Prime Minister Imran Khan’s third visit to Azad Jammu and Kashmir in four weeks was aimed at sending a strong message to the world to help end the continuing siege of the Indian-Occupied Kashmir and the horrors being committed there by the Indian occupation forces. Imran Khan warned that atrocities tend to promote extremist thinking. The rally was simultaneously meant to tell Kashmiris that Pakistan stands resolutely by them. Mr Khan once again exposed the BJP administration’s fascistic policy of Hindutva and its consequences for peace in the region and the world at large. He also made it clear that while Pakistan wants the issue of Kashmir resolved peacefully in line with the UN resolutions, it is prepared to respond to any brick with a stone.
Delivering speeches in Pakistan amounts to preaching to those who are already converted. The test lies in persuading the world community to not only condemn the lockdown, cessation of mobile-cum-internet services and restrictions on free movement and speech, but also to demand that India allow the Kashmiris to exercise their right of self-determination. If Scotland and Quebec can exercise their democratic right to decide whether they want to live with Britain and Canada despite centuries-old unions, how can Kashmiris who were forcibly made a part of India only 72 years back be denied the right of self-determination?
Mr Khan has commended 58 countries as well as the EU for support over IOK. The atrocities that have been committed by India have shaken the world’s conscience. There is thus a wave of sympathy for the Kashmiri people in the comity of nations. What is expected from Pakistan’s leadership is to build upon the support through a qualitatively better diplomacy and persuade the world that a referendum under the UN is the only way to resolve the Kashmir issue which may otherwise act as a powder keg in South Asia. It remains to be seen how Mr Imran Khan fights the Kashmiris’ case at the UN General Assembly.
Due to wanton and indiscriminate killings by the terrorist networks the world is fed up with violent groups. The Kashmiris have gained the world’s sympathy through their peaceful and heroic struggle. This has to be complemented by Pakistan’s fight on diplomatic front.