Pakistan has only one item on the agenda for the United Nations General Assembly session this year – according to the office of the Prime Minister – highlighting the Kashmir issue in front of the international community. Prime Minister Imran Khan will make his speech on the issue on Friday, but he already seems to have laid some important groundwork before the address to world leaders.

From making members of the audience laugh with him for his light-hearted comments regarding Pakistan’s geo-strategic position, to the usual cricketing adages – Prime Minister Imran Khan seems cut from a different cloth compared to other world leaders in this meeting, which is highly positive. His frank discussion on many issues including issues relating to Al-Qaeda and terrorism, might not sit too well at home, but internationally does well to establish that Pakistan is ready to move on previous mistakes made. This might also be why President Trump has taken a liking to Imran Khan, so much so, that he was asked to mediate between Saudi Arabia and Iran over their issues. If Pakistan can provide some sort of solution to that conflict, its reputation in the international community will only improve as a result

Highlighting the Kashmir abuses by the Indian state has also led to finding important allies; Turkey has raised its voice against Indian aggression and Amnesty International has touched upon the issue as well. The Prime Minister, in his briefings with world leaders – as seen in the meeting with the New Zealand Prime Minister – is also raising the issue consistently, and this might well work as a strategy with first world countries that focus on protecting human rights.

His appearance at this year’s UNGA meeting does indeed reflect a change from previous regimes; the Prime Minister’s willingness to discuss the issue of terrorism in conjunction with the lives lost is finally working as a counter to the ‘do more’ mantra that the international community has used against Pakistan at the behest of the US.

In the backdrop, there is the added challenge of an unprecedented level of closeness between President Trump and Indian Prime Minister Modi; with wooing the US key to any efforts to raise the Kashmir issue at international forums, PM Khan has to contend with obvious attempts by the Indian side to let their global standing as a large market to gloss over the rights violations in Kashmir.

And this remains the biggest challenge – because while Imran Khan and our diplomatic team will be raising the Kashmir issue PM Modi will look to use their stance of being the world’s ‘biggest democracy’ to their advantage. The Pakistani diplomatic team has done well so far to counter that narrative, and it is hoped that in the next few days, Imran Khan can continue winning over the international community – as that is the only way to highlight the plight of Kashmiris in front of the world.