Imran Khan, the recent elected PM of Pakistan took the oath of the office on 18th of August this year. After taking charge of his office, he affirmed to take serious drastic measures to put the country on track of development, progress and growth. He maintained that by following the model of “Madina”, he will make Pakistan a great nation.
Some of the steps he took towards implementing his vision included selling of extra vehicles, curtailing the PM secretariat staff, deciding not to live in PM secretariat, opening governor houses for public and other superficial steps.
Moreover, in his first address to the nation, he openly discussed the foreign policy challenges that Pakistan is facing. Laying down the policy towards neighboring states, enthusiastic PM stated friendly policy towards bordering states surrounding Pakistan.
This was a great gesture from PM and was appreciated by diplomats and analysts all over the country and abroad. Following diplomatic norms, PM of India, Mr. Modi wrote a congratulatory letter to Imran Khan for being elected as new PM. Replying to the said letter, Imran khan went one step forward and offered Mr. Modi’s government to start the halted dialogue process by planning a meeting of Foreign Ministers at the sideline of the UN session in New York. The offer was apparently accepted by the government of India but later it was turned down.
Interestingly, the reason Indian government is trying to project is not justifiable as the postal stamps with the picture of Burhan Wani, the Kashmiri freedom fighter, were issued in July before the formation of Imran Khan’s government. Secondly, in Pakistan a new government is installed, and India could have engaged on new terms by accepting the offer.
Moving on, as thedialogue offer was turned down by India, PM Imran Khan responded to the situation rigorously by tweeting. The response was somehow inappropriate in my opinion as it was against the international diplomatic norms. The message could have been delivered to concerned circles in more diplomatic manner and by following the set standards of diplomacy.
No doubt, Social Media has changed the traditional practices to communicate but still the language being used by the officials has always kept diplomatic ethics and norms into consideration, with few exceptions. Trump has been one of the leaders, who has always found sufficient space in media by violating the diplomatic norms. His first tweet of the year 2018 regarding Pakistan to pay back billion of rupees was not only insulting but also a disgrace on the diplomatic front for America the “only Super Power”.
Similarly, Trump on different occasions have said something else and has acted differently. His visit to China and saying that he had a great “Chemistry” with Chinese president contradicted his hard stance against China throughout his campaign.
Moreover, his criticism against Islam didn’t stop him to make first official tour to KSA, hosting two holiest places of Muslims. These instances and few more are the reason Anja Manuel, a former special assistant to undersecretary for political affairs Nicholas Burns, recently said in an interview that, “when you look at Trump’s foreign policy, you should look at what it does rather than what the president tweets.”
Imran Khan seems to follow Trump’s example by not using appropriate communication strategies and words while disseminating the message. In the example of his reply to Indian PM, Khan should have not responded personally to the situation, instead foreign office should havetackled the developments. Secondly, the choice of words should have been better, in case reply from PM was so necessary. Thirdly, Foreign office should have completed the required homework before offering dialogue process initiation to India on Foreign minister’s level, so this embarrassment could have been avoided.
The newly inducted PM has also been into the news by declining the alleged call by President of France. The President of France’s call should have been answered if it was planned, but if this was not the case and had the Foreign office of France contacted Pakistani authorities to set the time of the call of the two heads as per diplomatic norms, then this should not have been reported in the way media has done.
These examples are clearly depicting the rawness of the team of Imran Khan. He should work seriously to avoid such breaches of the protocols of the diplomacy so that he could gain certain leverage on the international diplomatic arena and may not be quoted following Trump’s example in diplomacy as American President is not one of the best examples to follow. I would conclude by an advice to PM Khan, if he wants to avoid unnecessary embarrassment in future, he should be staying away from using social media applications, until he retires to be the PM of Pakistan.
About Author: Umair Pervez Khan is an MPhil graduate in International Relations. Currently visiting lecturer at COMSATs, Islamabad. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org