By Deepika Bhan
To use the UNGA forum for furthering its parochial narrative on Kashmir has been a tradition in Pakistan. So, when Imran Khan says that he will take up the issue on the UNGA platform, no surprise ensues as a routine sounding rhetoric from Pakistan has repeatedly failed to cut ice in India or elsewhere.
Imran Khan is trying to portray himself as an ‘ambassador of Kashmiris’, and hence is desperately trying to build up an excitement around his forthcoming speech at the UNGA. Khan, however, forgets that he is not the first Pakistani premier to do so; all others from his country have been doing similar. Three years ago, Nawaz Shariff used the UNGA platform to label terrorist Burhan Wani as a ‘martyr’ and the terrorism in Kashmir as ‘freedom struggle’. Such low points in diplomacy may be not the routine, but with Pakistan diplomatic niceties are rarely followed.
So when Imran Khan takes the podium in UNGA this time, believing his taking up the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir will put India in a dock, he is actually exposing his own country’s weaknesses and his own helplessness.
For 30- years Pakistan has lead the proxy-war in Kashmir, got thousands killed and lakhs uprooted from the Valley, but at the end of the day, Kashmir has got amalgamated in the vastness of India.
Perhaps the best answer to Imran Khan can be the voices emanating from the valley, whether these are of Kashmiri top officers like Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar Shahid Chaudhary or Senior Superintendent of J&K police Imtiyaz Hussain who have been relentlessly tweeting to blast the fake information disseminating from Pakistan.
Ever since the abrogation of Article 370, Ladakh is on a celebration spree and looking forward to its independent Union territory status. In Jammu, the situation has been normal right from the day one as the people welcomed the move. In Kashmir, the rural areas are upbeat as they believe that development will finally happen in their areas.
“This abrogation should have happened a long time ago. Better late than never, may be something good comes out of this,” said Suhail, a 28-year-old businessman dealing in handicrafts and shawls. He lives in down town Srinagar, which is regarded as the pro-separatist hot bed. He said, “It has been peaceful in this area. Nothing bad has happened, but our mobile phones are off and communication is not happening. Our business is down as there are no tourists.”
For people like Suhail, what matters is peace and right atmosphere to work and live. Kashmir, in particular, has been facing tough security situation after August 5 and all its leaders are under detention. Pakistan is thinking that this situation can be used to its advantage, but India has shown Pakistan its place.
Taking up Kashmir in UNGA can prove to be counterproductive to Pakistan as the part of Kashmir it is holding is in turmoil.
The Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) has been witnessing massive protests against Imran Khan’s government and his army. Several videos of brutal police and army crackdown upon the protestors have become viral. Their demand is freedom from Pakistan. Being under Pakistan for 70 years has brought miseries rather than development in PoK. Their lands and resources are now being forcibly taken for the China -Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Imran Khan may try tooting its trumpet on Kashmir in UNGA, but he may end up blowing his own top. Kashmir is quiet presently and the only one making the noise is Pakistan. Perhaps, Kashmir may as well prove to be the misnomer for Pakistan ultimately.
The author is a senior journalist based in New Delhi .