Prime Minister Imran Khan announced earlier this week that an event called Kashmir hour will be held every week to show solidarity with the Kashmiri people, starting on 30 August. Sirens will be blared and National Anthems of Pakistan and Kashmir will be played. As Khan readies to speak before the United Nations General Assembly on 27 September regarding the atrocities in Indian-occupied Kashmir, the country’s premier has promised to “go to any lengths” to support the cause of the region that was flung into a clampdown after the revocation of the special status given to the state.
During a joint session of parliament held on 9 August, Khan warned that if the “issue worsens to a war situation, then one must remember that both the countries are nuclear states. And no one wins a nuclear war”. Journalists, writers and experts have a different take on the premier’s statements. “What are the options for Pakistan to deal with the worsening crisis? We cannot move the international community into action by raising the spectre of a possible nuclear conflagration,” an editorial in Dawn read.
Khan’s claim of having successfully brought the attention of the international community to the Kashmir issue, referring to the United Nations convening such a meeting for the first time since 1965, which was held on 16 August was rebutted in a Pakistan Today article. “That Trump has taken a U-turn, asking India and Pakistan to resolve their issues through bilateral talks, should not lead to any extreme reaction. The (UNSC) meeting neither condemned Indian atrocities nor passed strictures on the revocation of Article 370. The telephone calls to the British PM and Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman were of little use. Expecting Turkey or Malaysia to persuade India was equally unrealistic,” the editorial read.
Many writers, in fact, opine that the international community’s silence on the matter concerning Kashmir shows Pakistan’s diplomatic failures and its weakening global position. In choosing between siding with Pakistan’s strong stand and trade relations with India, many countries, including Muslim-majority ones, have picked the latter.
In his speech in the parliament, Khan had said that he feared the “ethical cleansing of Muslims from Kashmir” by an ideology fashioned by RSS that wants India to be a Hindu State. “The voice of not only all Pakistanis but also all Muslims in the world is with Kashmir and Kashmiris today,” he had said.
Pakistan has to move ahead of the rallying support on the basis of religion. The problem may lie in the fact that the nation takes more than it gives and has no major incentive to offer to major international players, an opinion in The Express Tribune read. “Now is a good time for Pakistan to discard the impression that it belongs to a greater Muslim Ummah — a religious coalition that will gallop through fields of fire to its aid. Religious ideology alone will never be enough for alliances to be formed. Pakistan could build better relationships with the EU and America and to receive the benefit of these alliances, Pakistan will have to move towards the idea of liberal democracy,” the article read.
Desertion by major countries across the world should be an eye-opener for Pakistan that relations are not governed on the basis of a common religion but on common interests. On the economic front, Pakistan remains at the mercy of the IMF and the World Bank for financial assistance, while the FATF sword hangs on the nation’s head.
“The UAE and Bahrain governments conferring the highest civilian award to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is the mutuality of interest that is reflected in the $66 billion trade between the two countries,” an article in The Express Tribune read. The piece pointed out that the UAE-Pakistan trade is valued at $10 billion as of 2015 and while nearly three million Indian expatriates work in the UAE, two million Pakistanis are employed there.
In order to garner international support, Khan has to ensure a strengthened economy and smooth functioning of the parliament. Economic stability, achieved through political stability is the course correction that may make Pakistan at least a regional stakeholder, giving its voice more strength. A Pakistan Today article said that instead of wasting the country’s time in weekly shows of solidarity, the prime minister should take the opposition on board. “Khan, in his zeal for eradicating corruption, has sidelined the importance of Parliament and other democratic institutions. Instead, the prime minister relies heavily on his very close and comfortable relationship with the military leadership,” The Express Tribune observed.
Another writer opined that for Pakistan’s protest to be registered seriously, it cannot be selective in its outrage regarding human rights abuse.
Strong statements calling the abrogation of Article 370 a “mistake” by Narendra Modi, stinging statements on Twitter, considering taking the Kashmir issue to International Court of Justice, threatening a nuclear confrontation, calling the change in demography of the state a war crime under the Fourth Geneva Convention and promising to be with Kashmiris “till the last breath” may denote Khan’s noble intention to resolve the matter at hand. However, measures of course correction to make Pakistan a country that is taken more seriously would ensure greater global weightage to the issue at hand.
Updated Date: Aug 30, 2019 07:43:14 IST