Pakistan isolated on Kashmir issue

Wednesday 14th August 2019 05:19 EDT

Pakistan has accepted that it will be difficult for it to find support if it rakes up Kashmir in front of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council - China, France, Russia, UK or US- or even before a section of Muslim countries. The development comes exactly a week after New Delhi abrogated the special status enjoyed by Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two union territories.

Addressing the media at Muzaffarabad in Pak-occupied Kashmir, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the issue may not go Pakistan’s way once it reached the UNSC, which is contrary to popular expectations in the country. In comments that reflect the absence of any significant support for Pakistan from even Muslim nations and Arab countries in particular, Qureshi said the Ummah, Muslim community and others have financial interests in Indian markets.

Qureshi asked Pakistanis not live in a “fool’s paradise” and expect the UN Security Council to “wait with garlands” to support Islamabad’s objections against developments in Kashmir. There shouldn't be any ambiguity on that, do not live in a fool's paradise," Qureshi said addressing the press. Qureshi also urged all the political parties in the country to hold a united front on the Kashmir issue and not politicise the matter.

However, lawmakers of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and main opposition PML-N had accused each other of trying to appease Prime Minister Narendra Modi on different occasions in the past. PML-N chief Shehbaz Sharif had said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had "sold the future of Kashmir" and that the top leaders of the Opposition parties in the country were being arrested to divert public attention from the Kashmir issue.

Over the weekend, Russia became the first “country to openly back New Delhi's decision on Kashmir, calling it India's internal matter taken "within the framework of the Constitution of the Republic of India". The US state department has also "noted" that India declared the issue an internal matter. Two members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) - United Arab Emirates and Maldives - have also supported New Delhi's decision on Kashmir, calling it an internal matter.

Last week, in a big snub to Pakistan, UNSC did not take up Qureshi's letter of August 6 following the developments in Kashmir. The Imran Khan government had decided to reach out to the UN, including the Security Council, and internationalise the Kashmir issue. Poland which holds the presidency of the UNSC for the month of August, blatantly told that Delhi and Islamabad should find a solution bilaterally, putting a lid for time being. Sources said that Foreign Minister Jaishankar dialed the Polish Foreign Minister and briefed him on India's position concerning the modified status of J&K. Jaishankar had emphasised that the recent amendment to the Constitution does not entail any international consequences and aims to end the temporary situation and to create better opportunities for the growth in the region, according to the statement.

China brings up Kashmir issue

When foreign minister Jaishankar met his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Beijing, the Kashmir issue was raised. Jaishankar told Wang Yi that it was an internal matter of India with no implications for external boundaries or the Line of Actual Control. Jaishankar cautioned Wang that the “future of India-China relationship will depend on mutual sensitivity to each other’s core concerns... Properly managing differences is therefore vital. That is how India-China relations can remain a factor of stability in an uncertain world”. The plain speak indicates that scrapping of J&K’s special status and reorganisation of the state have created some friction in India-China ties.

The Jaishankar-Wang meeting is significant as it comes after Pakistani foreign minister Qureshi rushed to Beijing to seek its support. China said differences must be resolved keeping in mind the UN Charter and bilateral agreements. Jaishankar conveyed to Wang that “India was not raising any additional territorial claims. The Chinese concerns in this regard were therefore misplaced.”

Wang referred to rising tensions between India and Pakistan but Jaishankar reiterated the changes were an internal matter and had no bearing on Pakistan. “It did not impact the Line of Control. Where India-Pakistan relations are concerned, the Chinese side should base its assessment on realities,” the Indian statement said.

Kashmir celebrates Eid

The festival of Eid-ul-Zuha was observed largely peacefully in J&K as security forces kept a close watch, restricting congregations to small gatherings in neighbourhood mosques. IGP (Kashmir) Swayam Pani said there were "a few situations" in which some people were injured. However, he added that most congregations dispersed peacefully after prayers

The home ministry has recommended suspension of eight Twitter accounts, including that of separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani. IT ministry officials said the recommendations were under the IT Act as the handles were “engaging in anti-India campaign on Kashmir and Article 370”.

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