- Need to internationalise the issue
India has crossed the red line by annexing occupied Kashmir in violation of its commitments to the UN and the Security Council’s resolutions. Fearing a mass uprising against the illegal act, it has locked down the Valley which has remained under curfew for the last ten days. The decision by the Pakistan government to observe Independence Day as “Kashmir Solidarity Day’ is a message to the Kashmiris that Pakistan stands by them and will continue to extend moral and diplomatic support to their struggle. The gesture by Pakistan is also meant to convey to India that Pakistan rejects the forced annexation as an illegal and immoral act.
Pakistan has sought an emergency meeting of the Security Council. Here the purpose should be to explain the highly negative implications of the Indian act for regional peace and security. Pakistan’s ambassador to the USA has given an interview to The New York Times and got an article published in The Washington Post highlighting India’s arrogant indifference to the region’s peace and stability. There is a need on the part of the country’s ambassadors in important countries to similarly engage with the mainstream media to highlight the Kashmir issue. The PM’s latest phone calls elicited a positive response from Iranian President Hasan Rouhani while Indonesian President Joko Widodo agreed that there was a need to resolve the issue peacefully and within the framework of international law. One has yet to see Prime Minister Imran Khan getting a positive response from the Western countries. Pakistan has to try harder to keep the issue of Kashmir alive at the international level.
As wars have failed to resolve the Kashmir issue, there is a need now to take recourse to non-military means to achieve the purpose. What must be underscored is that only an economically strong Pakistan can continue to extend meaningful support to the Kashmiris while continuing to remain an attraction for them. Pakistan needs to take the hard measures required to improve its economy so that it can divert more funds to education, manpower training and health to generate confidence in investors, help the wheels of industry run faster, create jobs and bring prosperity to the country.