Once upon a time it was age of selection and as luck would have it a monkey got ‘selected’ as King of the jungle in place of a lion. No sooner he was selected he was confronted with the first challenge as great Chief Executive when a goat impeached him to save his little lamb who had been earlier kidnapped by a wolf to devour him at his feast. The monkey king promised the goat that he would leave no stone unturned until he finds the little lamb. To show how serious he was to save the lamb, he started jumping from one branch to another, from one tree to another. Time passed and it was almost end of sunlight and yet there was no news of little lamb. The poor goat in agony knocked at the tree on which Monkey King was resting, being the master of the ring she warned the king that its little lamb would soon be swallowed by the wolf. Monkey king shouted back— ‘can’t you see I have spent the whole day in trying to recover your lamb’.
I am sorry to say that this is a very vulgar analogy about Imran Khan as the King and Kashmir being the little lamb with India as wolf. All the hectic efforts by Khan and his foreign minister to get any relief for the militarily besieged Kashmiri population seems to have fallen like seeds on the stony ground. And one cannot say that he did not do much when like the monkey king he too has been trying, jumping from one tree to another. Now finding no positive response from the Muslim Ummah and some friendly countries, he has come down to holding weekly half an hour round of prayers starting Friday seeking wrath of God to fall on Modi Sarkar who has let loose a reign of terror in J&K and is planning genocide. Since he is a master of U-Turns and as he claims that most of his successes in politics have come through U-Turns, he has just forgotten that how sincerely he had hoped that Modi should win last elections as, according to him, he would prove to be the best Indian politician to do business with. Despite the fact that he received nothing but cold shoulder from the new God Of Hinduvta, he for a long time kept himself positioned with bended back and folded knees trying his best to appease him to bring him around to talk to him. He returned with lot of accolades the Indian pilot who was capture by Pakistan to good humour Modijee.
It seems that the Prime Minister Khan has found it easy to divert the attention of the masses from growing domestic problems by his repeated appearances on national television to beat about the bush regarding the Kashmir issue. The increasing frequency of his telecasts and repetition of his copy-pasted texts is overwhelmingly nauseating for the people at large who are getting fed up by his cacophony of nonsense that he throws up on his each appearance as if he is past master in history. By and large sober elements are finding Khan’s Kashmir narrative as outright fictional and irrelevant to history taking neither Pakistan nor the Kashmiris anywhere.
His presentation of Kashmir case every time he appears on television is like as if it was never raised before ever at a public forum. He forgets the fact that Kashmir happens to be unfinished agenda of the partition and has remained a core foreign policy issue for Pakistan as well as India. It was during the second tenure of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto when Pakistan achieved two major successes in lobbying for it.
Benazir Bhutto spearheaded a diplomatic offensive, visited 16 Muslim countries and succeeded in getting an observer status to APHC and Kashmir in the OIC. Perhaps this was the most outstanding achievement of any Pakistani leader or government at OIC level.
The second biggest achievement ever again was Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s when her government successfully lobbied for the Kashmiri cause in 1995. It was for the first time ever and until now that any major European political party such as the Labour Party- acknowledged it as a world peace threatening issue in 1995 and considered it as part of unfinished agenda of the partition in 1947 left over as Raj’s legacy. Since it was Labour Party that brought about partition in 1947, it was considered its moral and political responsibility to resolve it. Later in 1997 when Labour Party came in power its Foreign Secretary Robin Cook offered mediation to both India and Pakistan to resolve the issue. Indeed, from that year onward there has been no forward movement except blowing of hot, talking of imminent nuclear conflagration, Long distance phone calls or fervent writing letter exercise by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi— all PTI cajoling to resume the composite dialogue have failed.
