MUZAFFARABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday asserted that his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi had committed a “strategic blunder” by revoking special status of occupied Jammu and Kashmir which would soon culminate in the territory’s freedom.
Addressing a special session of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Legislative Assembly to mark Yaum-i-Istehsal on the first anniversary of India’s arbitrary move on the disputed Himalayan region, Mr Khan assured the Kashmiri people and their lawmakers “with full confidence” that Pakistan would continue to raise their issue at every forum, “planning for which had been and was being done”.
Earlier, Mr Khan patiently heard speeches from AJK premier Raja Farooq Haider, former AJK premiers Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan of Muslim Conference and Barrister Sultan Mahmood of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Abdul Rashid Turabi of Jamaat-i-Islami and Sardar Hassan Ibrahim of Jammu Kashmir Peoples Party, who welcomed and gave him different suggestions.
Imran says Modi committed a strategic blunder on Aug 5 last year
Responding, PM Khan spoke at length about the role and importance of law and principles in the rise and fall of nations, with Pakistan as well as the State of Madina as reference points. He told them that he had smelt hopelessness in their speeches with regard to Kashmir and Pakistan, suggesting as if they were heartbroken to some extent. “But my analysis runs counter to it. My understanding is that the Almighty is passing the Kashmiris through a phase that will end up in their freedom,” he said.
The prime minister was of the opinion that had there not been the Aug 5, 2019 move by India, he would not have been so confident. “I believe that Narendra Modi committed a big mistake on Aug 5 last year.”
He said according to his analysis Mr Modi had resorted to this move on the basis of four assumptions, all of which had turned out to be erroneous afterwards. “He had exploited Pulwama incident as well as hatred against Pakistan within his Hindu [voter] base which helped him get re-elected with a sweeping majority. Since he was already being asked to alter the status of Kashmir but could not muster up courage to do so in his first term, he took this step after gaining majority at the strength of his Hindutva base and in return received wide appreciation from them,” he said.
The second wrong assumption was about Pakistan’s reaction, “as he thought that we will keep mum over this move because initially we had made great efforts to befriend New Delhi with a hope of achieving peace, increasing trade, reducing poverty and resolving Kashmir issue through dialogue,” he said.
According to the PM, another factor behind Mr Modi’s assumption was Pakistan’s “silence” before the installation of the PTI government when, despite atrocities in occupied Kashmir and use of pellet guns by Mr Modi’s first government, the issue was neither raised in the UN nor before the world community.
Third wrong assumption, he said, was that since India was a country of 1.25 billion people, the world community would remain silent on Kashmir move in order to maintain good relations with this big market.
Additionally, Mr Modi believed that the world would also remain silent because it wanted to use India against China, he added.
However, he said, the biggest miscalculation by Mr Modi was about the reaction of Kashmiris to repression by 800,000 army personnel, curfews and detention of entire leadership and thousands of youngsters.
Mr Modi thought that they would terrorise the Kashmiris by changing the demography and unleashing RSS goons on them and eventually they [Kashmiris] would give up, he said. “That’s why I say Modi committed a strategic blunder. History bears testament to the fact that most powerful nations got obliterated due to their wrong decisions out of haughtiness,” he said, likening the Indian PM with Adolf Hitler and Napoleon Bonaparte.
Mr Khan maintained that as against Mr Modi’s miscalculation Pakistan had reached out to the world community on this issue. “In this past year, the UN Security Council discussed Kashmir thrice, for the first time after 1965, and the UN Human Rights High Commissioner also released two reports on Kashmir,” he said. He said he also spoke to world leaders including Donald Trump, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron and made them realised that Kashmir was a nuclear flashpoint. “Many a people did not have understanding of Kashmir issue, but gradually they have started getting to the bottom of it,” he claimed.
He said it was then he turned towards the international media, which had portrayed Pakistan negatively as compared to India ever since the creation of Bangladesh in 1971. “The New York Times would not publish my articles [initially] but I made them understand the Hindutva ideology. Look! after Aug 5, 2019, it’s for the first time India has come under criticism [in international media].”
PM Khan explained that of the two kinds of leaders in human history, one would unite people instead of dividing them, such as the Holy Prophet (PBUH), Quaid-e-Azam and Nelson Mandela, while the non-leaders would get vote on the basis of hatred and division. In this regard, he referred to an exiled leader from Karachi who he alleged had spread hatred on the basis of ethnicity.
The Indian premier, he said, was from the second breed as he had always practised and promoted hatred for political mileage, including an anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat.
“Today he stands exposed across the world and the world is paying attention to Kashmir,” he said.
Mr Khan said though there was no let-up in atrocities in occupied Kashmir but the way India had contemplated to wipe out Kashmiris after Aug 5 could not be done for fear of the likely world reaction.
“I give its credit to my government.... But more than that of us it’s because of the Kashmiris themselves. India had thought they would give up, but they didn’t and I pay them special tributes. Their morale and spirits are high and India has failed to break it.”
Mr Khan also spoke about pro-India politicians in occupied Kashmir and said none of them could again become the leaders of Kashmiris.
Explaining the philosophy behind the new political map of Pakistan, he said Pakistan had stated at all world forums that solution to Kashmir issue should be based on the UN Security Council resolutions and this was written on the map as well.
He said this map was drawn in reaction to India’s false map showing Kashmir, including AJK and GB, as its part, whereas in effect India was illegally occupying the territory.
He predicted that the situation would further worsen for India in occupied Kashmir because it had got stuck in a blind alley. “If they retreat Kashmir will become free. If they don’t, how long they will continue this situation? The world is looking at them.”
Highest civil award for Geelani
On the occasion, PM Khan announced that Pakistan would honour Syed Ali Shah Geelani with its highest civil award, Nishan-i-Pakistan, on Aug 14, in recognition of great leader’s adherence to his stance without any fear.
He concluded his speech from where he had begun it, by saying that hopelessness was a sin for a Muslim. He said: “I think where Narendra Modi has got stuck up it will yield only one result and that’s freedom of Kashmir.”
Earlier, the prime minister held meetings with the heads of different parliamentary parties and representatives of All Parties Hurriyat Conference in the chamber of Speaker Shah Ghulam Qadir. Prior to then he laid foundation stone of a monument to the Kashmiri martyrs.
Published in Dawn, August 6th, 2020