- But has Pakistan a strategy to win it?
One year after stripping the occupied Kashmir of its autonomy and turning the whole region into a virtual jail, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has failed to pacify Indian-Occupied Kashmir. Fearing widespread anti-India protests on the anniversary of the black day, curfew was imposed in the occupied Valley ahead of August 5.
The PTI government has no Kashmir strategy beyond renaming an Islamabad road as Srinagar Highway and the Prime Minister and President leading walks on the black day. One expects from the Foreign Minister a realistic line of action instead of relying solely on hopes of offering prayers in Srinagar one day. Achievement of national goals is possible only if the leadership has prepared sound road maps. Instead of relying on vacuous ideas the government should have taken the opposition on board to prepare a well-thought-out national narrative and effective strategy to give it material shape.
Before issuing a new map of the country displaying IOK, Siachen, and certain areas of India’s Gujrat State as parts of Pakistan’s territory, the matter should have been discussed in Parliament as it involves sensitive issues and requires answers to important questions. For the last seven decades both India and Pakistan has consistently maintained that the entire Kashmir is a disputed territory and the issue can only be resolved through a referendum conducted under the UN supervision. This is why AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan were given no representation in Pakistan’s parliament.
The meeting in the Foreign Office where opposition leaders were also invited was meant to provide a briefing. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi however called it an APC and maintained that the opposition also endorsed the government’s Kashmir policy. Mr Qureshi’s remarks were bound to give birth to controversy, which is least desired at the moment.
While the President and Prime Minister have led protest walks, it would have been appreciated by the Kashmiris if the opposition had also put up a show of force to condemn the barbarities in Indian-Occupied Kashmir and to support the Kashmiri people. There is a need now to take the Kashmir issue to international forums. Besides the standard playbook, there would be need for thinking outside the box. Will the PTI shape up or come a cropper?