Khan’s Flattery Moves Trump but will Love with US last?

During his recent trip to Washington DC, PM Khan has used flattery and praise to appeal to US President Donald Trump in the hope that US-Pakistan relations will be mended and financial and security assistance restored to Pakistan. Pakistan’s security establishment has also offered to help the US in Afghanistan if military aid is restored, Pakistan is removed from FATF and some economic assistance provided.

Washington: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks during a meeting with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House, Monday, July 22, 2019, in Washington. AP/PTI Photo(AP7_22_2019_000220B)

Khan may claim that his Naya Pakistan is better than Purana Pakistan, but in reality, as well-known author and columnist Mohammad Hanif wrote, the country is more like a dictatorship with a civilian garb. “Imran Khan campaigned to become prime minister on the promise that he would create a “new Pakistan.” The country was going to be like the state of Medina that the Prophet Muhammad founded — a welfare state — Khan promised. Less than a year after coming to power, he has delivered a new Pakistan, and it looks like a struggling dictatorship.”

According to Ali Salman Alvi “It was more like a job interview than a state visit by the premier of a ‘sovereign country’ to the United States. When Imran Khan, Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, met President Donald Trump recently, he looked nothing short of a candidate desperately searching for a job, when no alternative vacancy is available, underqualified for other positions, unable to make ends meet by using the available bank balance.”

According to Pashtun leader and analyst Afrasiab Khattak, Pakistan should be wary of praise from the Trump administration as “US & other big powers have always favored martial law as it offered ‘one window operation ‘ in pursuit of their objectives. Democracy is messy, noisy & difficult. But what is good for Pakistan? As a new state only federal democratic system can hold it together. Don’t forget 1971.”

As Max Boot wrote in Washington Post the recent Trump-Khan summit is “a cover for Trump to conclude a peace deal that would result in a U.S. pullout — and a likely Taliban takeover in Kabul. This helps to explain Trump’s transparently insincere flattery of Pakistan. As he said, “We’re working with Pakistan and others to extricate ourselves.” So it was that last week Trump crowed: “After a ten year search, the so-called ‘mastermind’ of the Mumbai Terror attacks has been arrested in Pakistan. Great pressure has been exerted over the last two years to find him!” In fact, Hafiz Mohammad Saeed has been living in plain sight and has been arrested — and released — multiple times. This is part of the charade that Islamabad plays: It both sponsors and fights terrorism, depending on whatever is most advantageous at that moment.”

On New Year’s Day 2018, President Trump had “called out Pakistan last year when he tweeted: “The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools.” Yet when he met Khan Trump claimed, “Pakistan never lies,” thereby confirming Pakistan’s estimation of our leaders.”

According to Boot, “Why would Trump reverse himself so completely and unconvincingly? Trump always wants to tell whomever he is talking to whatever that person wants to hear. Trump is incapable of seeing the big picture and unwilling to listen to advisers who do. He is focused on a pullout from Afghanistan, and he is convinced that if he flatters Pakistan, it will make it possible for the United States to exit “with honor,” as Richard M. Nixon said of the Vietnam War. U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad is aiming to conclude peace talks by September, even though the Taliban refuses to lay down its arms or even talk directly with representatives of the Afghan government. Pakistan has an interest in facilitating an American exit from Afghanistan: This would allow its proxies, the Taliban and the Haqqani Network, to take over. But as usual, Trump has no idea he’s being played. The sucker thinks he’s the con man.”

In the end as author and commentator Mr Husain Haqqani has written “A very happy Pakistan PM Imran Khan must remember Trump’s affections are as fickle as his. Trump praised Imran Khan tactically and called Pakistan a ‘big country’. He could someday turn around and remember that India is even bigger.”

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