As the world was anxiously waiting to hear Prime Minister Imran Khan “forcefully present Kashmir issue like never before at the UNGA session” he himself seems to have thrown in the towel by saying that that he was “disappointed” by the international community for not pressurizing India on Kashmir. The way things panned-out after Islamabad got a cold shoulder at the UNSC (United Nations Security Council), it’s almost certain that at UNGA (United Nations General Assembly), Khan will not be able to live up to the expectations that he has himself raised. Therefore, one can always empathise with him as well as overlook his attempts to shift blame for his own failure on others as this is a common human phenomenon. But the moment one resorts to allegations that cast unsubstantiated aspersions on all and sundry, it sounds as the whining voice of a sore loser!
Khan asserts that the international community’s silence on Kashmir is because “People look upon India as a market of 1 billion people” and has philosophised how human values are being compromised by the lure of material gains. While Khan may be right to some extent, but why should this upset him so much? Hasn’t his government done just the same thing by maintaining stoic silence on Beijing’s religious persecution of Muslims Uighurs of Xinjiang? Furthermore, his statement that the world would have reacted with more urgency on the issue of Kashmir had it been a case of eight million Europeans, Jewish people, or Americans being under siege is rather in a poor taste as it is both racial in character and communal in nature.
The reason why no one appears to be agreeing with what Khan has to say on Kashmir is because rather than relying on facts, he is banking solely on rhetoric and skewed interpretation of details. Even the dullest student of civics will tell you that a democratically elected government amending the country’s constitution is purely an internal matter, but Khan thinks otherwise. Unfortunately, despite Islamabad’s abysmal failure to convince the UNSC that revocation of Article 370 violated UNSC resolutions on Kashmir, he continues to believe that his logic-deficit argument on Kashmir will win him the ‘world cup’!
Imran Khan tried to bowl a ‘googly’ by alleging that New Delhi has revoked Article 370 of the Indian constitution for “ensuring that Muslims of India would remain as second-class citizens” and temporary restrictions imposed in Kashmir have been imposed to facilitate “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing.” But since the international community is also watching the situation in Kashmir very closely, it has very valid reasons for disagreeing with Khan’s alarmist views as it was actually a ‘no ball’.
Even the Taliban, which enjoys patronage of the Pakistan Army hit out at an attempt by Pakistan’s opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif when he drew a comparison between Kashmir and Afghanistan in Pakistan’s Parliament. Taliban hit back saying, “Linking the issue of Kashmir with that of Afghanistan by some parties will not aid in improving the crisis at hand because the issue of Afghanistan is not related (to Kashmir).” So, while Khan may feel that the international community is prejudiced and not fulfilling its moral responsibility, he should consider himself lucky that it hasn’t censured him for inciting pan-Islamism ideology by saying “People will rise against India (for abrogating Article 370), and it is not just about Indian Muslims, there are 1.25 billion Muslims around the world. They all are watching this.”
On September 27, while Khan is going to “forcefully present Kashmir issue like never before at UN General Assembly session,” back at his backyard in Pakistan, people will be observing Kashmir ‘solidarity’ day once again. While one would like to wish him well, but since the odds are heavily stacked heavily against Khan, all the sound and fury at UNGA as well as ruckus on the streets of Pakistan is not going to be of much help because the country’s army has already pushed Pakistan into an irretrievable position by a series of mindless acts.
Khan has rightly stated that it was the ISI that invited and trained terrorists from all over the “Muslim world” to wage ‘Jihad’ (holy war) against the Soviets in Afghanistan. This happened when Gen Zia ul Haq was ruling Pakistan. Again, it was during his rule that Gen Pervez Musharraf joined the US in its war on terror after 9/11 and started targeting those very terrorists who were indoctrinated by ISI into believing that “fighting foreign occupation is jihad.”
Khan’s admission that “we still have about 30,000 to 40,000-armed people who have been trained and fought in some part of Afghanistan or Kashmir” reveals the Pakistan Army’s dubious role that has brought the country on the brink of being blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for its inability to curb terror financing. Lastly, by saying that Islamabad “did not tell the US exactly the truth on the ground” and part of the reason for this was that successive governments in Pakistan “were not in control,” Khan has fully exposed the massive damage that Rawalpindi has inflicted upon the nation.
One feels sad about Khan for being in an unenviable position of having the onerous responsibility of the nation on his shoulders without either the power or authority to set things right. But the flip side is that there are many who say that unlike his predecessor Nawaz Sharif, since Khan willingly accepted becoming a puppet and being manipulated by the Pakistan Army he deserves no sympathy. Seeing a desperate Imran Khan indulging in public self-flagellation by confessing that Pakistan has been hand-in-glove with terrorist groups just to gain credibility but ending up being side-lined by the international community must be quite embarrassing for any self-respecting Pakistani. Similarly, at home it must be equally galling to hear Pakistan Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and even a relatively junior ranking officer like DG ISPR Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor speaking more on the political aspects concerning Kashmir than PM Imran Khan or his team of ministers.
An unsolicited advice to PM Imran Khan- expressing solidarity with Kashmiris is a very easy thing to do because all it requires is collecting a crowd, raising placards, chanting slogans and burning effigies. But getting down to seriously resolve the Kashmir issue is an entirely different thing altogether as it requires statesmanship not dramatics.