Imran Khan's Naya Pakistan sings old Kashmir tune but world turns a deaf ear
- Pakistan's interior minister admits failure over Kashmir narrative
- Ijaz Ahmed says the world is not believing Pakistani version of Kashmir story
- Imran Khan government has led an aggressive yet unsuccessful campaign against India over Kashmir
Ijaz Ahmed Shah, the interior minister in the Imran Khan government, has admitted in a television interview that "people don't believe us in the international community" when Pakistan briefs them with their narrative on Kashmir. "They believe India, not us," Ijaz Ahmed Shah said.
This is significant given that Ijaz Ahmed Shah is not a regular politician in Pakistan. He was a brigadier-rank officer in the Pakistan Army, headed Punjab unit of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), was chief of Intelligence Bureau of Pakistan under Pervez Musharraf rule and is considered one of the few men in Pakistan to know the parallel regime of terrorism fully. His name cropped up in Benazir Bhutto's assassination plot and was accused of keeping Osama bin Laden from the US agencies in the safe house of Abbottabad.
He is not the first Pakistani minister to admit abject failure of the Imran Khan government in selling its narrative of recent developments in Jammu and Kashmir. Another veteran of Pakistan politics and governance, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the foreign minister in the Imran Khan government, has said a few times that "the world is not standing with open arms to receive us" over the Kashmir issue.
In fact, only juvenile politicians in the Imran Khan government were seen very enthusiastic with their Kashmir narrative only to get a rude shock. Even Prime Minister Imran Khan's public hyperbole stemmed from the fact that he is still new in his job.
Had Imran Khan looked back a little, he could have known what Ijaz Ahmed Shah confessed in the TV interview that "this is not the doing of one day. The ruling elite of Pakistan destroyed this countryWe lost it. People thought we are not a responsible nation." This is true. In world's viewpoint, Pakistan is a failed state. Imran Khan has failed to change this perception.
In the election campaign, he promised to build a Naya Pakistan shunning terrorism, animosity towards India and focusing on development of Pakistan. But he has ended up singing the same old Kashmir tune to hide his failures and to save his government from military encroachment.
Unabashed Kashmir agenda of Pakistan
Pakistan's Kashmir agenda has been brazenly open for decades. It has openly made fomenting trouble in Kashmir its state and military policy. Every successive government and military leadership in Pakistan backed terrorism and separatism in Kashmir. They kept supporting, funding, arming and training terrorists in Kashmir with the single-point agenda of waging war against India.
A security response was bound to happen. Every responsible country understood this. Now, when India has changed the law (ending special status of Jammu and Kashmir) that was long held as the cover and alibi for separatism and terrorism, Pakistan is complaining to the world that there is trouble in Kashmir. Its doublespeak stands exposed.
At the same time, India has convinced the world that Pakistan is an exporter of terrorism to Jammu and Kashmir and the rest of India.
Pakistan's record in handling terror
Pakistan's own record in tackling terrorism has been pathetic. All major terror groups have found safe haven in Pakistan. Kashmir-oriented or anti-India terror groups, beginning from the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), Jaish-e-Mohammed, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hizbul Mujahideen and terrorists such as Masood Azhar and Hafiz Saeed have all found special patronage from Pakistan.
In one of the TV interviews, Pakistan's former President Pervez Musharraf said these terrorists were their heroes before the US turned heat on Pakistan to rein in their organisations. The West woke up to the dangers of terrorism that India had been facing after al Qaeda carried 9/11 attacks in America in 2001.
The Haqqani network and Taliban suddenly came in the focus of the West, which blames Pakistan for terror infrastructure across the globe. They don't intend to give weightage to a proven terror sponsor for the situation in Kashmir which essentially brewed from terrorism exported from Pakistan.
Pakistan's disregard for international treaties
Pakistan never respected UN resolution on Jammu and Kashmir or the bilateral agreement with India. The UN resolution on Kashmir in 1948 called for withdrawal of all the forces by Pakistan from entire Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan did not pay heed to it.
It further tried to alter the status quo in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) by carving out separate territory of Gilgit-Baltistan from PoK. Pakistan also gifted a part of the land belonging to Jammu and Kashmir to China in utter disregard for not only the UN resolution but to its own claim on Jammu and Kashmir. This betrayed Pakistani thinking that Kashmir can only be a "prized booty of war" that it waged by attacking J&K in 1947.
Jammu and Kashmir is India
On the other hand, the world is generally convinced that Jammu and Kashmir belongs to India. Its only concern with regard to Jammu and Kashmir is the allegations of human rights violations against security forces deployed in the Kashmir Valley.
No world power has questioned presence of large number of security personnel in Jammu and Kashmir but many have raised concerns from time to time over complaints of human rights violations. Groupings like OIC too have not questioned the status of Jammu and Kashmir in relation to Union of India.
Pakistan's continuous rant against India over Kashmir for decades has reached a level of boredom in international diplomacy. This is seen in the backdrop of the state of progress and entitlement of human rights in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, including the Gilgit-Baltistan region.
Except China, which has invested far too much in Pakistan and is a party in Kashmir through its capture of Aksai Chin in the 1962 war, no other country has shown any inclination to offer Pakistan a face-saver after its over a month-long exercise of anti-India campaign.