THE crisis in India-held Kashmir could trigger global consequences, yet the world has not responded to Pakistan’s urgent exhortations with the level of robustness the situation warrants. Instead of full-throated condemnation, there is language of equivocation.

Indeed, some countries, most notably the US and UAE, have even gone along with India’s brazenly false assertion that stripping Kashmir, an internationally recognised disputed territory, of its special status is an “internal matter”. Saudi Arabia’s bland reaction thus far avoids expressing any opinion whatsoever. China, Pakistan’s all-weather friend, issued a forceful statement, but one that pertained solely to Ladakh where it has a territorial dispute with India. Turkey expressed “concerns” over the situation and undefined “steadfast support” to Pakistan.

Read: India calls actions in Kashmir internal matter: US

New Delhi’s depredations in India-held Kashmir, particularly egregious under the Modi government, have been exposed for the world to see in more than one UN report, the most recent just a month ago.

Indeed, on Thursday, UN chief Antonio Guterres called upon India “to refrain from taking steps that could affect the status of Jammu and Kashmir”, recalling the Shimla Agreement.

Read: UN chief calls for 'maximum restraint' in occupied Kashmir

Despite this, the fact that the latest act of naked aggression by India against the hapless Kashmiris has met with such a tepid response speaks to a failure of Pakistan’s diplomacy, not only in the recent past, not only during Mr Modi’s premiership, but over decades. Seasoned diplomats were sidelined and input by pragmatic politicians and opinion makers was ignored in favour of ruinous policies that garnered ill-will in the international arena and allowed hostile powers to discredit the Kashmiri cause.

Moreover, in the present context, why did Pakistan appear to have been taken by surprise when the Indian government scrapped Article 370? After all, one of the main planks of Mr Modi’s hyper-nationalistic re-election campaign was the promise to do away with Kashmir’s special status.

Yet there was no effort by the Pakistan government to lobby foreign governments to push back against any such attempt. A fait accompli is far more difficult to counter than an action still in its incipient stage. Even during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent visit, an unexpected offer by President Trump — entirely of his own volition rather than due to any effort by the Pakistani delegation — to mediate on Kashmir, sent a wave of elation in government circles.

Given what has transpired in the few weeks since then, it was clearly a premature reaction, shorn of context and without considering the limited scope of what the world wants at present from Pakistan.

There is, however, little doubt about what this country must do for itself. Much introspection is in order, an assessment of how we have arrived at a point where we appear to be isolated and lack for staunch allies, that too for a cause that is undeniably just. Now that Pakistan is decisively acting against the militant groups that have hobbled its foreign policy and compromised its standing in the world, it should develop a far more effective diplomatic strategy, executed by those best suited to the task.

Published in Dawn, August 9th, 2019

Opinion

Gaming LNG
Updated 05 Aug 2021

Gaming LNG

What looked like rank incompetence about a year ago is now beginning to smack of malfeasance.
Healing the spirit
05 Aug 2021

Healing the spirit

ROC medal winners could not hear their national anthem being played.
Returning to a repressive order
Updated 04 Aug 2021

Returning to a repressive order

There is no sign of the Taliban showing any flexibility in their position and taking a more moderate stance.

Editorial

A tragic anniversary
Updated 05 Aug 2021

A tragic anniversary

Attempts to change IOK's demography should end and India must open channels with the genuine Kashmiri leadership.
05 Aug 2021

Currency pressure

THE increasing demand for dollars in the wake of surging imports and debt repayments has put significant pressure on...
05 Aug 2021

Protecting breastfeeding

A LOT has been said about the fact that 40pc of children under five years in Pakistan are stunted. The reasons...
PML-N’s dilemma
Updated 04 Aug 2021

PML-N’s dilemma

The road ahead for the PML-N is going to be long and bumpy no matter which narrative it follows.
04 Aug 2021

Attacks on cops

AMIDST cautious optimism that Pakistan may be finally beginning to achieve success in bringing the number of polio...
04 Aug 2021

Myanmar about-face

SIX months into the coup that sent Myanmar’s hybrid civ-mil government packing, the generals have made their...