Imran Khan must heed Shah Mahmood Qureshi's advice on Kashmir; PM's 'indignant' statements only part of desperate efforts to keep up pretence

Even as Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan has been shouting from the rooftops about saving Kashmiris from "Indian tyranny" and feeding the people of his country a fantasy about the world coming to the rescue, his foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi struck a more realistic note. He has stated that the UN Security Council is not "waiting with garlands" to support Islamabad's contentions.

He further said that sections of the Islamic community also may not back Pakistan as they "have fiscal ties with India."

In recent days, Imran’s rhetoric has become increasingly heated and hostile. In a recent tweet, he said, “Attempt is to change demography of Kashmir through ethnic cleansing. Question is: Will the world watch and appease as they did Hitler at Munich?”

 Imran Khan must heed Shah Mahmood Qureshis advice on Kashmir; PMs indignant statements only part of desperate efforts to keep up pretence

File image of Pakistan's foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. Reuters

Imran Khan's indignant statements are largely for domestic consumption, and they appear to be part of a desperate effort to keep up the pretence that Kashmir will be one day accede to Pakistan.

Qureshi’s address to the media in Muzaffarabad was disarmingly honest, because he said it like it is. It does not matter whether the statement gets the publicity it should in that country, or whether the country's media chooses to continue wearing blinkers. Despite the fears expressed by Imran, Saudi Aramco signed a deal with Reliance Industries, under which the former would acquire 20 percent stake in the latter's refinery.

Qureshi can sense the situation and is now choosing to tread on a path of conciliation, because there is no point chasing a bus that has left the station. In the aftermath of the Centre's move, there has been some concerns over China's position, especially as it recently commented on Ladakh saying, “China always opposes India's inclusion of Chinese territory in the western section of the China-India boundary under its administrative jurisdiction."

However, presently, China is a lot more occupied with the Hong Kong crisis than Kashmir. Hong Kong is as much an internal matter for Beijing as the Kashmir Valley is for New Delhi. This has taken the wind out of the Chinese sails, especially since external affairs minister S Jaishankar has had a jolly successful visit to Beijing. Even the United States has its hands full with Afghanistan and scarcely needs any more hassle in the region.

In these circumstances, perhaps what Imran might be well advised to do is to wake up and smell the coffee, and let Kashmir enjoy the pleasures of democracy and freedom.

(Disclosure - Reliance Industries Ltd. is the sole beneficiary of Independent Media Trust which controls Network18 Media & Investments Ltd)

Updated Date: Aug 13, 2019 18:13:37 IST