The optics from the Prime Minister’s visit to the US reflect that both the countries seek rapprochement in their bumpy bilateral relations. Trump’s offer to mediate the Kashmir dispute, if materialized, can be a landmark in the future; owing to his belief that he can do everything in this world.

Apart from other gains from the visit, personal chemistry of both the leaders can guide the future relations of Pakistan and the US. Both Imran Khan and Donald Trump are considered as unconventional leaders. They both hate bureaucratic stuff and script reading. Trump is more like an instinctive man. His personal relations with other leaders can override any bureaucratic decision. His relations with North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un is a case in point.

It is imperative for Prime Minister Imran Khan to walk the talk in order to further develop this chemistry with Donald Trump. Endgame in Afghanistan and counter-terrorism strategies are the point of convergence in the agenda of US and Pakistan. For mending ties with the US, saving country from the economic meltdown, and for a stable region; the government must take holistic measures and bold decisions in the right direction. Good bilateral relations with the US will help Pakistan in its dealings with IMF, FATF and other multilateral forums as well.

“Do more mantra” and making Pakistan scapegoat of failure in Afghanistan did not work in the past. Therefore, trust-building measures are the need of the hour. This is how we can start a new era of genuine “bilateral” relationship beyond the Afghan prism based on mutual benefit and trust. It is time to couple our traditional security and military-based relations with economic and trade prospects. Conventional “trilateral”(including Afghanistan) relationship did not bode well for both countries due to strategic priorities, lack of trust, and myopic policy-makers. Inclusive instead of exclusive foreign policy is the order of the day in the 21st century. It is time for Pakistan to move forward!

AUN RAZA MAGSI,

Bhakkar.