The Kashmir issue and  Pakistan’s options by Ansar M Bhatti


August 5, 2019 decision of Indian parliament to change status of Kashmir seems to have backfired as Modi government since then is struggling against all sorts of odds both at home and abroad. The Congress party, the main opposition party in India, has already girded up its loins against BJP thus giving it a tough time to the extent that the Modi government, out of sheer frustration, has started a political witch-hunt. It is also because of this frustration that the incumbent Indian government has resorted to persecution of minorities including a vast Muslim population. The Indian govt presumably wants to muzzle all dissenting voices being raised after its unlawful and unwarranted action in occupied Kashmir without knowing the fact that all such coercive measures would ultimately end up in uniting the suppressed class of so-called biggest democracy of the world. Such tactics would surely prove a recipe of disaster for India particularly in Kashmir.

By doing away with the constitutional provisions India in fact has exhausted all its options on Kashmir and provided Pakistan with an ample chance of not only raising this issue at all available forums but to resurrect this matter in the Security Council also, which it has ably done. Now the question is, is it enough to bring Indian under pressure to withdraw its decision? Certainly not. It may be a humble beginning. It needs a fearless follow up to force India for a revision of the decision.

Unlike, India seems to have put itself in a vantage position by scrapping the constitutional provision. Pakistan now will have to make sure that the decision is withdrawn and India is forced for a plebiscite in occupied Kashmir as per the UN resolutions. The task is arduous and uphill.

Pakistani leadership is trying to make the world understand that the Indian decision would drive the region towards precipice. Both countries happen to be the nuclear powers – a fact which makes things more complicated for any armed conflict would prove fatal for the region and the world at large. Despite our ‘frantic’ efforts, the world seems least interested in playing any role on this issue. Disappointing response from the Muslim world must compel the Pakistani political and security leadership to sit together and try to find causes of such a lukewarm response. Insipid response from the Western world was expected though keeping in view huge business interests that those countries have in India.

The incumbent PTI government needs to focus more on foreign front, which can be done through proactive approach and by engaging with the foreign missions based in Pakistan. Regrettably our foreign office mandarins have not made any such effort. Lack of coordination has virtually left us in the lurch and tyranny of the matter is that we still are not ready to learn from our mistakes.

Instead of blaming others for all our woes, we need to put our own house in order which can be done only by achieving self-reliance especially in the economic field. Fact of the matter is that edifice of Pakistan’s economy is erected on international financial institutions and loans and grants from friendly countries. This is not the way to manage economy. It may be a stopgap arrangement but not a permanent one. During last one year our exports have dropped down to an alarming extent. Abnormal devaluation of rupee is yet another factor that has not only dealt a deadly blow to our economy but continues to take a heavy toll on hapless Pakistanis.

Governance remained at the lowest ebb during the first year of PTI government with level of corruption increased considerably. Prime Minister Imran Khan needs to immediately grapple with this situation before it gets too late. In order to make world realize that Pakistan is a strong and self reliant country, we have to stand on our own feet, which is possible only by achieving economic independence. We must keep in mind that beggars can’t be choosers!