The cruel joke must end


Zaheer Bhatti

THE Quaid-i-Azam who was quoted by Mountbatten as “a man as stubborn as Jinnah he had never met in his life, who would say a thing and not rest until he would get it done”; some argue why then did he leave Kashmir the vital Agenda of Partition unfinished which Pakistan was tricked into. Understandably, it was so because he alone knew that with his fast failing health time was not on his side, and that engaging in the issue might sour his dream of a homeland for the Muslims which may not be realized after his lifetime, and that he should take whatever was on offer, to fight out the case later. He did not survive long enough to fight out the Kashmir case though his legacy did obtain Security Council intervention and Resolutions ascribing the right of Kashmiris to determine their future through a UN-supervised plebiscite.
Thereafter, Pakistan’s subjects who always remained on the receiving end hopelessly yearned for a sincere political leadership to steer the country out of the crisis in which Pakistan was landed due to the untimely and premature departure of the Quaid-i-Azam from the national scene. This not only led to instability but a spate of opportunism, with vultures prying on the inherent riches of the hard earned homeland, until an illustrious and financially clean Zulfikar Ali Bhutto emerged on the scene who promised to fight for the unfinished Agenda of Kashmir even if it took a thousand years. It gave Pakistan the resolve to successfully mature its nuclear deterrent against the ever-belligerent neighbouring India which still finds it hard to swallow the bitter pill of the creation of Pakistan; always threatening to undo it. ZAB unfortunately succumbed to his self-righteousness and over confidence, to be eventually eliminated by the powers that be.
Decades later, Imran Khan another honest man and a cricketing celebrity wailing his way through, captured the ever suffering common man’s attention as a possible hope and made an array of promises to cure Pakistan’s ailments. While grappling with the economic crisis which his Government like all previous ones inherited, the pitfalls he has encountered largely due to political inexperience of his team have been too hot to handle at home. He has so far nevertheless acquitted himself admirably on the political front abroad which had been Pakistan’s other weak link for some decades, particularly after the Afghan imbroglio created by the then Cold War rivals; the Soviet Union and the United States. India thrown up as a spanner by the US against the emerging power of China thrived on the spoils of the American-led NATO assault by anchoring itself in Afghanistan and successfully masterminded incursions into Pakistan which it continues till date, but suffered some reversals firstly when its serving sleuth KalbhoshanYadav operating a network in Pakistan was caught, tried and awaits execution. This was soon followed by India being sidelined in the US withdrawal plan and peace deal with the Afghan Taliban, which perforce allowed Pakistan to assume the pivotal role in the process due to its geo-strategic position. Perhaps this isolation among other factors including its Hinduvta obsession, served as a catalyst for India to take the Kashmir merger plunge attracting world attention, but not without bringing the issue of Kashmir mercifully alive once again.
Imran Khan, whose wish to see Modi back in the saddle was poorly interpreted by the opposition as a miscalculation, was to my mind actually meant to see Modi commit another blunder like its phony accusation over Pulwama, its so-called abortive surgical strike accounting for a crow and ten trees and the resulting 27 February humiliation it suffered at the hands of Pakistani forces. Lo and behold! Modi did not disappoint by taking the Kashmir merger step which changes nothing on the ground except redoubling Kashmiri hatred for nervous Indian occupation and bringing the Kashmir issue internationally alive which had been consigned to the dustbin by successive Pakistani rulers; though not so much as an unsettled issue long on the UN agenda but with its humanitarian dimensions. Imran Khan who has already impacted the UN at its General Assembly this year, has since not looked back and is on a peace mission between Saudi Arabia and Iran; the two oil-rich major Islamic Powers which are central to the unity of the Islamic Ummah so direly needed, but were being sought to be kept pitched against each other by imperial powers sending more troops and weaponry into the Kingdom. Imran looking to reinvigorate and realize the economic and military potential of the OIC to effectively tackle issues like Kashmir and Palestine, appears to have succeeded in extinguishing the possible Iran-Saudi armed face-off as of now. With Turkey weary of the imperial game plan in the region refusing to be cowed down and joining hands with Pakistan, one sees revival of the good old RCD between Pakistan, Turkey and Iran. Mahatir’s Malaysia lending support on Kashmir and joining Pakistan and Turkey to jointly launch a TV Channel to fight Islamophobia in order to project the true face of the peaceful, compassionate and tolerant religion to the world, has been another achievement towards consolidation.
But at the same time with the enemy breathing down Pakistan’s neck vowing to dismember it further and divert every drop of water; its agrarian lifeline already choking it by tampering with the status of its occupied territory of disputed Kashmir from where it flows, besides holding one million inmates of the Valley State hostage, it is a cruel joke that the political divide is blissfully engaged in internal wrangling oblivious of the negative fallout it will certainly have on Pakistan’s Kashmir case Prime Minister Imran is painstakingly working to salvage and build. While the opposition needed to put every domestic issue on the back burner to fortify a unified national stance over the main bone of contention with India, it is displaying bad tummy in seeking to bring down the sitting Government and choosing to hedge behind a political party badly mauled in the 2018 general election.
But even if they have a case against PTI’s domestic performance which probably they do, the forum they must use is that of Parliament whose vote of no confidence they should obtain to send him home rather than rely on gimmicks like marches, sit-ins and lock downs, which not only disrupt life but directly affect economic and political stability of the country which is currently happening. Pakistan can no longer afford this cruel joke of political indiscretion which must end for good.
—The writer is a media professional, member of Pioneering team of PTV and a veteran ex Director Programmes.