Did we overestimate our leverage ?


Naila Mahsud

PREMIER Imran Khan’s visit to Washington was dubbed as a huge diplomatic success by both analysts and officials alike. The confidence was gained especially after President Trump applauded Pakistan for its peace efforts in Afghanistan. We felt in a very comfortable position and gathered immense confidence of our leverage on other regions but India specifically. But all this fallacy was shattered by the abrogation of Article 370 which gave special status to the State of J&K. While it was a shock for the region and specifically for Pakistan, with our newly gained confidence, we thought we had a strong footing in the international arena with regard to Kashmir. Pakistan raised the abrogation of Article 370 on the international forum and left no stone unturned. But we are continuously met with disappointment and shock by how the world is reacting to the extrication of Article 370.
Pakistan asked for immediate action from the United Nations but failed to censure Indian steps. In UN’s initial reaction after Pakistan’s letter to the UN, the world body was outright neutral when the President of UN, Joanna Wronecka, marked ‘No comments’ as a comment. This abrupt response was later met with unrest among Pakistani officials and Shah Mahmood Qureshi wrote a letter to the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, stating that India’s move violates UN Resolutions on Kashmir. Recently, an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council was held involving the five permanent members and ten non-permanent members behind closed doors. Four out of five permanent members with China being the only exception held that the dispute be solved bilaterally.
Pakistan over-estimated the leverage it thought it had. We were expecting favourable stance from the United States because of Pakistan’s active involvement in Afghan peace process. US State Department spokesperson, Morgan Ortagus, said that there were no alteration in the US policy on Kashmir and advised both the countries to exercise restraint and maintain calm in the region. United States did not develop any hardcore stance and kept Pakistan at an arm’s length.
China reacted strongly against India’s move in Jammu and Kashmir. Shah Mehmood Qureshi flew to Beijing with high hopes and converging interests of China in the region in mind. Foreign Minister of China, Wang Yi, issued a statement after meeting with Shah Mahmood, stating, “The Kashmir issue is a dispute left from the colonial history. It should be properly and peacefully resolved based on the UN Charter, relevant UN Security Council Resolutions and Bilateral Agreement’.
However the biggest shock came from the OIC which raised its rhetoric against ‘gross human rights violations’ in the Valley of Kashmir but did not issue any strongly worded statement condemning India for abrogating the Article 370. Russia became the first P-5 nation to formally state that abrogation of Article 370 is an internal matter for India. Moscow also called for resolving all Indo-Pak differences based on Simla Agreement and Lahore Declaration.