Can Imran Khan internationalize Kashmir ?
Kashmir Lost! The paradise on earth, often described as the jugular vein of Pakistan, is sensed to be slipping from its hand. Not only Prime Minister Imran Khan, the all powerful army were blindsided by India’s move to abrogate the article 370. Since war is the last option on table, Imran Khan has reverted to the old Pakistani policy of internationalization of Kashmir issue.
As if Kashmir is yet not an international issue. Pakistani leaders in the past rarely missed an opportunity to internationalize Kashmir. Imran Khan’s quest to raise India’s annexation of Kashmir in the UN General Assembly along with weekly protests is hardly innovative. On the same venue, the previous PM Nawaz Sharif sang paeans for a slain Kashmir Jihadist. As charismatic as he is, Khan is relying on the overused and overplayed Kashmir policy?
Although, unlike his predecessors, Imran Khan’s internationalization pitch is as much about India as it is about Kashmir. His Trump-like twitter storms excoriates Indian government of Nazi behavior and Narendra Modi to be Hitler incarnate. He even dabbles into the internal issues of India unrelated to Kashmir and often invokes the founding fathers Mahatma Gandhi and Jawahard Lal Nehru.
So far, Khan’s old policy in a new bottle hasn’t shown any promises. The UN Security Council didn’t agree on a joint statement on Kashmir. A majority of world powers agree with India’s contention that Kashmir is a bilateral issue. Even the fellow Muslim countries haven’t sided with Pakistan with a few exceptions.
Khan’s strategy now solely depends on how Kashmiri people react once the curfew is lifted. If history is to go by, Pakistan’s expectations from Kashmiris has given diminishing returns. Operation Gibraltar in 1965 or the tacit support to insurgency in 1990s in Kashmir didn’t do anything to resolve Kashmir issue. Moreover, it has given a bad name to Pakistan as hub of terrorism.