WORLD Pakistan's Imran Khan to face serious internal, external challenges


Pakistan's Imran Khan to face serious internal, external challenges

By Muhammad Tahir | Xinhua

22:38, July 29, 2018

Imran Khan.jpg

Photo: VCG

Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI), or Movement for Justice, said its chief Imran Khan will take oath as prime minister before August 14 as the party has emerged as the single largest party in the July 25 elections for the National Assembly, the lower house of the country's parliament.

Pakistan celebrates its independence from British colonial rule on August 14.

Imran Khan, in his victory speech on July 26, briefly outlined his plan for internal and foreign policies in line with his election slogan of a "Naya Pakistan" or new Pakistan.

As Imran Khan delivered his address to the nation, almost all opposition parties rejected the election results as "massively rigged" and announced protest in and outside the parliament.

An alliance of the religious parties, the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal or MMA, even demanded fresh polls, which is considered as an unprecedented demand that came just two days after the elections for the lower house as well as for the four provincial assemblies.

The Election Commission of Pakistan rejected the charges while Imran Khan promised probe if the opposition parties provide proofs about the alleged fraud in any constituency in the country. Opposition parties' stance reflects the possible tense environment the new prime minister might face as he will assume the office for the first time.

Experts believed that political stability is a must, which will enable the new government to focus on the economy, foreign investment, reforms, internal security and foreign relations.

"Political instability will have a negative impact on foreign-funded economic projects, security situation, and could hamper foreign investment. So the new government will have to work hard to deal with internal and external challenges," security and political affairs analyst Nazir Said Mohmand told Xinhua.

"Internal strife and political instability will divide the focus of the government and it will not be able to achieve the objectives at regional and international level. There will be no unified front and the world community will also have doubts about the function of the government," Mohmand, a retired army brigadier, said.

About PTI government's policies towards China and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he referred to Imran Khan's victory speech in which he came up with positive statements about relations with China and CPEC.

Imran Khan had announced that his government will strengthen and improve relations with China.

"We want to work towards the success of CPEC. We also want to send teams to learn poverty alleviation from China to lift our most poor who can't even eat two meals a day," he said.

Imran Khan faces a task to bring relations with arch-rival India back on track and to maintain the momentum of efforts to help Afghanistan in peace and reconciliation with Afghanistan.

India suspended bilateral dialogue with Pakistan in April 2016 after an attack on Indian air base in Pathankot in January, which Delhi blamed on Pakistan-based militant Jaish-e-Mohammed group. Pakistan had denied any involvement and offered cooperation in the investigation.

"The leadership of Pakistan and India now need to come to the table to resolve this and end the blame games. We are stuck at square one," Imran Khan said on July 26.

Imran Khan faces another complex issue to improve relations with the United States, which are currently at the lowest ebb.

The United States led a campaign in June to place Pakistan on the grey list by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for "failing to curb anti-terror financing" that could hurt Pakistan's economy as well as its international standing at a time when Imran Khan's government will face serious economic challenges.

The United States suspended military aid to Pakistan after President Donald Trump in his new year tweet, accused Islamabad of being a "liar" and alleged that "They (Pakistan) give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help." Pakistan had angrily reacted to the remarks.

Muhammad Zia-ur-Rehman, a professor at the National Defense University Islamabad, said the next ruling party has to go for a compromise and coalition orientation to run a smooth government.

"For the neighboring countries like Afghanistan, Iran, India and China, they might expect a stable and friendly government to continue a good relationship," Rehman told Xinhua.

"When it comes to foreign policies, it's also very important to maintain good relations with neighboring countries. PTI has been criticizing the foreign policies of the previous government, therefore, this time it will be a challenge for PTI to come up with better, more efficient and effective one," he said.

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