In statecraft, every challenge is an opportunity; bigger the challenge, more fleeting the opportunity. Leaders and nations that seize the moment have much to gain. Lesser ones wither like the sands in time. Right now the challenges and fleeting opportunities for Pakistan are many and Prime Minister Imran Khan has no option but to ‘to be up to the tasks’. He must stand tall with his feet firmly on ground. He has support of Pakistani people, closest strategic allies and all neighbours less India. 

Though most challenges are systemic in nature (that need time), Imran Khan and Pakistan can stand to beat the odds by exploiting fleeting opportunities that warrant good leadership, inspirational direction and social cohesion. 

His biggest advantage is his untested nature. Since he is unknown, unconventional and unpredictable, his detractors whether local or international will always remain in awe. It is time he etches his name permanently as a national and global leader. The world has a lot to learn from his humility and devotion to human welfare. In Realpolitik world dominated by hounds, such leaders are the rare ‘messiahs of peace’. 

Beware! Such opportunities are not solely a game of chance. Idiosyncratic elements like leadership, public emotions, national character and morale are force multipliers that fill the short term gaps (poor economics) and galvanise the nation to a higher pedestal of national power and pride. This in turn boosts performance in every sphere of national life to make the country self-reliant and proud. 

In his book, ‘Politics amongst Nations’ Hans Morgenthau mentions national character and morale as a force multiplier of a country. He links it to fleeting opportunities. Within a realist paradigm and balance of power amongst nations, the aggregate ability of one nation to influence or dominate its competitors  depends on the effectiveness of elements like  geography,  natural resources, economics, industrial capacity, technology and  military preparedness followed by intangibles like Ideology, leadership and governance. A country with every resource is wasteful if it lacks leadership, organisational abilities, good governance and motivated people. 

‘The Rise and Fall of Great Powers’ by Paul Kennedy is a concise documentation explaining why nations with varying degrees of tangible potentials and fluctuations in idiosyncratic factors rise to prominence or decay into oblivion. At the core is the variation in leadership, human and systems response to challenges. 

In recent history, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was one leader who seized his opportunity to unite the Muslim World and Nuclearise Pakistan. The nation and diaspora rallied to his call. But he could not persist. He changed his political philosophy and tampered with the ballot to affect his own downfall. So the lesson learnt from Paul Kennedy’s thesis and our own example is that leaders have to be persistent and honour the ballot. 

Though Pakistan has potential in geography, untapped resources, strong armed forces and a nuclear capability, the aggregate through various gradations is impeded through the idiosyncratic nature of political leadership and bad governance rendering people vulnerable to disruptive dynamics. But amazingly the nation rallies and beats the odds whenever Pakistan faces a challenge. 

With reference to fleeting opportunities, Pakistan’s challenges are situational. They stem from the peculiar nature of regional and international situation. Pakistan’s pivotal position in the region is crucial to international equilibrium. Though many view it as a curse and impediment to development, the nation must view it as an opportunity that must be seized, exploited and used to strengthen the country in all aspects. This is only possible when policy planners have worked out Pakistan’s power potential and its realisation (realised national power) on a time continuum. It is only then that true synergy can be achieved. 

The first fleeting opportunity is Kashmir. 

Pakistan has to work around the crises through the UNSC Resolutions, international law, the constitution of India and judgments of the Indian and IHK courts. In this relentless effort, it will find many sympathisers within the Indian political parties, activists, opinion makers and judiciary. The sole purpose is limited to turning back Article 370 and negotiating UNSC resolutions. 

Prime Minister Imran Khan and his nation will be pitched directly against Indian Prime Minister Modi, his international supporters (President Trump) and Indian diaspora and supporters at Houston on 22 September and United Nations. Hosted by Sang Parivar in background, the real purpose is to propel the Saffron Poster Boy as a world leader and messenger of peace. The knighthood will be a serious perversity of human values and justice. 

The move to declare Modi as a prophet of peace and human dignity must be preempted and halted in tracks. This implies synergising Pakistani diaspora and supporters in USA. Non Pakistani social activists, human rights organisations, media people at large have to be taken on board through themes that value human dignity and right of self-determination. It must target fascism, religious extremism and the hidden ghost of Saffron Philosophy. Pakistan’s counter strategy must be supported by lobbyists in USA, congressmen, senators, Sikhs and Indian dissidents. The genie of extremism must be halted in tracks. The same should be repeated outside United Nations when Prime Minister Modi addresses the UNDGA. 

The second fleeting opportunity is meeting with President Trump on 23 September 2019.

President Trump would be fresh after his rendezvous with Prime Mister Modi and desecration of Martin Luther King. Prime Minster Imran Khan’s meeting will be crucial in three aspects.

First is the ‘dead peace talks’ with Afghan Taliban. Pakistan will be blamed for duplicity in Afghanistan and  using non state actors for end of policy (terrorism). Prime Minister Imran Khan must reassert that US hostility towards Afghan Taliban is built on a fiction of aiding and abetting 9/11. US policy in Afghanistan must be liberated from a faulty US perspective. Peace process must include all Afghan neighbors and international actors (P5). There should be no space for India.

Secondly President Trump will use the terrorism narrative and blame Pakistan for and destabilising the region (India and IHK). Prime Minister Imran Khan must assert that the distance of ideological divide with India has increased manifold due to saffronisation of India which at its core is a racist, fascist and intolerant ideology. He must also assert that Sang Parivar is spreading this hate internationally through RSS, Shiv Sena, Vishva Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal offices in USA. Pakistan has the legitimate right to support the democratic right of self-determination for Kashmiris through all means. 

His last call will be West Asia with reference to Iran and Arab Kingdoms. Pakistan must offer its offices to reduce Saudi-Iran hostilities but must underline that OIC backed by P5 should be the best forum to discuss intra Muslim dialogue. 

The third fleeting opportunity will be Prime Minister Imran Khan’s address to UNGA.

Prime Minster Imran Khan’s speech at UNGA must be forceful supported by legal arguments and human rights violations. His thrust must include RSS of which Prime Minister Modi is life time member, Shiv Sena, Vishva Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal. He must remind that RSS was banned by UK, thrice by Indian government and many human rights organisations.

By the end of this tour, Pakistan will be able to see all cards on the table. It will be black and white; no grey.  Pakistan will then be able to make correct choices of its regional and international friends, allies and foes. This is where the onerous task of rebuilding Pakistan should begin with support of allies with China at the core.