The way forward


Zaheer Bhatti

PAKISTAN at the very outset, must correct its erratic stance of continuing to provide political, moral and
diplomatic support to the Kashmiris in India-occupied Kashmir, and must add physical and material support which any entity waging armed struggle for freedom was entitled to require. Unresolved Kashmir in any case is Pakistan’s own problem and unfinished Agenda of Partition of which it is the main Party itself. The Kashmiri right to self-determination having been denied for over 70 years, Modi’s illegal annexation bid exposing the Kashmiris further to Indian tyranny and Pakistan’s jugular vein bleeding profusely every minute and hour, you cannot mark time over blood-spilling and allow that to continue. The only task-oriented preparedness mincing no words has been demonstrated by the Khakis which must indeed have braced up to all options, harbouring no illusions.
Politically though the Indian usurpation move and act of war besides lowering the diplomatic status of relations and suspending bilateral trade, also warranted of Pakistan to have applied pressure and banned Indian use of its airspace as well as trade routes for Indian goods to any destination. Unfortunately with India continuing the lethal siege of Kashmir, Pakistan is still mulling over the action. Imran Khan who vowed becoming the voice of Kashmiris ought to have reached out to leaders in chosen destinations in person, besides fanning out noted groups of parliamentarians comprising major political parties.
Eminent figures from Azad Kashmir, Hurriyat Conference and the Pakistan’s Treasury Benches, eloquent politicians regardless of political lineage like Reza Rabbani, Sherry Rehman, Mushahid Hussain, Hina Rabbani Khar, Khurram Dastgir, Mussadaq Malik, Khwaja Asif, Owais Leghari, Rehman Malik;to name a few off the cuff, besides noted active service and retired diplomats must be commandeered to activate their contacts and sensitize the world over Pakistan’s Kashmir case. Civil society activists must leap-frog across the world while noted journalists should target foreign audience in English language Radio and TV Programs featuring analysts with facility in the language; all before Prime Minister’s address at the UN which must be a written one, followed or preceded by a comprehensive array of meetings with Heads of States and Governments on the sidelines which are of paramount significance.
So far, barring individual phone calls by the PM and his FM we are addressing home audience which does not require any motivation. Addressing the enemy is wasting time except through the social media which is the right platform to publicly engage the enemy. Aggressive and proactive diplomacy to apprise the world of the Kashmir issue in its entirety is direly called for, besides exposing the Indian mindset which was unwilling to accept the creation of Pakistan; consequently pulling the two neighbours poles apart instead of benefiting each other for progress and development. Donald Trump saying that had Kashmir been a bilateral issue it should have been resolved by now was a statement of facts coming from a US President after a long time which looked like confounding the belated Indian stance. But Trump reneging after meeting the Indian PM and saying that since Modi said, “He was in control,” there was no need for him to mediate over the bilateral Issue, deflated the short-lived bubble; so much for Third-Party mediation. The Pakistani Prime Minister ought to have plucked courage to pick up the phone and ask the US President to explain this duplicity.
Pakistan must proactively move the OIC unless it had decided to write-off the forum which had miserably failed to address global challenges to the Ummah; failing in the present case to condemn Indian brutalizing of Kashmiri Muslims besides its illegal act of annexation of the Occupied territory, and to effectively agitate the grave issue concerning a founder member of the OIC with the UN Security Council. Pakistan also ought to have asked the UAE to explain its wisdom and timing of decorating the Indian PM and pledging close to trillion dollar investment in India. Rubbing salt over Kashmiris’ wounds equally was the Pakistani Foreign Minister doling out a certificate of sincerity to the UAE despite its irresponsible conduct of rewarding Modi over illegal annexation of Kashmir who had blood of countless Muslims on his hands. Pakistan which has vociferous advocated Muslim causes, must review its whole ambit because as rightly put Muslim rulers mostly today were a bunch of secular liberal dictators interested only in personal survival.
With the occupied territory under siege for over four weeks, Pakistan is ironically waiting to see the magnitude of misery unfolding whenever the curfew was lifted, instead of doing anything boldly to prevent it or forcing India to at least restore normalcy. The Indian move has sparked the struggle for liberation and freedom from brutal Indian occupation among the people of Kashmir who have ironically been left to the treachery of India in contravention and contempt of the Security Council Resolutions requiring determination of their future through a UN-supervised plebiscite, which continues to be a challenge to the will and capacity of the world body. The unpardonable scrapping of Article 35-A of the Indian Constitution, in any case now automatically renders in fructuous, the alleged instrument of accession of the Princely State between Maharaja Hari Singh and the Indian Government which underwrote special status and identity of Kashmiris, whose rights he could not have bartered away anyway.
It also shuts all other avenues of settlement including bilateral negotiations or third party mediation unless Modi reverses the illegal and unilateral decision of annexation, which appears unlikely. America, Germany and France counselling Pakistan to exercise restraint and resolve the issue bilaterally need to first make the aggressor vacate illegal annexation without which the suggestion is not only impracticable but illogical and removed from reality. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan is absolutely right in ruling out any negotiations with India under the circumstances. The only course open and way forward is through implementation of the Security Council Resolutions on Kashmir. All other matters are peripheral, resolution of which will automatically follow.
—The writer is a media professional, member of Pioneering team of PTV and a veteran ex Director Programmes.


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