London, Dubai, New York: Meetings Abroad

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The most relevant meetings regarding a corporation on urgent affairs are handled at the corporate headquarters.  The most important meetings in regards to a nation are held at a nation's capital.  Urgent political party meetings are held either at political party headquarters or via a closed door office within the organization.  Meetings that are open to the public are held at venues that would attract the public.  You do not see the CIA holding highly confidential meetings outside of McLean, Virginia unless the location is relevant to affairs or missions within the CIA.

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) met several times in London.  At one time, meetings outside of Pakistan were appropriate for former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.  After all, both Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif were in exile, so they had an excuse for not having meetings in Pakistan.  Yet, eventually both the late Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif returned to Pakistan to come back to their homeland, Pakistan. 

The PPP and the PML-N criticized Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and their entourage for taking too many foreign trips.  The purposes of former Prime Minister Aziz and President Musharraf trips were to get major investments from these Western nations.   That strategy did work, as it attracted more investments in to Pakistan from foreign sources and even aided the rise of the Karachi Stock Market.  They attracted the likes of companies like Telenor to invest in Pakistan.  It was a strategy that worked and helped improve the economy and also created job opportunities.  It had the expectations of high results. 

The logic states that if a leader of one country comes to your country and spends lavishly while being your exclusive guest for the next day or two, wouldn't you appreciate his lavish habits in your country while he is trying to get a contract from your country to invest.  Most countries would, and more particularly, western nations.  This was part of the reason why President Musharraf's entourage spent lavishly and taking a team of cabinet members.  It is true that they did enjoy the lavish expenses while the vast majority of the nation lives on a small budget just to live and eat.  But these trips were heavy investments in to Pakistan's economy that would create better jobs.

However, PPP and the PML-Nawaz have been holding meetings in Dubai and London when they can have meetings in Karachi or Lahore.  Why are these political parties meeting abroad?  Their objective is not to deal with the leaders of these nations, but to have meetings for their own affairs and political party members.  Do you see the Republican Party or the Democrat Party of the United States hold meetings in Toronto, London or Geneva, especially confidential ones?  Or is it an excuse to get away from Pakistan and spend lavishly.  Many Pakistanis would not mind their government spending lavishly, if it meant that there would be an investment return.  However, these trips although official are only dealing with political party matters.  If these meetings are so important, why can't they be held in Pakistan?  There are many beautiful places in Pakistan such as SWAT, Quetta and even the state capital of Islamabad.  Asif Zardari and Nawaz Sharif must stop meeting abroad and start meeting in Pakistan, even if it is at their own expense.  They need to stay at local hotels, and if the luxury ones are sold out, they should hold meetings at small hotels where a common man is seen more. 

Are these political parties afraid of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) or MQM wire-tapping on them?   That could be a reason.  My advice to Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani is to take as many foreign trips as possible and live lavishly.  But they should not meet other Pakistani leaders outside of Pakistan.  What would Father Jinnah think of these leaders meeting outside of Pakistan?  Are these leaders more loyal to Pakistan or to their own interests?   Dubai and London are very nice places.  But it would be nice to see these leaders turn Karachi and Lahore in to world class cities.  Change begins at home.  Anything discussed within Pakistani political parties outside of Pakistan is of no help to the common Pakistani people. 

It is time for these ruling political parties to start respecting Father Jinnah's wishes and the wishes of the common people.  Political Party meetings abroad should not have to take place outside of their relevant country.  However, there is a speck of light in the cloud of darkness, Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani used his time in Dubai to meet with the UAE Prime Minister to discuss with him UAE-Pakistan collaboration in various economic projects.  But, the purpose of Prime Minister Gillani going to UAE was not because of these economic projects, it was for Political Party related matters, pertaining to Pakistan alone.  Why can't these political party meetings be held in Pakistan?  That is the broader question to consider. 

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