September Issue 2019

By | Editor's Note | Published 5 years ago

Pakistan watched with dismay as the UAE government conferred the highest civilian award, Order of Zayed, on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, even as Indian troops were committing genocide in Kashmir to quell the protests following the withdrawal of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, altering the status of the Kashmir Valley. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s pleas to refrain from giving the architect of the genocide this honour fell on deaf ears.

Just like in February this year, when then Indian External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj, was invited as ‘guest of honour’ to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Conference, despite Pakistan’s protests in view of the Balakot strike, across the LoC. Ironically, it’s not the UAE alone, but other Muslim countries as well that have bestowed assorted awards on the Indian premier. Pakistan’s dream of a unified Muslim Ummah that will speak and act for the entire Muslim World will remain just that – a dream.

It’s not about religion; never was. It’s about the economy, stupid, to quote former American President, Clinton.

India, the economic giant, is calling the shots – literally. And despite the gut-wrenching stories of brutality and repression emerging from Kashmir in the international media – The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, BBC and CNN – the world is silent, as is the Indian media (subsumed by its corporate interests), barring a few exceptions.

Even US President Trump, who had twice offered to mediate on Kashmir –  once in his meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan in Washington, last month – has gone on the backfoot; he is now asking the two countries to resolve the Kashmir issue bilaterally. The question is how, given that India is consistently refusing to come to the table, using ad nauseam the ‘terrorism’ card against Pakistan.

As for the UN, the international forum that should have helped resolve the dispute by delivering on its 1948 promise of holding a plebiscite, woke up after 54 years and held a 90-minute closed door meeting, which ended without so much as a press statement. If the Security Council’s permanent members continue to hold sway, one can expect the next meeting on Kashmir to be held 54 years from now, if ever.

Pakistan must also share the blame. Kashmir has been relegated to the backburner time and again, and its various Parliamentary Committees on Kashmir, headed by seasoned politicians like Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan and Maulana Fazlur Rehman, did little to keep the Kashmir issue alive.

However, more than the Maulana or the Nawabzada’s inaction, it is actions across the border that are coming back to haunt us – the infiltration of Pakistan’s non-state actors into Kashmir, the Mumbai attack, the strike on the Indian Parliament. India is consistently using these as a trump card against Pakistan. However, on no account must Pakistan even consider taking any unilateral action across the border. War is not, and should not be an option – more so when both countries are armed with nuclear weapons – despite the war cries from assorted quarters. Pakistan must continue to exercise its moral, diplomatic and political options to expose India’s belligerence, intransigence and flagrant violation of human rights.

Additionally, it must empower the AJK government and let them play a lead role as the official representatives of the former state of Jammu and Kashmir.

And finally, it must stop raising the slogan of “Kashmir banega Pakistan” and stress on giving Kashmiris the right of self-determination.

Rehana Hakim is one of the core team of journalists that helped start Newsline. She has been the editor-in-chief since 1996.

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