ISLAMABAD - In their public statements the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz do not deviate from country’s declared stance on Kashmir and would seem to want that matter should be resolved as per the United Nations resolutions. But, when it comes to practicality of the things trade with India takes precedence over rest of contentious issues, and even the government seems to be inclined to take up different bilateral disputes – like Sir Creek and Siachen – separately from the ‘core issue’ of Kashmir.
Kashmiri leadership in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and across the Line of Control (LoC) seems to be perturbed over what they term ambiguous stand of rulers in Islamabad toward the longstanding dispute on the UN agenda. There worries have multiplied over the imminent installation of an Hindu extremist government in New Delhi led by Narendra Modi that apparently pose serious threat to the Kashmiris as well as other minorities struggling for their rights across India.
It is also the considered view of the Kashmiri leadership that Pakistan government must come out of its slumber and effectively raise Kashmir issue at international forums to pre-empt the expected excesses against the Kashmiri Muslims by the government under Modi, who is known for his animosity and hate against Muslims. He is infamous for leading massacre of Muslims in Gujrat as chief minister.
All Parties Hurriyat Conference Convener in AJK and Pakistan Syed Yousuf Naseem said for the first time such an extremist Hindu leader has become prime minister of India and in the given situation Pakistan should wait and see the installation of the Modi’s government and its policies before devising its own strategy. However, he said the decision power of Modi is his real force and he could even come up with some solution to the longstanding dispute of Kashmir for which the government of Pakistan must complete its homework.
By and large the Kashmiri leaders are of the view that Nawaz Sharif should wait for the signals from New Delhi as any haste could have disastrous affects like the one country had faced in the past when in February 1999 Atal Behari Vajpayee came to Pakistan.
Mohammad Tahir Kokhar, Minister of Transport in AJK Government, said that PML-N government must come up with clear stand on Kashmir and it was the ambiguity on part of the government which prompted the army chief to come up with the statement on Kashmir, declaring it jugular vein of Pakistan.
Owing to public pressure, PML-N could not change its public posture on country’s declared stance on Kashmir but in practice they always seemed eager to go for doing trade with India. The PML-N government was all set to grant most favoured nation (MFN) status to India but the plan was dropped at eleventh hour from the agenda items of the cabinet meeting. Some government insiders informed that the matter was deferred on the intervention of foreign ministry which advised taking final decision on the mater after installation of new government in India and assessment of its policy towards Islamabad.
As most of the rightwing political parties and public at large is against granting of this preferential status to India and the term MFN invites lot of negative connotation, the government has coined a new term Non-Discriminatory Market Access (NDMA) to accommodate India in preferential trade partner. The rightwing political parties are also quite critical of the ambiguous India policy of PML-N government with specific reference to the blatant rights violations in occupied Kashmir.
The leadership of these parties say that in the face of Modi’s threats to do surgical strikes to hunt down what he termed their wanted people in Pakistan the government should come up with strong reaction to it and shun all sort of ties with India till the time the Modi comes up with formal apology on his negative remarks.
AJK Legislative Assembly member Malik Mohammad Khan said that election of Modi as Indian prime minister would not go well with the Muslims and other minorities in India, and Pakistan must come up with proactive and strong policy on Kashmir and effectively raise the issue at all available international forums.
He said the animosity of Modi towards Muslims could be judged well from the point that former occupied Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah during his elections campaign said that if Modi became PM, he would better migrate to AJK. To a question Nawaz said that as Modi has managed to win elections on the slogan of reviving Indian economy, he could extend hand of friendship to Mian Nawaz Sharif, who too is struggling to put national economy back on track and is a great advocate of improving trade ties with India.