Prime Minister Imran Khan has landed in New York with one-point ‘Mission Kashmir’. As a galaxy of world stars is descending in New York for the world’s parliament, the United Nations General Assembly, the prime minister has ample chances to interact with them and apprise them about the humanitarian crisis unfolding in India-held Kashmir since the Modi government stripped the occupied region of autonomy. He also turned the valley into an open prison by curfew and internet shutdown for seven weeks. Besides voicing concern for voiceless Kashmiris, PM Khan will speak for the enforcement of the seven-decade old UN resolutions on the disputed territory which stress a peaceful end to the issue. As the UN General Assembly will discuss world peace and security, the prime minister will find an attentive audience to bring his point home.
The UN General Assembly session is of course a good forum to internationlise the Kashmir issue, but more bite to the campaign will be added by prime minister’s meeting with leaders on the sidelines of the session and elsewhere. Among the series of the planned and unplanned meetings, the most important will be his second meeting with US President Donald Trump. It is hard to predict the outcome of the meeting given his impulsive remarks which swing America’s foreign policy wildly. Moreover, he will be under the influence of a rally of Indian residents in Houston where he is going to share the stage with Modi. To garner the support of the Indian-Americans for the upcoming elections, Trump may take a visible side with New Delhi. In case of any hostile remarks, Pakistan may take up its case with the US media and civil society. Trump might be well aware of the fact that in 2016 elections, only 16 percent of the Indian-origin voters went for him. Besides Trump, the prime minister will meet UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Chinese Vice-President Wang Qishan, and several others; he will address several important meetings. UN Secretary-General Secretary General Antonio Guterres will also raise the Kashmir issue with various leaders attending the session.
The most important players in the Kashmir Mission can be the Pakistani diaspora. To undo the Modi rally, the Pakistani community should have arranged a sequel of the previous rally of Khan in Washington. He should interact more and more with Pakistani American community members as their effective participation and lobbying in America can be a game changer. *