By Arun Joshi
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is oblivious of the ground realities in the region when it comes to Jammu and Kashmir that he so excitingly declares as a “ dispute” and offers its solution through the UN resolutions. This is obvious from the fact that he devoted one quarter of his speech at the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly in ranting against India and its actions in Jammu and Kashmir.
The plot is clear: Pakistan wants to spotlight J&K as a troubled region, where, according to him everything is under threat, especially after the August 5, 2019, constitutional changes. This is to tell the world that , while Pakistan wants peace with India, the happenings in Kashmir were proving a hurdle.
All along his thrust was that India should create an enabling atmosphere for peace to resolve the “ Jammu and Kashmir dispute.” His formula for peace talks, as he listed in his UNGA speech, was based on three conditions.
These conditions go like this: “ One, reverse its unilateral and illegal measures since 5th August 2019; two, stop its oppression and human rights violations against the people of Kashmir; and three, halt and reverse the demographic changes in the occupied territory.” Having said all this, Khan further stated: “ It is also essential to prevent another conflict between Pakistan and India. India’s military build -up, development of advanced nuclear weapons, and acquisition of destabilizing conventional capabilities can erode mutual deterrence between the two countries.”
So, what Pakistan was making it all unilateral. Placing conditions on India for doing that could serve its purposes. This was essentially a template for hurting India and its people in Jammu and Kashmir and at the same time threatening that the mutual agreements to maintain peace on the borders would go once and for all . This is political and diplomatic harikari.
In simple words, Pakistan is trying to be a bully in the region and spoil peace in South Asia. This is clear from what all it did in Afghanistan, and is persisting with its destabilizing methodology in Jammu and Kashmir.
Pakistan Prime Minister referred to the February 25, 2021 renewal of the ceasefire agreement for Line of Control in which the Indian and Pakistani militaries committed to cessation of all hostilities on the borders. This was a result of the deliberations by the military commanders of the two countries and the back-channel talks between India and Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates with the help of the third country, as it was feared that escalation of tensions between the two nuclear-powered South Asian neighbours could cause irreparable damage to peace. The basis of this fear was rooted in the February 14, 2019 terror attack in Pulwama in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed and thereafter India had retaliated with airstrikes art the terror camps in Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on February 26, 2019. That had raised prospects of war erupting between the two countries. To subside these fears, the UAE had offered its services and facilitated the behind- the -curtain talks to make India and Pakistan to see futility of the hostility. And the first step was the reiteration of the ceasefire agreement of November 26, 2003 , in February this year.
To build-up on this agreement and to open dialogue with Pakistan, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had sent a letter to his Pakistani counterpart on Pakistan’s national day on March 23 in which he had expressed his desire of “ cordial relations with Pakistan” and sought an atmosphere “ devoid of hostility and terror.” That was a reasonable proposition. It triggered the hopes that the two nations directly engage into dialogue and move forward in improving their ties. But the cold water was thrown by Pakistan’s NSA Moeed Yusuf early July this year when he said “ It’s over” regarding the ongoing backchannel talks between India and Pakistan. That reversed the whole process.
What he said in July was repeated by Imran Khan in his UNGA speech on September 25th, shutting all doors on dialogue. While he was placing conditions on India, but on his part, he was reluctant to put off the tap of terror, the basis source of trouble in Jammu and Kashmir.
About the Author:
Arun Joshi is a senior journalist based in J&K. He has worked with Hindustan Times, Times of India, Indian Express, and The Tribune. He has authored “ Eyewitness Kashmir: Teetering on Nuclear War” and three other books.
This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write up have nothing to do with it.