- The visit was about Kashmir too
By: Muhammad Sohail Ahmed
Upon assuming charge o, one year ago, the PTI leadership expressed its apprehensions about the way the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor was planned or executed. After one year, our leadership seems to have registered that CPEC is not what previous governments had conceived, but was part of the greater One Belt One Road Initiative of the Chinese government that was going to benefit Pakistan by default. Pakistan and China are now talking about shared vision in future.
There is one huge impediment in achieving this objective, the Indian vision, part of which is aimed at full annexation of Kashmir. Ladakh is the region where the Chinese have a claim denied by India. With the abrogation of article 370 and 35A, there are implications for China besides Pakistan which has a claim on the state of Kashmir as a Muslim-majority state. In the light of the UN resolution, the Indian government is required to hold plebiscite in the region under UN supervision. Unfortunately, it is now claiming it to be an internal affair of India which is a violation of the UN resolution.
Besides the state machinery is bent upon victimization of the local population including women and children in a manner which is not admissible under any law. Oppression of the local Kashmiri Muslims against their free will is a crime that the Indian government is committing without examining the outcome of such behaviour. In the Holy Quran, Allah cites numerous examples of the great nations of the past that achieved aggrandizement and high stature among the community of nations. However, when they did not follow the righteous path of Allah, they got doomed. Therefore, to make that progress sustainable it is essential to follow the divine principles.
A high-level meeting with Chinese officials should be held soon after the visit of the Chinese President to India. The joint strategy and shared future of Pakistan with China are likely to accrue favourable results for the countries. In case the Indian leadership decides to continue its policies, the shared future of Pakistan with China will emerge brighter and brighter and India as a state will be certainly doomed
The PM appears to be in search of those principles as he mentioned in his address in China that he wanted to ensure an accountability mechanism to punish the corrupt public office bearers. He went to China accompanied by the COAS, probably to emphasize security to the engineers working on the CPEC and other Chinese investors/traders in Pakistan. The confidence-building is necessary to obtain Chinese investments in Pakistan. Thirdly, he emphasized poverty alleviation as he showed keenness to study Chinese model of improving the living conditions of the common man. His objectives for taking the CPEC from phase one to phase two and beyond seem to pivot in achieving the above-stated objectives.
Why was this visit planned just before the visit of the Chinese president to India? It will be useful for the Chinese to analyze the situation as the Indian step seems to be threatening the Chinese Road and Belt initiative. The Indian Foreign Minister has stated that now the negotiations with Pakistan will be on Azad Kashmir. This is a unilateral action which the Chinese have denounced in their declaration with Pakistan’s visiting team of Prime Minister.
It appears that with the new Pivot Asia policy the Indians have been emboldened in their actions and deeds. This calls for a definite and adroit response to stop further irresponsible actions by the Indian government. Lip service at this stage is too mild to do as the poor people of Kashmir are expecting a helping hand from their Pakistani brothers. Several attempts have been made by the protesters, doctors for humanitarian aid and even by the US senators who were turned down by the Indian government. There is a requirement to generate a tough response on atrocities being committed in the Indian occupied Kashmir. Minorities, particularly in India, are facing a tough situation. Hindu extremism is also manifesting in the Indian government actions in Assam where a large number of Muslims have been denied the citizenship of India.
After demolishing the Babri Masjid the next step is to convert it to Ram Mandir. Export of cow meat from India is also being reduced due to the religious obligations of the Hindu religion. This needs a strong diplomatic response and availing of the opportunity to fill the gap created in the commercial market of beef in the Gulf region. To promote exports from Pakistan there has been a consensus to go beyond the CPEC framework.
The proposed cooperation agreed by both Pakistan and China is in the fields of industrial, infrastructural, economic development, social uplift and education must be aimed at enabling Pakistan’s economy to grow and ultimately get rid of the IMF and World Bank. Since Pakistan has recently announced the establishment of CPEC Authority for expeditious implementation of these projects, it should also be given the mandate to oversee progress of CPEC and report to the government on the accomplishment of above-stated objectives. Other ministries should work hand in glove to speed up completion of phase two followed by an economic uplift plan. Pakistan government must also develop pressure on the Indian government in support of oppressed Kashmiri Muslims through steps such as mobilizing its armed forces close to the Indian border in a war-prepared state. It should consider appropriate sanctions on all imports of Indian goods, deny the use of its air and water space for commercial purposes and highlight irresponsible atrocities on the minorities in India.
A high-level meeting with Chinese officials should be held soon after the visit of the Chinese President to India. The joint strategy and shared future of Pakistan with China are likely to accrue favourable results for the countries. In case the Indian leadership decides to continue its policies, the shared future of Pakistan with China will emerge brighter and brighter and India as a state will be certainly doomed.
The author is a retired commodore of the Pakistan Navy, and can be reached at [email protected]