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Diplomacy Human Rights Politics

It’s Time To Revisit Our Narrative, Get Out Of Mindset Leading To Nothing But Isolation

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Statecraft is treacherous and devoid of humanity. Ego and territory matters more than humanity.

Kashmir is an unsettled agenda that has kept the two neighbours barb political wires for 70 years and add on to their military might, while the Kashmiris continued to bleed. Modi’s government scrapped Articles 370 and 35A. It means that today’s India doesn’t belong to Nehru’s school of thought but to RSS-Modi’s which is barbaric and ruthless to Kashmiris. It puts forth hollow claims that their policies are to serve the people, while the people in Kashmir are crucified on the altar of nationalism.

The Indian state-led oppression, violence, gagging and violations of human rights in IHK hasn’t been able to scratch global attention. So what’s new? The calculus this time is very different – Kashmiris face a potential ethnic cleansing. Can the world afford one?

My generation has grown on a slogan ‘Kashmir Baney Ga Pakistan’, statements and resolutions that we will continue to morally support our Kashmiri brethren and their right to self-determination. Now is the time they need us but the government of the day has a weak hand of indirect options.

Why? Because we are in era of political persecution, drowning economy and clueless foreign policy. Why I say it? Because to date, Prime Minister Imran Khan has failed to put forth either a firm policy statement on Kashmir, or lead the national politics by capitalising offer of political unity for the cause. Lack of focus and targeted approach from Parliament to diplomatic front and poor scorecard thanks to the FATF grey list further weighs the government down.

So what Prime Minister Imran Khan should not do is to even put war as an option. Economically, it would be a killer for India, much that Pakistan can’t afford it either.

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What it should do is to rise above party politics and encash personally-cultivated relationships of ex- PMs and national politicians to be Pakistan’s emissary. IK has to think 10 steps ahead to guess what are RSS-India plans for Pakistan? For RSS, the Partition is as ‘illegitimate’ as special status of Kashmir. So Azad Kashmir can be the next adventure land if India remains unchecked by global world.

It’s time to revisit our narrative by trying to get out of the mindset enshrined in rhetorical, self-righteous, self-proclaimed ideals, leading to nothing but isolation. IK needs to engage thought leaders, foreign policy experts and lobbyists to firm up a multi-pronged diplomatic offence. Unfortunately he read Modi all wrong and Pakistan, despite anticipation, diplomatically did not sound the world that how delivering on an election promise by the Modi government, ref Kashmir, can destabilise the Subcontinent. We failed to warn the world that what would be the cost of miscalculation if the whole region is tinkered simultaneously – Iran, Kashmir, Afghanistan. Each has a bearing on the other.

The UNSC discussion on Kashmir will in itself will be an achievement being a first since 1965. It belies the Indian argument that J&K is an internal matter. The first priority should be to ensure that our diplomatic efforts can keep it an international agenda item. We need global lobbyists to keep the issue alive.

As per Economist, the dominant mood in global markets is not complacency, but anxiety which is deepening by the day. The safe-haven dollar is up against many currencies. Gold is at a six-year high. Oil prices have sunk. Hence, economy and economic interest than gravity of the issue would be at helm of UNSC members as well be it France supporting India; China supporting Pakistan or US offering mediation. We need regional and global strategist/ lobbyists highlighting how a security situation in the region will sink the investment for all.

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The much-touted US mediation offer stands deflated post-State Department’s statement, warning Pakistan against any infiltration and watching India’s Kashmir move. However, Trump government needs Afghanistan pull out for its own election. Could a Kashmir for Afghan trade-off be an option? Why not? Now is the time to test its worth.

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