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Pakistan’s Foreign Policy Under Imran Khan’s Leadership

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September 3, 2020
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September 3, 2020

Pakistan's international position has improved multi-folds in the last 2 years under PM Imran Khan's leadership. This was a much-needed step to improve peace and prosperity in the area but like everything this govt. has done, this too did not come easy.

The govt. inherited the current account deficit of $20B which has been reduced to $3B. The borrowing from the State Bank stood at PKR 6T when PTI came to power, but it has been brought down to ZERO.


Through carefully curated international relations.

The first challenge was inflation. State Bank warned it could double & go up to 7.5%. Where PM Imran Khan avoided going to the IMF, he still wanted to reduce the size of any bailout by appealing to allies for bilateral financial support & saving us from bankruptcy.

Pakistan obtained $4.6B as deposits & commercial loans from China, $3B as deposits & $3.2B oil facility on deferred payments from Saudi Arabia, $3B commitment from UAE, and $3B commitment from Qatar. This brings the total to $15.8B which helped us in front of the IMF.

In 2018, PM Imran Khan visited China thrice. On his first visit, he met President Xi Jinping and other dignitaries. They signed 15 MoUs for the transfer of sentenced persons, poverty reduction, agriculture, socio-economic development, & combating illicit drug traffic.

In his second visit, PM Imran Khan appreciated the way China lifted over 700M people out of poverty in just 3 decades at the 2nd Belt & Road Forum. The 2nd Phase of the Pakistan-China Free Trade Agreement was also signed and the $60B CPEC project was further strengthened.

During the third visit, President Xi Jinping reaffirmed China's support on all issues of Pakistan’s core national interest including Kashmir. He also stressed on helping with national & regional economic dev. processes & appreciated Pakistan's effort in combatting terrorism.

The visit from Britain's Prince William and his wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, for the first time in over a decade, was crucial in boosting ties between the countries and promoting peace, tourism and culture.

In 2019, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited Pakistan with investments worth more than $20B in the areas of petrochemicals, energy, minerals, sports etc. PM Imran Khan also offered Islamabad for Saudi and Iranian leaders to meet and settle their differences.

More agreements with Saudi Arabia include plans to build an oil refinery & petrochemical complex in Gwadar, possible acquisition of two liquified natural gas-powered power plants, and up to $4B in alternative energy and mining deals. All developments hint towards prosperity.

PM Imran Khan also openly requested that Pakistani pilgrims be allowed to undergo immigration on departure rather than on arrival for Hajj, facilitation of 2.5M Pakistanis who resided and worked there, and the release of over 3,000 Pakistani prisoners in Saudi jails.

Saudi Arabia not only granted $9.6B payment holiday in an effort to 'strengthen Pakistan’s balance of payments position', but also released 2,080 prisoners by 2020.

Crown Prince MBS called himself the 'ambassador of Pakistan', highlighting the friendship b/w the nations.

UAE extended a support package to Pakistan to help with its balance of payments. This includes about $3.2B each of oil supplies on deferred payments from the UAE and Saudi Arabia and about $1.5B trade finance from the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC).

Pakistan's diplomacy has positioned Pakistan stronger than ever on the international front gaining economic-political benefits. Our cordial relations with the US are built on the stance that we'll not participate in any war but are willing to facilitate any peace talks.

The US has also appreciated Pakistan's role in the ongoing negotiations between the Taliban and the US. Without there being peace in Afghanistan, there can't be progress in the region, and this has been the premise of PM Imran Khan's stance since the first day.

President Donald Trump offered to mediate b/w Pakistan and India on the Kashmir issue ahead of the 74th session of the UNGA. Efforts of Shah Mahmood Qureshi and then ambassador Maleeha Lodhi got the issue of Kashmir heard in the Security Council for the first time in 50 years.

PM Imran Khan met President Donald Trump on the side-lines of WEF, where he reiterated his offer to mediate the Kashmir dispute. However, India's position has been that it doesn't accept third party intervention & it has Kashmir under lockdown for the last 11 months.

PM Imran Khan extended an open invitation for peace talks with India. He said I'll extend both arms if India extends one. This showed his inclusive approach to improve the region from the very start. He feels the suffering & injustice in Kashmir and wants to settle it.

The opening of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor was a hallmark in promoting peace in the region. Dr. Manmohan Singh, Navjot Sidhu and over 12,000 Sikh pilgrims attended the ceremony. PM Imran Khan has ensured visa-free entry for all pilgrims.

Strategic relations between Pakistan & Malaysia encapsulate trade in palm oil, agricultural products, food retail, halal products, automotive parts, energy, science and technology, and more. Mahathir bin Mohamad & Imran Khan also took a stance on strengthening the Islamic world.

Turkey gave a strong message of brotherhood at the Joint Session of the National Assembly, where it showed full support to Pakistan on the issue of Kashmir.

'Our friendship is not based on vested interests but in love.' - Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President Turkey

In a recent development, Pakistan will send doctors, nurses & paramedics to Kuwait under a new health agreement. The team is expected to include 100 doctors, 500 nurses and other health workers who would assist Kuwait’s health department deal with the pandemic COVID-19.

After becoming the PM, Imran Khan addressed the world for the first time at the WEF. He pushed for peace in the region, staying away from military conflict and good governance. This is where he let the world know of his vision to turn Pakistan into a welfare state.

At the SCO Summit Kyrgyzstan, the PM talked about catalysing development, region-wide connectivity initiatives, setting up SCO Culture & Tourism Corridors, prioritizing women and youth empowerment among other things. All of which reflects his futuristic vision.

During COVID, China has generously supported with $4M in cash donations, 390 ventilators, 330,000 testing kits, 830,000 N95 masks, 5.8 million surgical masks, 42,000 protective suits, & the 250-bed Isolation Hospital and Infections Treatment Centre in Islamabad.

The USA announced in May to contribute $5M to support the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme and $2.5M therapeutic food program for children diagnosed with acute malnutrition. They have also committed nearly $15M in new funding.

PM Imran Khan's effort is to not only strengthen the Pakistani people but to also make Pakistan a fort for the Muslim Ummah. His empathy and resilience are symbolic of a true Muslim leader. His vision will lead us to a future that's prosperous for all.

'This is my vision - all the policies which we make are towards that end - to make Pakistan into a humane country where the govt. takes responsibility for the weaker sections of society.' - PM Imran Khan

With a vision like this, we're in safe hands.

Pakistan Zindabad!