Saturday, June 19, 2021

Pakistan In A Quandary

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Pakistan is caught in a bind over its stand on the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir. Ever since India revoked Article 370 of the Indian Constitution that granted Special status to the state, Pakistan has been trying to internationalize the issue. Islamabad has even stooped to war mongering. However, it has not been successful in eliciting response from the international community especially its powerful allies in the Middle East and West Asia. It is for the first time that the Islamic “Umma” has been eloquently silent on Kashmir and some influential countries have termed the Indian move as New Delhi’s internal affair.

Only Turkey and Malaysia had given an ear to Pakistan’s lamentations. Kuala Lampur, which faced a massive backlash over an Indian fugitive Zakir Naik’s comments on the Malaysian society, not only banned the fugitive, but Dr. Mahathir Mohammad’s government offered no comments on Jammu & Kashmir.

Faced with yet another setback at the UN Security Council, where the UN body did not agree with China and Pakistan’s ploys, Islamabad has now started shouting hoarse at home to confuse its own people. Pakistan Prime Minister early this week warned of a conventional war. Mr. Imran Khan said that the people of Pakistan are with Kashmir; but which Kashmir he failed to mention. The Pakistan Prime Minister even called for a ‘jihad’ (holy war). His cabinet colleague, Pakistan’s Railway Minister Sheikh Rashid has in fact said that there could be a war between India and Pakistan in October! However, he also said that the Kashmir issue would be resolved during the tenure of Prime Minister Imran Khan and Pakistan Army Chief Gen. Bajwa. These preposterous statements belie the fact that even the high and mighty in Pakistan are living in a world of dreams.

Such comments expose the mind-set of the Pakistani leadership. India’s consistent stand has been that since the accession of Jammu & Kashmir into India in 1947, it is an integral and inalienable part of India. Pakistan has illegally occupied 13,000 square kms. of India Territory and handed over some part of the territory under its illegal occupation to China. Pakistan needs to return the illegally occupied territory to India. There can be no other discussion on Kashmir except PoK.

This has been made categorical by India. The Indian Defence Minister Mr. Raj Nath singh said that India will not discuss anything else with Pakistan. But, even for such discussion to take place, Pakistan first needs to abandon terrorism as a foreign policy tool.

India termed the immature comments emanating from Pakistan as ‘hostile’ ‘provocative’ and irresponsible.  It is tantamount to interference in India’s internal matters. The Indian External Affairs Ministry strongly condemned the statements of the top Pakistani leadership. India further asked Pakistan to cut its links with international terror organizations and bring the culprits charged on terrorism to book.

Everyone is aware of the mess that Pakistan is currently in. Economically, things are so bad that reportedly, Pakistan Prime Minister’s office has run up pending electricity dues of Pakistani Rs. 41 lakhs and now the Islamabad Electric Supply company has threatened to cut-off power to the Prime Ministerial Secretariat! This can happen only in Pakistan.

Common Pakistani citizens are being forced to pay more for everything. The IMF bailout has put severe restrictions on Pakistan. It now also faces added heat from the terror funding watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the Asia Pacific Group (APG) of FATF in its latest report has observed that Pakistan has failed in 32 out 40 parameters on which is was expected to take firm action. Islamabad is already in the ‘grey’ list of the FATF and in the next couple of months could ‘graduate’ into the ‘black-list’. If that were to happen, Pakistan would find it extremely difficult to secure loans for its faltering economy.

The Pakistan government should act wisely and channelize its energies on giving its citizens a better developed life instead of harping over internal issues of its neighbours.

Script: J L Koul Jalali, Political Commentator

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