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Kashmir Card to Stem Panama Leaks

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Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif

The sudden rise in Pak-fuelled militant activities in Kashmir besides the appeal to international agencies to intervene indicate a political plot to divert attention from real issues like Panama papers leak and corruption…writes Manzoor Ahmed

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif

The UN secretary general Ban ki-Moon and some other Western leaders have indicated often enough that their good offices are available for mediating between India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir ‘dispute’. The latest such offer from Ban ki-Moon comes in response to a request from Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who is trying to rake up the Kashmir issue to ward off the threat he faces from corruption allegations following the Panama papers leak.

Opposition leaders, including cricketer turned politician Imran Khan, are trying to nail the prime minister for his alleged link with several properties abroad. The Panama papers leaks reveal that three of his children own offshore companies and assets not shown on his family’s wealth statement. The companies identified so far include three British Virgin Islands-based companies Nescoll Ltd, Nielsen Enterprises Ltd and Hangon Property Holdings Ltd, incorporated in 1993, 1994 and 2007 respectively. These companies have been used to channel funds to acquire foreign assets, including some apartments along Park Lane in London’s Mayfair area.

The insinuation that the companies were meant to hide or launder ill-gotten wealth or to avoid taxes has called his credentials into question.

When someone offers to sit over judgement in a dispute between two parties he obviously has to listen to the full story from both sides and ask the parties to honour the pledges given previously. Whoever steps in, Ban Ki-Moon including, will discover to his regret that it is a quagmire from which he can come out only with his reputation considerably sullied.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif   with US Secretary of State John Kerry (File)
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif with US Secretary of State John Kerry (File)

Pakistan will sure enough harp on India’s alleged refusal to hold a plebiscite in the ‘disputed territory’ in Kashmir, as asked in two UN resolutions of 1948 vintage.  This is true, but only partly.

For some unknown reasons, India has never emphasised the fact that the UN resolutions on the so-called plebiscite cannot be implemented unless two conditions are first met: Pakistani has to pull back its troops stationed in the part of Kashmir forcibly occupied by it since 1948 and also the large number of non-Kashmiris it had sent into in the territory it has grabbed are unsettled. The withdrawal of Indian troops is to follow after Pakistan has met the two conditions.

Why should India not insist on it since it is often accused of not following the two UN resolutions? India can tell the world that it cannot allow a plebiscite or referendum in Kashmir if Pakistan refuses to accept the two vital pre-conditions attached to the UN resolutions. By what logic India is expected to withdraw its forces from Kashmir while allowing Pakistan to maintain the status quo in one-third of Jammu and Kashmir that it occupies and runs as its colony.

It is for nothing that a former UN secretary general, Kofi Anna   had described the UN Kashmir resolutions as obsolete, clearly implying that it cannot be implemented.

Known for its dishonest and unethical diplomatic practices, Pakistan will come out with some convoluted arguments to wriggle out of the pre-conditions for implementing the antiquated UN resolutions. But that has to be straightaway rejected. Which country in the world today trusts Pakistan?

If the upshot of all this is that well-meaning ‘mediators’ will find it impossible to get the UN resolutions implemented in full then this chapter should be declared closed once and for all. Pakistan will oppose it tooth and nail.

To counter Pakistan’s obstinacy the answer should be opening a chapter on the systematic suppression of people in a large part of the territories it controls — Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan occupied Kashmir. In addition, the sufferings of the Hindu and other minorities, including Shia and Ahmadiyyas Muslim sects and denial of their basic rights by Pakistan has to be brought to the fore at the UN and all international forums.

The world is getting tired of the grotesque pantomime played by Pakistan on Kashmir. It is a desperate attempt to divert attention from its sinful record of being the prime exporter of global terror.

The US, for long Pakistan’s biggest benefactor both in terms of cash and kind (military hardware), constantly asks Pakistan to ‘do more’ to close down its terror factories. It refuses to listen because now it hopes that China will replace the US as its biggest donor of cash and military hardware—the two things the country cannot survive without. That illusion will break sooner than what Pakistan expects if the country remains as unsettled and chaotic as it is.

With Narendra Modi surprising everyone by dropping the ‘B’ bomb India has no other option but to push up the Balochistan issue on the world stage. The UN general assembly in September would be the right stage for the debut of the Balochistan issue before a global audience.

That will be an effective response to the expected Kashmir ranting at the UNGA—a ritual that Pakistan rarely likes to miss. Of course, India cannot sit idle after denouncing at the UN Pakistan’s human rights record. The issue has to be taken up at all forums and as often as possible. No opportunity should be lost to show the mirror that Pakistan refuses to see.

Time for traditional, polite diplomacy with Pakistan is over. One has to be imbecile and boneheaded to believe that Pakistan genuinely believes in improving relations with India. It cannot when its foundation was laid on hatred for India and its majority population. Since then Pakistan has also been using terror as an instrument of its India policy. It openly incites discontent and insurgency in Kashmir and many other parts of India.

The UN secretary general or any busy body who says that he wants India to talk to Pakistan to resolve mutual disputes need to be reminded that Pakistan harbours many Indian fugitives who were responsible for carrying out many acts of terror in the country. How bogus is the Pakistani claims of believing in dialogue to solve differences with India should be clear from the fact that it has removed all restrictions on the hate-preaching terror kingpins including Hafiz Saeed who are designated as global terrorists—by the UN.

Will the likes of UN SG please ask Pakistan why men like Hafiz Saeed are allowed to roam free, collect money, recruit jehadis and are not prosecuted?

 

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