One must give credit to Imran Khan for coming up with his novelty of calling for collective prayers every Friday to seek God’s wrath to fall on Modi Sarkar. Surely if this Friday prayer gambit does not succeed, he will have no choice but to get his Right Royal Peerni Sahiba to do some powerful Isthikhara. No doubt one must appreciate one significant contribution of the PTI government that it has made Kashmir a fixed weekly agenda for the pep talk to be regularly given by Prime Minister Khan who has since his ‘selection’ grown too fond of listening to his own jingoistic voice and his expression of English language much like Don Quixotic swipes.
Indeed, in context to his televised speeches much too often with the same text and plethora of charges against his political opponents, one is reminded of great Urdu poet Ghalib’s famous verse—‘with what face would you go to Ka’aba with your felonious record of misdeeds’—when you accuse Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi of imposing reign of terror in occupied Kashmir when the human rights record of Pakistan under Khan’s rule is as much of fascist as that of Modi’s.
There is a consensus that never before in Pakistan’s history media was as repressed as now and free voices as strangulated as now. When one tells younger generation journalists that General Zia’s martial law was the worst, when he hanged most popular elected leader of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on a trumped up murder charge to eliminate him from the political scene. One is reminded of how hair used to stand at their ends at the mid night knocks at our doors, when journalists were picked up for writing the truth and noting but the whole truth that too in the national interest, when journalists were tied with their four limbs on an inquisition like contraptions in public stadiums to be whipped mercilessly to instill fear in the masses and to castrate their political will to oppose dictatorship. Their answer is that all Ziaist actions were covert while now everything under Imran Khan and Bajwa doctrine is overt. One writes something and much before the ink gets dried, he or she is picked up by official kidnappers and taken to their dreaded dungeons of oppression never to be heard again.
Prime Minister Khan indeed needs to be told that his Kashmir narrative in the global context becomes meaningless when he is countered by assassinated Benazir Bhutto’s son Bilawal Bhutto accusing his government of conspiring to kill his father ex-president Asif Ali Zardari when he is deliberately denied medical treatment for his fast deteriorating health condition that includes uncontrolled diabetes, high blood pressure, a serious heart condition and spondylitis of the back. Any further deterioration for want of proper treatment could, God forbid, leads to fatal consequences and surely one major political opponent less for Imran Khan.
Notwithstanding the charges against Zardari or the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, even as accused persons they cannot be denied medical treatment for their serious ailments. Whatever is being deliberately done to them will be counter productive to Imran Khan’s Kashmir hullabaloo. World is watching closely the treatment meted out to former elected President and Prime Minister and the political opponents of PTI government and in its eyes it is as fascist as is the oppression inflicted on the population of Indian held Kashmir being kept under military siege by Modi Sarkar.
In his most recent telecast to the nation Prime Minister Khan lamented a great deal over the contemptuous lack of support from the members of Islamic Ummah where there is a race among members to outrun each other in rewarding Prime Minister Modi with their countries highest civil award for his ‘contribution to global peace and humanitarian causes’.
Not only that, worst slap was inflicted on him by Imran Khan’s most trusted newly acquired friend American President Trump who won his heart for his alleged keenness to act as mediator between Pakistan and India over Kashmir which has so far proved to be nothing more than a pep talk to take Pakistani Prime Minister on a joy ride to cuckoo land.
Indeed, President Trump is reported to have made mention of Kashmir as a dispute to his profound Indian strategic partner Modi and both agreed that it is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan that could be resolved by bilateral talks. President Trump must have spilled cold water on IK’s hopes of him taking up the Kashmir issue with Prime Minister Modi. Surely, in a nutshell, all that was built by Khan and his pokerfaced foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi fell flat with a loud thud on the barren ground.
With no hope of any substantive support from the so-called Ummah and much talk of the same from other otherwise friendly countries, call for a change in our narrative. If Modi is found to be oppressive with his Muslim opponents in Kashmir, so is Khan full of vengeance with the democratic opposition denying space to much needed national unity and cohesion to pursue a common agenda for helping Kashmiri population to achieve its goal of right of self-determination given to it by the UN Resolutions for impartial plebiscite and as solemnly agreed to by India’s first prime minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru as non-negotiable agenda for the resolution of the disputed state.
