Pakistan’s Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan has directed the newly appointed Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to lead Pakistani delegation in the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Choosing Shah Mahmood to represent Pakistan is not a wrong decision. Shah Mahmood is a qualified candidate person to speak for the nation in the UN session. However, if Imran himself is not attending the UNGA session to avoid the waste of public money, Khan needs to be assured that no one in his or her right mind will call it a waste of money.
Imran not attending the session will make many disappointed. Khan needs to share his ideas on how the world can be made a better place. In UNGA sessions, any speaker’s words and ideas receive attention according to the level of seniority and authority that s/he enjoys in her/his home country. And the highest executive authority vests in Imran Khan as the PM of Pakistan not in Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
The coming session of UNGA will be focusing on the issues of global peace and security and substantial development for the world. Both issues are close to Khan’s heart. Imran has riveting positions on both the problems that the world is facing. His arguments on how to bring peace to the war-torn countries and achieve substantial development goals are worth listening. The first important gathering of the world leaders on the Agenda of the 73rd session is Nelson Mandela Peace Summit. That is the forum where Imran should share his beliefs on how peace can be ensured.
The general trend that is observed and practised in UNGA sessions is that the head of a state speaks first and the foreign ministers speak and represent the cases of their respective countries towards the end of the Assembly. Imran’s promise of Naya Pakistan is not an overhaul of the domestic governance structure. Imran’s manifesto also promised a new outlook of Pakistan internationally.
In the days when Pakistan is facing international isolation as Trump administration has called Pakistan an unreliable partner in the war on terror, Imran needs to dismiss such allegations by attending the approaching UNGA session. The fierce urgency of now demands that Imran Khan as the PM of Pakistan should present the case of Pakistan while displaying his statesmanship at the biggest stage.
Mr Khan should not let this opportunity go. Instead, the PM should exploit the occasion to its maximum for the benefit of Pakistan. Imran needs to launch Pakistan’s soft image effectively while the danger of being blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) still looms.