5 reasons why Imran Khan's visit to the United States was a victory for Pakistan



In Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan's visit to the United States has already been described as a resounding success. The visit, which a few months ago was not even a possibility, ended up giving a much-needed boost to Pakistan's diplomacy.

For Islamabad, there are five main conclusions of Khan's visit to the United States.

First, there has been a convergence of interests between Islamabad and Washington on the Afghanistan policy of both countries. Mainly, the focus of Khan's meeting with President Trump remained in Afghanistan. In recent months, the United States has more appreciated Pakistan's role at the higher levels. This essentially shows that Trump's close associates and the team working in Afghanistan are satisfied with Pakistan's recent efforts. It is likely that after Khan's visit, Pakistan will position itself as a central player in the ongoing negotiations between the Taliban and the United States.

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Second, on the issue of terrorism there was no serious criticism of Pakistan. It is interesting to note that the issue of terrorism did not even become an important topic of conversation in official meetings between military and civil leaders. Khan during his conversations in various forums made it clear that the country's policy regarding the issue of terrorism had changed radically. He also stressed that there is a civil-military agreement in Pakistan that "Pakistan is interested in not allowing militias" within the country. So far, Washington seems to support Pakistan's position on terrorism.

Third, an unexpected achievement that Islamabad was able to extract from Trump was the latter's discussion about the Kashmir crisis and the willingness to mediate between India and Pakistan. What made the situation worse for New Delhi was Trump's reference to a conversation with the Prime Minister of India, Modi, where he allegedly requested mediation from the United States to solve the Kashmir problem. However, Trump's statement was rejected by India in a matter of hours, and New Delhi said he does not accept the intervention of third parties on the issue of Kashmir. While Modi is unlikely to mention the idea of ​​a third party intervention, Islamabad has been able to extract a major diplomatic coup with Trump and Khan's conversation on the subject.

Fourth, the visit has offered a much-needed boost to bilateral security cooperation and military relations. Last year, Trump suspended military training programs for Pakistan. They are likely to be reinstated in the coming weeks. At one time during President Trump's meeting with Khan, the former mentioned that security assistance for Pakistan may return depending on what both countries achieve with respect to Afghanistan. In addition, a few days ago, General Mark Milley, who has been nominated as president of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that "the interests of the United States will be better served if the country maintains strong military ties with Pakistan." Trump may be able to resume Pakistan's military training programs and exchanges that were suspended last year after both countries developed serious differences on the issue of Afghanistan.

Finally, another important achievement for Pakistan is that Khan got along very well with Trump on a personal level. This is very important when it comes to the bilateral relationship between Islamabad and Washington. In addition, Khan's recent meeting with Trump will likely establish a direct line of communication between the White House and Khan's office, avoiding bureaucracy on both sides. Essentially, this will help in terms of avoiding the hiccups that usually occur between the two countries when there is no direct communication line. Trump's office is expected to keep in touch with Khan regarding the progress of the Afghan peace process. Islamabad would like to take this opportunity to solve other problems at the bilateral level.

Above all, Khan's visit has given Pakistan's diplomacy an important public relations boost in Washington, which Islamabad intends to take full advantage of. While it is too early to predict the nature of the long-term relations of Pakistan and the United States, for the immediate period, Pakistan has won a great victory.

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