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Should US ignore Kashmiri plight?

BY N.P. UPADHYAYA

Kathmandu: A day ahead of Indian PM Modi’s closed stadium talk with the India-American in Houston/Texas, over 500 Indian academics and scientists from across the country issued a statement demanding an end to the restriction on telecommunications and the internet in Kashmir, calling the move “deeply undemocratic”.
The academicians have said that “We are writing to express our deep concern about the crisis in Kashmir which was precipitated by the government’s decision to de-operationalize Article 370 of the Constitution and to end Jammu and Kashmir’s full statehood,” the letter said.
The signatories have written in the plea but they “are appalled by the government’s decision to restrict telecommunications and the internet in Kashmir for over a month”.
While the Indian academicians have been talking of easing the problems being faced by the Kashmiri population and the detained leaders then the Indian Union minister Jitendra Singh has said, September 22, 2019, that the Centre won’t keep Kashmiri politicians under house arrest for more than 18 months and also added that they are not under arrest, but have been living as “house guests”.
The House guests will stretch for only eighteen months, the minister added.
According to reports prepared, September 18/19 by India correspondent Soutik Biswas for the BBC World service, he claims that “about 4000 people plus-including political leaders, businesspeople and activists – are reported to have already been in detention.
Soutik further writes that “Security forces have been accused of carrying out beatings and torture in the wake of the government’s decision. The Children are the worst victims, though India denies.
“A tsunami of protest is coming. There is anger in our minds and burning lava in our hearts. We have been betrayed and hurt by India.” said Ashiq Hussain, 42, a local trader.
Before we proceed further on Kashmir issue, one thing we would wish to put on record which the Nepali observers have felt but have restrained themselves in making comments both positive and negative as well.
The fact is that Pakistan must admit that the Muslim nations whom she takes as brothers have in many more ways than one preferred this time to shy away from siding with the Kashmiri population for a variety of personal/political constraints and preferences as well.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the smaller Muslim countries across the globe and those who were also housed in the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) exhibited their reluctance in speaking in favor of the Kashmiri Muslims for some mysterious political reasons. Though the OIC Contact group on Kashmir is bit active, we have been told. India is in advantage thus.
Albeit, the Saudi Crown Prince preferred to lure the Pakistani Prime Minister by providing Khan his personal jet to fly New York to attend to the UN General Assembly. At times, moral support on some key issues, such as the one on Kashmir, becomes more important than assisting a cash strapped country with some financial assistance. Isn’t it?
But yet if Pakistan is happy with MBS largesse then Nepali intellectuals have nothing to talk on Pakistan ties with the Saudi Kingdom. But yet MBS is supposed to have made or even fixed Khan’s key appointments in USA easier. This too must be positively seen.
Remarkably, Turkey has remained true to its commitment. The Turkish President met Khan on the sidelines of UNGA Monday.
In addition, the countries so far who have come to express support the Kashmiris are tentatively Turkey, China and Iran-the bete noir of the USA.
It is these countries who are overtly criticizing India. But, the rest of the world remained silent towards India because of the strong nations’ economic and strategic interests”, it is believed.
Indian diplomacy has greater reach across the world, let’s admit this fact.
In the meanwhile, addressing a news conference on Wednesday last week at the outset of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in New York, Antonio Guterres said in response to a question on Kashmir: “I go on with a clear opinion that human rights must be fully respected in the territory.”
Guterres said that dialogue between India and Pakistan “is an absolutely essential element for the solution of the [Kashmir] problem”, according to a statement posted on the UN website.
To recall, there are several resolutions of the UN Security Council already pending awaiting its effective implementation made in the past which call for plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir.
While PM Modi was busy in praising President Trump at the Texas rally where he even told the Indian audience to vote for President Trump in the upcoming US elections, then around the same time, Imran Khan was pretty busy in discussing the Kashmir issue in details with the Secretary General of the Amnesty International Komi Naidoo, who called on Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday in New York.
Prime Minister Imran Khan appreciated the lead role that Amnesty was playing in presenting the real state of human rights in the occupied territory and amplifying the voices of the Kashmiri population in a state of seven-week long lockdown. These efforts had helped raise international community’s awareness about the continuing suffering of the Kashmiri people.
Naidoo, on the other hand in response briefed PM Imran on “Amnesty’s advocacy work on Kashmir including #Let Kashmir Speak”, it has been reported.
Since the Kashmir annexation has negative impact on the overall South Asian security and political stability which is why this paper has made it a point to write against the Indian design in a repeated manner. In some way or the other, its impact could be felt in South Asia including Nepal also if not the political aberrations corrected on time. Earlier the better.
While the Indian Prime Minister Modi Sunday had all the indirect but self-manufactured vilifying accusations against Pakistan for having cultivated terrorist-outfits inside the Pakistani soil, on the other Imran Khan talking to an academic gathering said that he would while meeting the President of the US will try to convince him for resuming talks with India over a host of issues including Kashmir.
Modi prefers not to meet the Pakistani PM for fear of being grilled on Kashmir, however, Khan is willing even now to talk to PM Modi and ease the South Asian war like situation.
Khan says that a strong “Hindu nationalist” sentiment has taken over the idea of India.
India denies this Pak assumption.
Very interestingly, Nepal too is a majority Hindu country but yet why is it that the Hindus of Nepal are completely different than the Hindus of India?
Very simple. It is because the Nepali Hindus are excessively tolerant to which the Hindus in India were perhaps not.
The academic gathering was organized by the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR-New York) which was being conducted by President Richard N Hass.
Replying to a query, Khan said that over eight million Kashmiris have been living under restrictions in Kashmir for almost 50 days.
