Is the Sewak losing to the Skipper?
As Imran Khan’s government completes a year, it might have lagged in meeting people’s expectations in several sectors. Yet, let us admit, Pakistan is successfully refurbishing its image internationally, much of which is to the credit of the Prime Minister. With regaining US’s trust and playing a role in the Afghan peace process, Pakistan is fast coming out of the diplomatic isolation, which Modi had once proudly claimed to have pushed it into. Underestimating the change, the over-confidence with which the Narendra Modi-led government of India has scraped off the special status of Kashmir, a bone of contention between the two countries for the past 73 years, has, thus, the potential of proving lethal for India’s glorified image of being a secular state and the largest democracy.
In the past one year, other than bagging some crucial favours to aid the country’s dwindling foreign reserves and eluding the looming threats of default over the country’s economy, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s efforts towards developing a crucial balance in Pakistan’s relations with its neighbour, Iran, and the Gulf region depicts a fresh and promising change on the diplomatic front for Pakistan. Besides the Persian Gulf region, Pakistan’s increased visibility at the SCO Summit, a revival of Russia-Pakistan relations, and successful negotiations with China on the second phase of CPEC are all indicators that Pakistan is on the right path towards reclaiming its position in the region. The endorsement of Pakistan’s role in the Afghan peace process that came from Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on his first visit to Islamabad in three years was a milestone for the Khan government’s redefined foreign policy priorities. From blaming Pakistan for the US’s failure in Afghanistan to the acknowledgement of Pakistan’s services and its importance in a peaceful way out of the biggest fiasco the US has brought upon itself, the ice on US-Pak relations is melting fast as well.
Khan’s visit to the US was further testimony to the notion that the man knows how to play his cards. However, Pakistan’s jubilation over Trump’s unanticipated anecdote about mediation in Kashmir was short-lived as the BJP government bifurcated and scraped off Kashmir’s special status in a hasty move shortly after.
In a clever move to touch the nerve of the western world, Imran Khan compared Narendra Modi to Hitler
The unpreparedness of Pakistan for the presidential decree on Kashmir, despite clear indications from New Delhi, was disappointing but it did not take long for the government to recover from the initial shock of the decision. Two days after the act, the foreign minister announced the decisions of the National Security Council’s meeting convened to discuss Indian aggression in Kashmir, laden with the ambition to highlight the issue internationally. Downgrading diplomatic relations with India was the first of the announcements made alongside a suspension of bilateral trade with India and a review of bilateral arrangements. The moves depicted Pakistan’s commitment to Kashmir, but the first real success for the country against its neighbour is the commencement of the UN Security Council’s special meeting that was called on the issue of Kashmir for the first time in 54 years. There is not much that was expected from the meeting, as India has paid no regard for the earlier resolutions of the council; calling for a plebiscite in the state but the mere conveyance of the meeting is a blow to the Indian insistence on claiming Kashmir an internal issue. Going alongside is a well-crafted, well thought of campaign by Pakistan utilising the fifth-generation warfare tool; social media, which India has always been on top of. A course for the campaign was given by the premier during his speech to the joint session of the parliament earlier this month. In a clever move to touch the nerve of the western world, Imran Khan compared Narendra Modi to Hitler, to the dismay of many locally, to whom a more befitting comparison would have been that of Palestine and Israel. Prime Minister has been repeatedly voicing his concerns and calling for action on Kashmir; a ghetto where the racist government of India is practising its Nazi-inspired ideology of Hindutva.
The Indian government is failing to find a suitable comeback amid the calls from within on its blatant human rights violations and communications blackout in the valley. While the local media joined the government in the chorus, much to India’s frustration, the international media and independent sources did not take long to call out the bluff. It has since declared war on not just social media accounts of those who are vocal on the issue but also targeted a reputable media house like BBC accusing it of presenting a distorted picture of the situation on the ground, even though the local intelligentsia has a similar account of the ground reality. To exacerbate the situation further BJP’s leadership, to appeal to its vote bank, are making sexist remarks and encouraging hate crimes, adding to the resentment of its minorities and the international community. Just hours ahead of the UNSC’s meeting that India has failed to prevent from commencing, the Indian Defense Minister indicated towards a change in the “no first use” nuclear arms policy of the state. A threat emanating from the state’s frustration needs the world to take the issue more seriously. Pakistan may not be in a position to coerce India into undoing what it has done, it has for sure put it on a defensive for now.
This article was originally published at:
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint or stance of SDPI.