Did a feel good factor envelope us these 20 hours?
Did we feel proud to be Pakistanis? Absolutely!
Were we proud of our political leadership and the way PM Imran gave us something to be proud of? You bet we were!
Did we like the bonhomie and terms of endearment between the Prince and the Rock Star! Yes!
Did we feem warm and fuzzy as we enjoyed, for a change, the spectacle of a real state visit with glimpses of a bygone era of glory and pomp and show? Most certainly we did!
Did the spontaneity of the two leaders exhanging extempore comments and showering each other with fulsome praises bring smiles to our faces!
Certainly did to mine!
Did the seemingly spontaneous request by PM Imran to "treat Pakistanis in KSA as your own and address the issue of Pakistani prisoners" and the equally magnanimous response by MBS of "consider me your Ambassador" and the release of 2000 prisoners, catch the imagination of Pakistanis and light up a social media bonfire? Yes! Like the 14th of August!
Did we for a change feel that we were no longer "miskeen" Pakistanis at the receiving end of an arrogant financial handout, but equal partners in what is beginning to look like a mutually beneficial relationship, beyond the security gun for hire relationship?
Yes. Clearly the signs are all there.
Are the $20 billion MOU's @ $ 1 billion an hour over the 20 hour trip something of substance? Clearly yes if they get implemented as agreed!
Did it give us a glimpse of what a great future awaits Pakistan as writes Andrew Korbyko in Eurasia Futures .....As astounding as it may sound to most observers, the global pivot state of the 21st century isn’t China, the US, nor Russia, but Pakistan..... I think we all saw glimpses of this potentially great future!
Could there have been something more?
Yes. A mention of Kashmir in the Joint Communique or in the PM's and the President's speeches! Was this a deliberate miss to avoid embarrassing MBS as the Crown Prince moves on to his next trip to India?
Perhaps. But it was a very very sad omission!
If Palestine could be mentioned, who by the way folks, don't give a flying frog for Pakistan and Kashmir, why couldn't Kashmir figure in the statement and speeches?
And finally was there something that shouldn't have happened?
A tragic Yes!
The only ugly scar, in an otherwise amazing visit, which can potentially fester, was the inappropriate outburst by Saudi FM Adel against Iran in his presser with FM Qureshi.
The norm amongst friends is to agree on no go areas in a presser, to avoid any embarrassing situation such as what happened. A question on Iran was bound to be asked and should have been anticipated to avoid the anti Iran tirade by the Saudi FM.
Secondly FM Qureshi didn't dilute these inappropriate comments by a counter comment, diplomatically worded. Something to the effect that Iran is our friend and neighbour and we understand the concerns voiced by KSA and will work with both countries to mediate and resolve these differences.
We can change friends, but not neighbours!
This was the only ugly scar which left a bad taste in an otherwise wonderful visit!
Onwards and upwards, with dignity and respect without casting our lot in one camp or the other!
Well played PM!