Since the Indian Parliament abrogated the special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5, 2019 — a move aimed at further integrating the region, a European think tank has said that Pakistan has been depending on a primarily disjointed and desperate diplomacy to internationalise the issue.
The European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS) in one of its research papers said that in Pakistan, preserving the hegemony of the military establishment is paramount, J&K (and its populace) is only a convenient tool to be used against India.
The think tank cited a CRS report titled ‘Kashmir: Background, Recent Developments, and US Policy,’ which said, “Since 1972, India’s government has generally shunned third-party involvement on Kashmir, while Pakistan’s government has continued efforts to internationalise it, especially through UN Security Council (UNSC) actions. China, a close ally of Pakistan, is also a minor party to the dispute… To date, the Trump Administration has limited its public statements to calls for maintaining peace and stability and respecting human rights. The UNSC likewise calls for restraint by all parties; an ‘informal’ August 16 UNSC meeting resulted in no ensuing official UN statement.”
The CRS report asserted that Pakistan’s dismal record in the sphere of human rights rendered its accusations against India on the same count hypocritical and meaningless. It said, “Pakistan and its primary ally, China, enjoy limited international credibility on human rights issues.”
However, on the utter failure of Pakistan to garner any interest in, or support for, its version of the narrative on Jammu and Kashmir, the report further said that the country “appeared diplomatically isolated” in August, with Turkey being the only country to offer “solid and explicit support” for Islamabad’s position.
Pakistan called for a UNSC session and, with China’s support, the Council met on August 16 last year to discuss Kashmir for the first time in more than five decades, albeit in a closed-door session that produced no formal statement.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan also left no stone unturned in not only threatening more terrorist violence when he said, “With an approach of this nature, incidents like Pulwama are bound to happen again,” but also dramatically and sensationally warned in an op-ed that if the world “does nothing to stop the Indian assault on Kashmir and its people, there will be consequences for the whole world as two nuclear-armed States get ever closer to a direct military confrontation.”
In addition, also thanks to India’s far greater economic attractiveness and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s exceptional Middle East outreach, Pakistan’s diplomatic efforts have been shown much disdain by the Gulf countries as well.
Pakistan’s frustration at constantly coming up on Jammu and Kashmir was further decried by its prime minister in a January 16 interview this year with the Germany DW TV, when he was asked if he thought that the international community was paying little attention to the country’s views on the issue and Khan responded, “Sadly, yes.”
In the same interview, he also made the meaningless claim of Pakistan being open to holding a plebiscite in the region. He said, “Let the people of Kashmir decide what they want. Pakistan is ready for a referendum or a plebiscite. Let them decide whether they want to remain with Pakistan or to be independent.”
For over 70 long years till now Pakistan has always demurred and scoffed at any suggestion of a referendum. It steadfastly refused to take the first step of a UN-mandated process that called upon Pakistan to withdraw all troops from the region as it was hell-bent on illegally and forcibly holding on to a large chunk of the erstwhile state’s territory.
“The welfare and the rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir have never been defining components of Pakistan’s policy on the region. Any talk of a referendum after 70 years can only be described as devious and desperate, in equal parts,” the report said.