a difference of opinion

Ameen:     Priorities. It’s all about priorities.

Sadiq:     It’s politics. International diplomacy is a part of the political game. Visibility, my friend. I’m sure it’s hard to see what the Prime Minister is achieving bumbling around Europe in his fancy suit, but these things are diplomatic necessities.

Ameen:     Please. Please, don’t use the word necessity to define millions of rupees of tax payer money going into first class tickets around Europe, hotel stays, taxi fares, limousine fares...

Sadiq:     I know it sounds obscene. But this is how you improve your country’s soft image, how you push for billion dollar deals signed for foreign investment, how you lift the international mood pertaining to your region. A courtesy call goes a long way.

Ameen:     Foreign trips, five star hotel stays, michelin starred dinners with diplomats don’t get you investment, Sadiq. The rule of law gets you investment. Sound economic policy gets you investment. Predictability, Security, honesty, transparency gets you investment...

Sadiq:     Sure, that would be ideal. But it just isn’t that simple when it comes to our country. And a diplomatic visit is a good way to judge what the other guys are thinking. A litmus test of moods. You sit down with them, have a chat, have a drink...

Ameen:    Astaghfirullah, Sadiq.

Sadiq:     Don’t get your turban in a twist. I’m just saying, you socialise with the movers and shakers of world politics. And you communicate. It is an art. Certainly one our leaders have never mastered, but it is an art. The news is alight with reports of the Germans eyeing energy investments in Pakistan, for example. Not that I believe in the sincerity of this talk... but it is a mood lifter, for the stock market, for the media. It communicates our relationship with Germany quicker than anything else could. *Snaps fingers* Like this.

Ameen:     I understand your fancy diplomacy talk, Sadiq. But we just don’t have the money for it. I suppose a better argument would be for austerity. If these diplomatic visits are such life and death necessities, how about a bit of downgrading?

Sadiq:     Rich blondes don’t shake hands with you if you’re flying coach, Ameen.

Ameen:     Good thing I won’t ever know.