Role various leaders should be assigned for Kashmir cause

Will OIC countries that failed to do anything for Baitul Maqdas do something for Kashmir? Shehbaz, Bilawal, Musharraf, Fazl must use their contacts

LAHORE    -   While unbearable price-hike, rampant corruption and large scale unemployment are the major challenges for the PTI government at the domestic front, the annexation of occupied Jammu and Kashmir by the Modi government is the most serious action it has to deal with at the foreign policy front.

Barring some exceptions the leaders’ team led by Prime Minister Imran Khan is as inexperienced as serious is the challenge. Pakistan will not be able to get the unconstitutional step of the BJP government reversed without tremendous international support which, unfortunately, is not there because of a number of factors. Still more unfortunate is the fact that the countries Pakistan regarded as its closest allies are now more mindful of their commercial interests than supporting the oppressed Kashmiri people, which is the religious duty of all Muslims.

About five dozen Islamic countries who are members of the OIC – that failed to take any practical steps even for the liberation of Baitul Maqdas, the Qibla-i-Awwal, from Israeli occupation in five decades cannot be expected to do much for the Kashmiri people, Pakistan’s high hopes notwithstanding.

In such a situation it is difficult to say how long the Kashmiris would have to offer sacrifices to sustain their liberation movement and achieve their ultimate goal.

For decades Pakistan has been regarding Saudi Arabia as its closest ally, friend. The two countries have supported each other in difficult times.

But KSA’s latest stand on Kashmir is not very encouraging for Pakistan as well as Kashmiris.

A news item based on Prime Minister Imran’s phone call to Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman on Monday, as reported by Saudi media, should be sufficient to explain the mood of the kingdom.

“Saudi Arabia called on the concerned parties in Jammu and Kashmir to maintain peace and stability in the region and to take into account the interests of the people of the region.

“An official source at the Foreign Ministry said that Saudi Arabia is following up the current situation in Jammu and Kashmir, resulting from India’s move to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution, which guarantees autonomy to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

“The source expressed Saudi Arabia’s concern over the latest developments and called for peaceful settlement of the conflict in accordance with the relevant international resolutions”.

In the prevailing situation when the Kashmiris have been facing all kinds of hardships under curfew imposed three weeks ago, this statement is much below the expectations of the Pakistan government as well as the Kashmiris.

UAE has already supported India’s annexation move and awarded the country’s highest civil award to the Indian prime minister.

Another report in a Saudi newspaper says Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi (through a telephonic conversation) briefed the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Secretary General, Yousef Al-Othaimeen, on the “deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation” in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Qureshi shared a set of proposals with Al-Othaimeen after the two exchanged views on the OIC’s response on the matter.

“The proposals included a renewed call for India to allow the OIC’s fact-finding mission to visit the Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir and convening of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu & Kashmir at the ministerial level,” Pakistan’s Foreign Office said in a statement released on Monday.

Al-Othaimeen, for his part, reiterated serious concern over the worsening human rights situation in Indian-administered Kashmir “noting that the OIC will continue to play its role in support of and solidarity with the Kashmiri people,” excerpts from the statement read.

The mere expression of concern or solidarity will not satisfy the Kashmiris.

As the crisis is very serious, the PTI leaders should take all opposition parties on board and assign important leaders role for this great national cause.

As there is a plan to send delegations to various countries to highlight the Kashmir dispute, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif should be assigned a special role. His brother – Nawaz Sharif – has been prime minister for three terms and he visited a large number of countries during these terms. Let Shehbaz visit various countries and see for himself the kind of support he sees there for a principled stand of Pakistan on Kashmir.

Likewise, Bilawal should be sent on a similar mission abroad so that he could see how much support he gets because of his late mother, two- time prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s visits/contacts abroad.

Former president Pervez Musharraf remained in power for some nine years. Though suffering from a rare disease, he is reportedly recovering in UAE. He should also be inducted for a role on the Kashmir issue.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman spent about a decade as chairman of the Kashmir committee. In this capacity he visited countless countries to highlight the Kashmir cause. Despite the fact that he is preparing his party for anti-government drive, he should be approached for visits abroad to muster support for the Kashmir dispute.

The response these leaders get from the host countries should be taken as performance audit of their governments.

The future course of action should be prepared in the light of response various delegations get from other countries.