Can Pakistan sell changed narrative to its people?

By The Statesman

Addressing the inaugural Islamabad Security dialogue in mid- March, Pakistan PM Imran Khan stated, “Climate change, food security and economic vulnerability are some of the most challenging impediments to overcoming insecurity across Pakistan. Security of the common citizen is one of the most important issues.” There was a mention of talks with India, however no criticism of Indian forces in Kashmir, which is something that dominates every event in Pakistan.

Imran also spoke about regional connectivity and benefits which Pakistan could provide India. He stated, “Without regional peace and improved trade ties with neighbouring countries, Pakistan cannot capitalise on its geostrategic location.” He mentioned opening doors for linking India to Central Asia. It was Pakistan which blocked these routes, resulting in financial losses to itself.

The opening of Chabahar port with planned linkages to Central Asia was a major challenge, which could make Pakistan’s road connectivity irrelevant in case it continued on a similar path.

Pakistan Army Chief, General Bajwa was not much different when he addressed the gathering the next day. He stated, “we face choices; whether to stay etched in the acrimony and toxicity of the past, continue promoting conflict and get into another vicious cycle of war, disease and destruction; or to move ahead, bring the dividends of our technological and scientific advancements to our people and usher in a new era of peace and prosperity.” He added, “today the leading drivers of change in the world are demography, economy and technology.

However, one issue which remains central to this concept is economic security and cooperation.” He also discussed Indo- Pak talks and creation of a conducive environment by India.

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