- A victory for diplomacy
The Kashmir issue was raised once again after nearly 50 years in the United Nations Security Council. The Council, which is charged with ensuring peace and security in the world, set aside the standard Indian excuse that occupied Kashmir being India’s internal matter, it could not be discussed at any international forum. The 15-nation body heard briefings from the UN Assistant Secretary General for peace building support and the UN Military Adviser for peacekeeping operations.
A respectable section of the print media in the US, Britain and even India had contributed to awareness about the Kashmir issue by covering the arrests of hundreds of political workers and leaders and the hardships faced by common people due to the lockdown of the Valley. They had also highlighted that peaceful protests in reaction to the revocation of Article 370 were dispersed by recourse to teargas shelling and pellet guns firing. Unlike Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who was criticised for some of his dispiriting remarks in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative at the UN strongly pleaded Pakistan’s case before the SC members prior to the meeting. But for the help from Pakistan’s all-weather friend China, it still might not have been possible to convene the meeting.
Military means having failed to resolve the Kashmir issue, now is the time for diplomacy to take over. The Foreign Office would have to play a vital role in weeks and months to come. Ambassadors in key world capitals would have to be told to engage media and opinion makers. Members of the Pakistani and Kashmiri communities abroad would have to be motivated to hold seminars and walks to create public opinion in support of the Kashmiris’ struggle for their rights. The Pakistan government will have to raise the issue at all international forums.
The Prime Minister has to put an end to the polarisation in the country and unite the nation. The first step should be to get released all those opposition leaders who are under arrest without being sentenced by any court. Only a united Pakistan can talk to India with confidence. Meanwhile Parliament needs to be taken on board over steps being taken to resolve the Kashmir issue.