Imran Khan on Kashmir

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Prime Minister Imran Khan has warned the United Nations on 27th September that his country’s dispute with India over Kashmir can escalate into an all-out nuclear war that would have consequences for the world. In a fiery speech lasting 50 minutes, Khan said India had unleashed a “bloodbath” in the Muslim-majority territory i.e. Kashmir. His heated speech stood in stark contrast to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address an hour earlier, when the Hindu nationalist leader touted domestic successes but made only an oblique reference to terrorism, taken to mean Pakistan.

Indian-administered Kashmir has been under lockdown since New Delhi scrapped its semi-autonomous status in early August, and Khan said armed forces there would turn on the population after the curfew was lifted. “There are 900,000 troops there, they haven’t come to, as Narendra Modi says – for the prosperity of Kashmir,” Khan said. “These 900,000 troops, what are they going to do? When they come out?

In response Vidisha Maitra, First Secretary Ministry of External Affairs, exercising India’s right of reply to Khan’s speech, said on the same night: “Rarely has the General Assembly witnessed “such misuse, rather abuse, of an opportunity to reflect.” She said the choice of Khan’s words to attack India, like “pogrom”, “bloodbath”, “racial superiority”, “pick up the gun” and “fight to the end”, reflected a “medieval mindset”. She said Pakistan’s “virulent reaction to the removal of provision (Article 370) that was hindering development and integration of Indian-administered Kashmir stems from the fact that those who thrive on conflict never welcome the ray of peace”.

India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars over the Himalayan region and have been locked in a standoff since Aug. 5, when Modi stripped limited autonomy from the portion of Kashmir that India controls. The two nations’ appearances at the U.N. General Assembly annual meeting of leaders this week had been highly anticipated in both the region and on the meeting’s sidelines.

Now Imran Khan is back in country and we have to look forward from his speech that was highly impressive and created a current like awareness among international community. But speeches are speeches like Bhutto did in Sept 1965 and then in Security Council in 1971 but both speeches could not stop signing of Tashkent Declaration in favor of India and then happening of dismemberment of Pakistan in 1971.

So now the same situation has emerged on the issue of Kashmir. Here we need a clear vision that how to move forward that can go in favor of millions of Kasmiris. If we rely only on creating awareness on issue of Kashmir that we should, than it should be done  by supporting “right of plebiscite” for the people of Kasmirirs and not on rhetoric that Kashmir “Banega Pakistan” or Kashmir “Banega Hindustan” as being propagated from the Indian side. Secondly we should make our road map on ground realities. Leave aside GCC, but no regional country is supporting Pakistan on this issue including Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka or Afghanistan. Like in 2018 and 2019 address to the General Assembly, Haseena Wajid, PM of Bangladesh invited attention of the world that in 1971, lacs of Bengalis were murdered and lacs of women were raped by Pakistan Military. Gone is gone but forward looking we should keep in mind all such confrontations? Hence we have to create a conducive environment first of all in the region.

No one is suspecting intention of Imran Khan but his team around him is too weak with no vision and Imran Khan should take responsibility of his wrong selections and for ongoing chaos. Specifically economy is in such a situation that it is developing anti government and anti imran sentiments.

It is in the international media that Indian economy has gone down drastically and millions of workforce is going to be unemployed. It is being said that to divert attention of people of India from such draconian scenario, Modi intentionally changed the status of Kashmir to create an environment on both sides of border making allegations against each other and by creating war hysteria so that actual issues of people may go on the back. To some extent this is also happening in case of Pakistan as well.

Another horrible scenario can be that by threatening nuclear war both countries have created suspicion among international community that these countries are not capable to withhold their nuclear arsenal. This can threaten Pakistan that any foreign force can attack to capitulate nuclear arsenal like they did in case of Abbotabad attack where Bin Laden was assassinated.

So without any hesitation everyone would say that Imran Khan has to come up with a good team to move forward on domestic issues particularly on economy and on foreign issues by getting support from as many countries as possible. Further he should avoid words in case of extreme scenarios.  He should also remain aware of those people in media or other circles who are painting an image of him that he is doing everything perfect and he is the hero of the century.

However there is a chance that in the person of a bold, honest and dedicated leader, Pakistan has been offered an historic opportunity to address its multiple external challenges, play a constructive role in resolving regional disputes and promote critical global objectives. Success will depend crucially on the skill and diligence of Pakistan’s foreign ministry and its security agencies with its economic team.

Hence government is required to continue and fulfill its role and responsibility.

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