Prime Minister Khan’s address to the nation must have ended as an exercise in futility since it could not find access to the Indian occupied state due to communication blackout and curfew there. Khan’s critics rightly say that instead of repeating his plethora of charges against opponents Khan should have dedicated more time to the plight of the Kashmiris since Modi’s military siege. The continuous curfew and total ban on communication in the valley could possibly trigger a tragic crisis with greater tragedy to have world watch by in silence. IK is found of dreaming winning world cup time and again without playing for it, now he sees a silver lining despite the fact that none of the countries that Prime Minister Modi has visited since abrogation has supported Imran Khan’s campaign to isolate India. Despite one’s best efforts one cannot find the silver lining in Narendra Modi’s ‘historic blunder’ that has provided an opportunity to the Kashmiris to gain freedom from illegal Indian occupation as claimed by Pakistan’s quixotic prime minister.
Odds are heavy, the entire OIC is reluctant to support Pakistan on Kashmir whereas other member nations of the UN too are not willing to endorse Kashmir as a non-bilateral issue. Even Pakistan’s trustworthy friend like China wants the two countries to talk it over. Khan, instead of wasting his time in jingoistic rhetoric on domestic audience should devote more to lobbying diplomatically internationally.
Prime Minister Khan is advised to focus more on the international audience. His address also exposed the limits that he has put on his foreign policy which should be proactive and multifaceted rather than restrict Pakistan’s foreign policy options to just one-point agenda. His oft repeated declaration that as long as he is alive he would not give up fighting for Kashmir is nothing but soap box rhetoric.
One hopes Khan adopts a pragmatic approach in domestic politics, gives up his political vendetta and persecution of his opponents and brings them on the same page to raise a united voice when he speaks in the UN General Assembly next month. Just calling the people out on the streets and to observe every Friday a protest day in support of the Kashmiri people has only brought pressure on Modi sarkar to ease the military siege and to announced economic packages for development in J&K.
Before concluding one would agree with the view of some of his critics that Imran Khan’s address to the nation could only be classified as a statement of the head of an NGO rather than ahead of government. In more than half of his speech he tried to teach Pakistanis to know the ideology of Indian fundamentalist organisation like RSS. He could not establish any link between BJP & RSS.
Being a cock and bull historian that Imran Khan is, the more he talks of history the more evident is his bankruptcy in historical nuisances or geography as simply as evident from the mention of Bosnia in the wrong context. He defends his cold-shouldering by the Muslim countries and wants Pakistanis not be disheartened by the behavior of certain brotherly Muslim countries. According to him, eventually, they will come to Pakistan’s support just like they did in case of Bosnia when the fact is that none of the Muslim countries came forward to the support Muslims in Bosnia? It was rather American president Bill Clinton who ordered the bombing of Serbs that had laid siege to Bosnian Muslims. He took that action despite strong opposition from Eastern Europe and Russia. America acted while the whole Muslim world was unconcerned.
Let’s hope Imran Khan’s dream to get Allah’s wrath on Modi Sarkar materialises and that Kashmiris find some recourse to freedom. Every Friday special prayers in mosques and collective prayer to invoke God’s wrath on Modi government is indeed matter of faith but he does not remember that even God help those who help themselves.
It is indeed a tragedy that Pakistan has a government and a prime minister who are clueless and helpless to protect national interests both in Kashmir and Afghanistan. No doubt his buddy Trump advised his friend Modi to talk to Pakistan and promised a role for India in Afghanistan—yet another slap on IK’s face. People fear performance much like Monkey King.
Disclaimer: Surkhiyan believes in freedom of expression and providing space for views and opinions from all sides. But we may not agree with everything we publish. The views expressed in this op-ed are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Surkhiyan. We do not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.