khan attempted to give all the right vibes on the economy stating, “We are heading in the right direction, though I have to say, we have to do a lot of hard work,” he said in his speech. “This year now, the focus is on increasing investment and providing employment to more people.”
Khan claimed that the present civil-military relationship was harmonious. “The reason why the previous clashes used to take place was that […] the civilian leadership always wanted to control the military because they were scared [and] vulnerable because the military always knew the extent of corruption that was being done. “My foreign policy which I am following is completely supported by all institutions including the military simply because they believe that we are in the right direction,” the prime minister added as per the Dawn News.
From the Pakistan Prime Minister’s point of view the visit could be marked as a success.