On Kashmir it is time to either put up or shut up by Ansar Mahmood Bhatti


September 27, 2019 will go down in the annals of history of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf as a ‘landmark’ day because Prime Minister Imran Khan delivered a speech that virtually gave a new lease of life to the ruling party, which was under huge criticism from even the die-hard party workers, who believed the party had miserably failed in living up to its promises made during the election drive. There is no dearth of PTI critics who still believe that PM’s speech, though was an excellent narration of Pakistan’s point of view on the Kashmir issues, yet it was only a breather for a short span of time and PTI had to deliver on its vows and promises if it really wanted to stay on for remaining period of its tenure.

There is no denying the fact that the speech went quite well both at home and abroad and Prime Minister Imran Khan lived up to the expectations as far as projection and highlighting the Kashmir issue at the international forum was concerned. That is why he was accorded a rousing welcome by the PTI workers and ministers when the he landed at Islamabad International Airport.

While Pakistan appears to have snatched world attention towards Kashmir issue thru this speech, the fact remains that the controversial decision of the Indian government still stands and miseries of Kashmiri people continue to multiply with the each passing day as curfew is still in place. This is not for the first time that a Pakistani leader delivered fiery speech at the UN. Former Prime Ministers Zulifiqar Ali Bhutto and his daughter Benazir Bhutto had delivered more or less similar speeches. Even former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif did mention Kashmir whenever he chose to address the UN General Assembly. Intriguingly, despite all such tirades, we have not been able to draw serious world response to this issue.

Even response from the so-called Muslim ummah has been disappointing and lackluster. The OIC, whom I often call as a dead wood, too reacted quite late and therefore its reaction did not bother Indians at all. Turkey and Malaysia whole-heartedly supported Pakistan and assured full support for which Pakistan must be indebted to them.

Pakistani people have a very short memory. They will soon forget what PM Iram Khan said at the UN and in what fashion. After few days people will again start assessing govt performance according to its claims and election vows. Ostensibly, during last one year bad governance, plight of economy and wrong choice of people for various jobs have all taken a heavy toll on people for after passage of one year the government itself is not sure whether it is really in-charge of the affairs – what to talk of general public.

The main reason of govt’s below the belt performance happens to be presence of too many power houses both at the Center and provincial level. Everybody who has some say in the party is calling the shots. Such elements have invested so heavily in the party that the party head even seems helpless in front of such power houses. With a disjointed party structure; poor governance and hostile Opposition, the government will head nowhere. Even on Kashmir, all speeches and actions can bear fruit provided all stakeholders including the Opposition parties are on the same page. The enemy hatches its conspiracies and executes nefarious designs after due diligence and proper homework. It exactly knows what our shortcomings are then exploits them to its benefit. Any dovish posture from our side would in fact encourage the enemy to ride on us.

Any breakthrough on Kashmir is possible only if our side resorts to some hard decisions such as escalation on the border and Line of Control (LoC). Mere speeches and rhetoric may not help force India to allow a plebiscite in the Occupied Kashmir. Enemies would only take you seriously if they are dealt with in the language they understand. Therefore it is time that we should either put up or shut up!!