During the course of his QA with President Hass, Khan went on to say that he would want the United Nations to play a role in mediating talks with India.
“For 19 years if you have not been able to succeed, you’re not going to be able to succeed in another 19 years,” Khan also said while talking at the Council on Foreign Relations Monday morning prior to his scheduled meet with President Trump.
Here was an implicit message to President Trump for resuming talks with the Talibans.
Ahead of his talk with the academic gathering, PM Khan had met with the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
According to reports made available, both leaders discussed the current state of US-Pakistan relations, recent developments in the disputed region of Kashmir, and Pakistan’s relationship with India, Afghanistan, and other neighboring countries.
Pak PM Khan has by the way already exchanged his views with some key US lawmakers who that included Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Lindsey Graham.
Prime Minister Modi too is pretty busy in meeting the world leaders on the sidelines of the UN general Assembly and taking them all in confidence that Kashmir was an internal matter of India and Pakistan was talking on the issue unnecessarily. But how could an issue that has been awaiting a plebiscite under the aegis of the UN be an internal matter of India? We fail to understand the Indian logic.
By the way, Nepal appears nowhere in the crowd in and around the UN general assembly.
Talks have been dominated by either India or Pakistan.
International observers appear to have wrongly taken President Trump’s hobnob with PM Modi in Houston’s mega event which was largely “funded” by the Indian government whose economy back home has hit an all-time low. India has already been hit by recession, so claim Indian media agencies. Rahul Gandhi has already taken note of the misuse of the state funds.
President Trump perhaps very tactfully used and over-used PM Modi’s presence in his political favor aiming at the upcoming US election to which Modi did not even understand. Modi instead took Trump’s presence at the event as if the entire USA had been inside his personal pocket henceforth to which it was not.
At best President Trump excessively used PM Modi and made him to shout the slogan in his favor for free. It is here that PM Modi lost the political play.
Former Foreign Minister Yaswant Sinha says that PM Modi by seeking votes for President Trump has intervened in the internal affairs of USA in many more ways than one.
Definitely Trump has won.
But what the other political parties in US now will think of Modi who personally favored President Trump’s re-election is any body’s guess? What the stalwarts from other political parties in USA now may have been thinking of Hindu PM Modi?
More so the President of the US can’t be Modi’s personal property. Whatever President Trump did with Modi in Houston was simply a shielded gesture to garner the votes of the Indian-Americans. And Trump succeeded in his effort most likely.
“It is President Trump’s balancing act. He believes in a transactional relationship with any country, and right now both India and Pakistan remain equally important for him for different reasons,” so said Ali K Chishti, a Pakistani security analyst while talking to German news agency-DW.
Experts say that Pakistan more so the Prime Minister Khan has considerable influence on the Taliban, and it could help Trump in brokering a deal that is acceptable to all parties to the Afghan conflict. But can it get the kind of US support it wants on Kashmir in return? It would be Khan’s biggest diplomatic test since coming to power last year, so believe the Nepali observers.
It is here that Pakistan’s PM can convince President Trump that peace in Afghanistan be given a chance and that he will give it a try and resume the derailed talks with Taliban once again.
While talking to the Council of Foreign Relations, Monday, PM Khan revealed that “the Talibanis wanted to talk to me personally, however, President Ashraf Ghani told me not to entertain talks with the Talibans and I preferred to go by President Ghani’s wishes as a good neighbor”.
This does mean that should US hint PM Khan then he can initiate talks with the Talibans once again much to the political gains of the US.
That the US has already told Pakistan to go ahead with peace talks with the Talibans gets slightly reflected from the meet of the US special envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad with the Pakistan PM Sunday in New York. This meet took place a day ahead of Trump-Khan official level talks.
This meet must have been arranged in advance which then surely has message underneath.
Diplomacy has several facets. Some are seen and some remains unseen. Diplomacy also has several tiers and tracks.
PM Khan too has some space to bring into play his political/diplomatic acumen in convincing President Trump on Kashmir given President Trump himself admitted Monday while addressing a joint press conference together with PM Khan that “Modi was very aggressive while talking on Kashmir yesterday ( at Houston)”.
Trump has a desire to mediate but India rejects the mediation. However, the US president once again has reiterated that he was ready to mediate provided both India and Pakistan approach him.
But if President Trump is clever enough then by this time he should have already understood as to why Pakistan prefers his mediation repeatedly and on the contrary why the Indian side rejects the offer of mediation even by the US?
Trump is not a duffer not to understand as to why India prefers to deny the mediation efforts?
For the Road: The Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday pressed the US President Donald Trump to restart the abruptly stalled talks with Afghanistan’s Taliban and said Washington has a “duty” to calm the Kashmir standoff with India.
Khan was clear in telling President Trump that “Stability in Afghanistan means stability in Pakistan,” Khan said at the very start of a meeting with Trump on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly building in New York Monday morning (local time).
He also pleaded for help in Kashmir, a disputed Muslim-majority territory, part of which has been placed under a military clampdown by neighboring India, restricting many basic freedoms.
It is almost fifty days plus that the Kashmiri population have been kept in a large India controlled prison called Kashmir.
“The most powerful country in the world has a responsibility,” Khan said, calling India’s clampdown “a siege” and warning that the “crisis is going to get much bigger.”
Khan appealed Trump to be kind enough to convince PM Modi at least to lift seize in Kashmir so that the plight of the people could be made less miserable. If the innocent population of Kashmir remain ignored for long by the West, then they could be radicalized by some fundamentalists. The chances remain high. It is therefore important for the West to stop supporting fake Hindu-supremacist-democracy that India is by all means. That’s all.

@N.P. UPADHYAYA

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