Is Pakistan’s Kashmir policy flawed? | Pakistan Today

Is Pakistan’s Kashmir policy flawed?

Country fails to make any achievements in all these years

Nearly all governments were least bothered to use diplomacy to deal with the issue. Foreign policy needs proper lobbying and homework and you cannot just use emotional statements and speeches to provoke people’s sentiments and make your point.

The government of Pakistan is often criticised by the opposition parties for not raising the issue of human rights violations in Kashmir the way it should. There does not seem to be clarity on what exactly is Pakistan’s policy to deal with the Kashmir issue.

All our foreign office does is issue statements shortly after an incident of violence happens in the occupied valley. “Kashmir is Pakistan’s jugular vein.”, “We will take back our land.” are some of the things our political and military leaders say every time there is a violent action in the valley. If this is Pakistan’s policy on Kashmir, then our failure to achieve absolutely nothing in all these years should not be a surprise to anyone.

The fact is that Pakistan’s Kashmir’s policy, whatever it is, has in no way been able to help the oppressed people of the occupied valley who have been facing violence for decades. There are two ways to go about it: Raising the issue on international forums and convincing the international community that what is happening in Kashmir is atrocious and needs to be stopped and two, funding and backing religious extremists in order to prepare them for so-called ‘Jihad’ in Kashmir. Sadly, Pakistan has gone with the latter option which is one of the reasons why Kashmir policy of the country is flawed.

Pakistan has been accused of sponsoring extremist groups like Jamat-Ud-Dawa (JuD) that openly calls for armed struggle against the Indian government for their violent actions in Occupied Kashmir. The way Indian government has been using force against peaceful protesters and killing Kashmiri youths mercilessly is shameful, to say the least. But you cannot fight violence with more violence. Training ‘jihadis’ and hoping they would someday be of use to us is absolutely not the right thing to do.

“It is well-known that the attackers of the Mumbai and Pathankot attacks came from Pakistan”, said Indian journalist Jyoti Malhotra, while talking to DNA. She said Pakistani officials have themselves admitted the involvement of Pakistanis in terror attacks in India.

Time to get realistic:

In an ideal world, Pakistan should have given evidence of India’s brutality to the international community and raised the issue in United Nations. But that has never been the case. Nearly all governments were least bothered to use diplomacy to deal with the issue. Foreign policy needs proper lobbying and homework and you cannot just use emotional statements and speeches to provoke people’s sentiments and make your point. Pakistan should get a bit realistic and come up with a proper plan to discuss how it should make India accountable for its crimes in the occupied valley of Kashmir.

When Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif recently made a statement saying Kashmir will become a part of Pakistan, he was given the answer by Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj that Kashmir is and will remain India’s part. The Pakistani government needs to stop with the unreal statements and open its eyes to reality – as of now Kashmir is under Indian occupation whether we like it or not.

Therefore Pakistani officials need to make it clear if they are going to do something apart from issuing statements or will the decade-long policy of saying a lot and doing nothing meaningful will continue.

“Pakistan does not even have a foreign minister and it is one of the reasons why our policy on Kashmir has failed,” Political Science professor at Punjab University Dr Irum said while speaking to DNA.

She said the government officials and the foreign office of Pakistan merely does lip-service when it comes to the issue of Kashmir. “They issue statements of condemnation only when there is an incident of violence and stay silent otherwise.”

Dr Irum rejected the claims that Pakistan is backing extremist groups or playing a proxy war in Kashmir. “There are so many anti-state movements going on in India at the moment. Will the Indian government blame Pakistan for that too”, she asked.

Not many people know that there is parliamentary committee on Kashmir whose function is to raise the issue of Kashmir at national and international level. Other than that, it is supposed to bring all major political forces at one platform in order to pursue Kashmir cause. The committee Chairman Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman has hardly any credentials and is not the right person for the job.

“The Kashmir committee is useless because it has never even tried to create the pressure on international committee to address the rights violations in Kashmir”, Irum told DNA.

She said Maulana Fazlur Rehman is least interested in Kashmir issue and is more concerned about domestic politics, therefore the committee should be headed by someone who has sufficient knowledge on the subject and can use diplomacy to convince the international community and make India accountable for its actions in Kashmir.

While commenting on the dialogues between India and Pakistan and whether Kashmir was on the agenda, she said Pakistan had to negotiate from a weaker side during bilateral talks that were held in the past few years. “This is why they put Kashmir on the backburner and issues that India considered important were made part of the dialogue while Kashmir was ignored”, she told DNA.

The blame game:

When Pakistan tries to highlight the issue of killings in Kashmir, officials in Indian government start talking about the insurgency and military action in Balochistan. And it is a never-ending cycle.

“Pakistan was not able to respond to India’s allegations on Balochistan. They are creating propaganda of all sorts against us and we have failed to tackle it since we don’t have a foreign minister”, Dr Irum Khalid said, while speaking to DNA.

Dr Irum rejected the claims that Pakistan is backing extremist groups or playing a proxy war in Kashmir. “There are so many anti-state movements going on in India at the moment. Will the Indian government blame Pakistan for that too”, she asked.

Dr Irum suggested that Pakistan’s envoys to major countries should make a proper strategy to highlight the issue of Kashmir at every relevant forum. “We have never given Kashmir the attention it deserves because of the directionless foreign policy”, she said.

Ailia Zehra

The writer is a former staff member who writes on counterterrorism and gender equality among other issues. She tweets at @AiliaZehra and can be reached at [email protected]



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