INDIA’s expansionist intention has manifested itself in another dangerous move three months into New Delhi’s attempt to formally annex India-held Kashmir. The Modi setup has come up with a fanciful new ‘map’, in violation of recognised geographical boundaries. This malevolent scheme deliberately identifies Azad Kashmir as well as certain areas of Gilgit-Baltistan as Indian territory.

Read: Pakistan rejects 'incorrect, legally untenable' political maps issued by India

Pakistan has dismissed the attempt as “incorrect and legally untenable”, and termed the political map as one that violates UN resolutions. Islamabad has also reiterated that “no step by India could change the disputed status of Jammu and Kashmir as recognised by the United Nations”, and has vowed that it will continue to support the just struggle of the Kashmiris.

Having gone through the ritual, however, the Imran Khan government should introspect to see whether it could have better pursued an international diplomatic campaign aimed at discouraging an increasingly aggressive India’s adventurism. This is no easy task, but the question is: has Pakistan, with all its pledges to back the Kashmiri fight for freedom, given the urgent assignment its best shot?

On Sunday, the head of the parliamentary committee on Kashmir, Fakhr Imam, repeated the slogan about Kashmir being Pakistan’s jugular vein. Examples of how some international players had expressed their concern over Indian cruelty in IHK were once again highlighted. We were assured that the French parliament had discussed Kashmir and that some US congressmen had gone so far as to ask their government some ‘hard questions’. We were also told that both government and opposition in Pakistan were in total agreement on Kashmir. We were then reminded about Prime Minister Imran Khan’s UN speech in which he “advocated the Kashmir issue in a way which was praised worldwide”.

Nobody can dispute that the Kashmir question has been brought to the world’s attention. But how is the government here going to move forward on that, especially as international rebukes, including hard-hitting statements from Pakistan, have had little impact on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s fascist designs so far?

An effective follow-up to the promises that Mr Khan made would have found Pakistani diplomats proactively and continuously engaging with world capitals to convey a true picture of Indian excesses against a people with a genuine demand for freedom. The latest method at ‘persuasion’ by New Delhi has to be countered with a strategy that places premium on consistency and reason.

Let there be no illusions about it: as things stand, the international community is being ruled by its own interests, evident in its overall silence on IHK which has been under an inhuman and prolonged curfew. This is all the more reason why there has to be a persistent and patient effort at coming up with a powerful argument, backed by as much evidence as possible, of the atrocities in IHK, so that it is impossible for anyone to deny the reality.

Published in Dawn, November 5th, 2019

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