Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Pakistan’s Pointless Rhetoric On Kashmir

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Pakistani leadership seems to be in total disarray since India’s withdrawal the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and its bifurcation the state into two Union Territories.  Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan misses no opportunity to threaten India; even with a nuclear war and indulges in vituperative language against India. He said, that the two countries would come close to direct military confrontation if the world did nothing to stop Indian decisions on Kashmir. His foreign minister Shah Mahmoud Qureshi, though singing in tune with Imran Khan, told that war is not an option to resolve the Kashmir dispute. Pakistan’s motor-mouth Railway minister Sheikh Rashid said at a public meeting the other day that he saw a war between the two countries coming in October or November. This lack of coherence clearly depicts the frustration that the Indian government’s move has caused in Pakistan.

Despite best efforts to involve the international community over the Kashmir issue, Pakistan has failed bitterly to get any favourable response. Countries like the US, Russia France and the United Kingdom have clearly told Pakistan that the action taken by Indian Government in Kashmir is an internal matter of India and does not call for any outside interference. Even China, supposed to be an all-weather friend of Pakistan, did not openly come out in support of Pakistan on the issue. Despite this, Imran Khan called for a standstill for one hour on Friday last in Pakistan. However, it was a flop show as not many Pakistanis turned up for the standstill.

Imran Khan has also announced to take the issue to the United Nations and the International Court of Justice forgetting that the permanent members of the UN Security Council have already made their stand clear in favour of India.

As a result of this frustration, Pakistani leadership is divided on the issue of holding talks with India as well. While Imran Khan has been saying that holding talks with India will serve no purpose, his Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi made a U-turn by saying that Pakistan is prepared to hold talks with India. This has led Imran Khan to deny media reports about Islamabad’s readiness to hold talks with India.

India’s consistent position is that talks with Pakistan can be resumed only if Islamabad stops using terrorism as its state policy against India and other countries. India’s External affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar has reiterated that India is prepared to hold talks with Pakistan on other outstanding issues except Jammu and Kashmir in an atmosphere free of terror and violence.

Pakistan is continuing with its efforts to seek support from other countries including the Islamic countries. Of late, it has been in touch with Saudi Arab and Kuwait ion the name of alleged human rights violations in Kashmir. But the fact is that some of the influential Islamic countries have chosen to honour Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi even after he took the decision on Kashmir. Mr. Modi has been honoured with the highest civilian award the ‘order of Zayed’ by the UAE only a few days ago sending a clear signal to Pakistan that the Emirates considers relations with India more important and would not be distracted by the rhetoric of Pakistani leaders.

A senior Pakistani lawmaker remarked that “the bubble of an Islamic ummah has burst,” on the Organization of Islamic Countries’ silence on the Indian action Kashmir. He added, the actions of some of the ‘stalwarts’ of the OIC—particularly the Gulf Arabs have remained silent in the aftermath of the scrapping of Kashmir’s autonomy by Delhi.

Pakistan should not about human rights violations in Kashmir; when Islamabad itself is continuing with barbaric human rights violations in its’ own Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa provinces and Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). Pakistan should take note of the ground realities and initiate corrective action rather than waste time and energy on anti-India rhetoric. That alone would pave the way for resolving outstanding issues between the two countries to lay the foundations of good neighbourly relations.

Script: Ashok Handoo, Political Commentator

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