During Ramadan, the Prime Minister of Pakistan visited Saudi Arabia on the invitation of Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman. It’s no secret that relations between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have been strained for quite some time now. Not just on the government level but on the level of public opinion. Pakistani public has not approved of how the Saudi government conducts their business and the Public of Pakistan has made it very clear. The Pakistani government has failed to acknowledge the problematic behavior of the Saudis, at the same time they have also failed in pleasing them enough to be considered long-term allies.
Khan has set out to change that from day one. Not that other leaders and governments and leaders were not eager to make changes in the relationship, he somehow saw a special value in the relationship and put more effort into it. For Pakistan, it has been fruitful in terms of money and import and export.
This trip, however, was about regional security. Agreements were signed in this regard. Minister of Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said, “we are looking towards the Saudi leadership on the Kashmir issue. Saudi Arabia can play an important role in resolving the Kashmir issue”.
There was some unrest in Pakistan while the trip was ongoing. The people of Pakistan felt betrayed by the choices of their leaders. Saudi Arabia has never been the kind of leader for Muslims that we could look to, to solve our problems or be compassionate towards the problems of the Muslim Ummah. Pakistani understand that for the leadership of Pakistan to put that much faith in them seemed like a big mistake and a betrayal.
On the other hand, when Imran khan and his government inherited the country from their predecessors, they inherited all of their debt and problems as well. As of December 2020, Pakistan’s International Debt is US$115.7 billion. While it wouldn’t be appropriate for any government official to admit that this trip was about money this trip was not about Kashmir or at least not just about Kashmir. Pakistan once again made deals to get from under the debt of other countries.
Tensions between Khan and the people were not just about Saudi Arabia and what took place within that country. Right now, Pakistan is going through its worst case of Covid 19 break out. At the beginning of the pandemic, people had thought that by some miracle we had been protected by this disease and the death toll had been minimum in our country. Then we saw it rise. Now the numbers are uncontrollable, and we cannot as a nation and as a government seem to control it. At a time like this, our Prime Minister saw it fit to leave the country in a state of emergency and perform Umrah and make deals about issues that cannot be resolved by foreign help. The public saw right through the façade. People complained about unemployment and how their tax dollars being used for his vacation and an elaborate trip.
People needed leadership here, people needed support and solution here at home. This is not to say that Imran Khan has not been trying his best but at times like these, any wrong move or even a notion of a bad move can get the public spiraling out of control.
As time goes by Imran Khan is losing the support of the general public. He has not done worse for the country than many other politicians in the past. This is just the latest example. Other leaders did way worse than he is doing right now but they were able to gather the masses around them because they knew how to play the game. Khan is no politician. He might be wanting to do the right thing but it ends up being the wrong thing in the end because he doesn’t know how to gather the masses around him. In the end it all comes down to how you gather the people around you and make them listen to what you have to say.
When it comes to politics everyone is saying the same thing. When comes to making policies and doing what needs to be done no one really brings any real change. But in the recent history of Pakistan, no one has been criticized as badly as Imran Khan and his party PTI. The cause for that has been mainly because this party was not made up of politicians. This party was not backed by lobbyists and bigger political parties as far as the public knew. These were educated Pakistani people backing a leader who was not a politician wanting to do right by the country.
He is still the same guy, he is still trying to do the same thing. The problem that he is facing is that he is not a politician dealing with politicians and he doesn’t know where to act like a politician and where to be himself genuinely and authentically.
Many have compared him to Trump saying that he is narcissistic and only wants what’s best for himself. Some say that the power has gone to his head. All of that may be true. But we know that the people of Pakistan had put a lot of hope in him, thinking that he would do things differently. Now that things are happening exactly as they would under any other leader, they are exceptionally disappointed in him. It would be fair to say that he is not to blame for our failure to recognize his failure to lead us.