- And the myth of Muslim Ummah
Prime Minister Imran Khan betrayed his ignorance about the BJP’s politics when he wished Narendra Modi to be re-elected Indian PM, hoping that this would pave the way for peace talks between Pakistan and India. This is despite the revocation of Article 370 enjoying a prominent place in BJP’s election manifesto.
Thanks to China, the Kashmir dispute came under discussion in three UNSC meetings in the last 12 months. By including Aksai Chin in India’s map the BJP government made China an active player in Ladakh.
Mr Khan was enthusiastic about a summit of Muslim majority countries in Kuala Lumpur called last year by then Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohammad which could become a platform to project the Palestine and Kashmir issues. However, under pressure from “friends”, Mr Khan excused himself from attendance at the eleventh hour. The sudden about-turn did not help the Kashmir cause.
In the final analysis the battle for Kashmir is to be waged by the Kashmiri people themselves. Pakistan has fought wars with India over the issue without any meaningful outcome. Pakistan is however a party to the Kashmir dispute. Besides close historical and ethnic ties with the Kashmiri people, the rivers that constitute Pakistan’s lifeline come from the Valley and Ladakh. Kashmir is thus Pakistan’s jugular vein.
Kashmir does not however hit a nerve with all Muslim countries. Under the circumstances, whatever little any country can do for the cause should be welcomed. The PTI’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has acted like a bull in a china shop by making undiplomatic remarks about Saudi Arabia. The task of a diplomat is to turn an enemy into a neutral person, and a neutral person into a friend. What Mr Qureshi has done is the opposite. Pakistan had declined to help Saudi Arabia militarily when the latter launched its war against Yemen, and rightly so. If Saudi Arabia thinks that the convening of OIC’s Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) on Kashmir does not suit its national interest, there is no need to fulminate against Riyadh. Meanwhile, if a number of other countries are willing to do more, and bringing them into a closer union with Pakistan would help the Kashmir cause, let us go ahead without adopting a hostile attitude against those who are unwilling to go beyond a certain point on the issue.