On his visit to Sri Lanka to attend the Commonwealth Summit, the Prime minister did a good job of convincing everyone but his electorate that he is fully committed to solving the problems faced by Pakistan. Since his ascension to power, our PM has made more efforts to convince the world that he is the best choice for Pakistan, rather than proving it by the actions of his government in the country itself. His current visit to Sri Lanka was more uneventful than most, with ‘Growth and Equity’ the topic of this year’s summit.  His speech was much like those at the UNGA and the one in England, with quick admissions to the issues facing the country such “as a weak economy‚ poverty‚ acute energy shortages‚ successive natural calamities and rising militancy”. With these ‘insights’ getting more and more frequent, other world leaders must also be getting tired of constantly hearing about the problems without any reference to what is to be done about any of them.

Among others, the PM met the Sri Lankan President and there was the usual impetus to increase trade, in this case, by attempting to double it to 1 billion dollars in the coming years. Nawaz Sharif also offered to invest in Sri Lankan sugar mills through both private and public channels, which was done in response to the Sri Lankan’s offering the same for our troubled industry. In an act of generosity, and to demonstrate his commitment to the cause of the youth, Sharif also donated 100,000 US dollars to the newly set up Commonwealth Youth Council. Even though Pakistan has virtually no foreign reserves left, it’s good that it does not have the begging bowl in its hand for once, and the sum donated, although paltry in size, displays seriousness on our part.

Maybe while he is there, Nawaz Sharif can also take counter-terrorism lessons from our allies of old, since overcoming terrorists is our biggest obstacle at the moment. Given that Sri Lanka has managed to eradicate the plague of non-state actors within their country, with aid from Pakistan it might be added, Nawaz Sharif must carefully assess where his government is falling short and attempt to address those factors. Whether it is a case of the lack of intelligence, failure to target the right areas, or just pure inefficiency, the state needs to pull up its sleeves and get to work.