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What Could Have Been Done? Accountability Required After The Kashmir Episode

Financial corruption has damaged our society but a dereliction of duty is even more severe cause behind our decline than that and has to be addressed. No nation can succeed if it does not holds its officeholders accountable for their actions. It is quite clear from the Kashmir fiasco that both civilian leadership and establishment have failed this nation. This is a seismic event and should not be taken lightly as it will have a far deeper impact on our very survival as a sovereign nation.

We don’t know if it was wilful neglect, faulty systems or lack of capability of the decision-makers that hurt our interests in Kashmir. This needs to be ascertained by creating a joint committee of the National Assembly and the Senate, comprising the majority of opposition members. The committee should find out facts about the following:

1. When did the government come to know about the Indian intentions to change the status quo in Kashmir? 

2. What steps were taken to protect Pakistan’s national interests in Kashmir when it was clear during Modi’s election campaign that he intends to alter the status quo?

3. Why did the Prime Minister of Pakistan issue a statement of support for Modi during Indian general elections when his election manifesto included unilateral action in Occupied Kashmir?

The objective of this exercise is not to engage in blame game but to find out flaws in our decision-making process. This will help us identify areas of improvement. The current state of affairs is evidence of deterioration of our decisions and a substantial increase in errors of judgment.

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I am critical of bad decisions of Imran Khan which make his cult followers very angry. They send me private messages asking what could have been done, justifying that he is doing everything he can and that I just criticize without offering any solution. I want to answer these questions hoping that the blind followers will open their eyes and see the light of the day that their cult leader is incapable and has made terrible mistakes that will cost this nation dearly.

Firstly, what could have been done? There are lots of steps Imran Khan’ government could have taken. Forces should have been moved to the eastern border. Statements could have been issued by cabinet members that any change in status quo would be considered a war. Calls to world leaders, that are made now, should have been made during the weeks when the movement of Indian forces was widely reported with a warning that any change would be retaliated. And that we will support the liberation movement if peaceful means to solve the crisis are deemed a failure.

But none of it was done rather the new information suggests that until a few days before the repeal of Article 370, the government had used back-channelled contacts to appease Modi. The letter our foreign minister wrote to the UN secretary-general was focused on human rights without any mention of the election rhetoric by the fundamentalist Indian government to annex Kashmir.

I just did not criticize the government about their appeasement of Modi but also sent private and public advice to the government about the possible steps to protect our national interests. Here is one of the public advices:

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On Feb 26, a public statement was sent that ended with this: We have always proposed dialogue to solve outstanding issues of the region. But bilateral talks are not possible with the fundamentalist regime of Narendra Modi. A UN committee has to be constituted to initiate a South Asian dialogue to develop a roadmap for the resolution of Kashmir issue as it can no longer be ignored. 

On Sep 21, 2018, a public statement contained this: In a public statement on August 21st, I had suggested that I will not support any appeasement of PM Modi because I was afraid that he will rebuke and embarrass Pakistan. Unfortunately, this has materialized by the ill-timed letter of our PM to seek engagement, thereby misreading the regional situation. I had also suggested in a public statement on July 28th the list of confidence-building measures India has to take that can show their seriousness and pave the way for constructive engagement with them. We have to keep in mind that there has been no major change in the regional dynamics that should push India to be more reconciliatory towards Pakistan rather India feels more emboldened because all major players want to have good relations with her, including China. 

This is just a small sample of the public advice that was being provided to incapable and inept Imran Khan. Not only this, private advice, which cannot be shared publicly, was sent with specific actions that he repeatedly ignored. So it is a false claim that I only criticize and do not offer solutions. Now I am afraid Imran Khan will further damage our position on Kashmir and Afghanistan. His government is not doing enough and again I sent them private advice about some possible options. Right now resistance to Modi is being led by the people of Pakistan and Kashmir to raise international awareness about the issue while government seems helpless. Almost all the world leaders are pushing Pakistan to engage in bilateral dialogue. It is unacceptable to the Pakistani nation until Modi reverses his decisions in Kashmir and withdraws Indian forces from the occupied region.

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We all know Imran Khan is not capable so we should not blame him for his errors. But what was Gen Bajwa doing? He claims to be head of an institution which is stated to be highly professional and aware of the national security situation in the region. Why did they fail to prevent the annexation of Kashmir?

The opposition for its part has also shown great weakness. They have been unimaginative, short-sighted and too focused on their own narrow interests. In fact, all the stakeholders of the current republic have failed this nation. This failed republic has to be replaced by a second republic by a mass movement.

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