Kashmir Martyrs Day

July 15, 2020

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Prime Minister Imran Khan rightly paid rich tribute to Kashmir’s great martyrs on Youm-e-Shuhada-e-Kashmir and praised the residents of the valley for their “valiant fight and defiance against a Hindutva supremacist regime”. There can really be no denying that the struggle of the Kashmiris, horrible as it has been since Partition, has become particularly horrendous since the Modi administration came to New Delhi. First a whole generation of Kashmiris was blinded and maimed by the unprecedented, barbaric use of pellet guns. Then the Occupied Valley was stripped of its special status last August and made to endure a torturous curfew. And now the Indian government is bent upon dramatically changing the religious, demographic and cultural status of the region.

To be fair, the Imran Khan administration has done more to raise awareness about the cause than many of its predecessors, no matter how sincere their own efforts were. And, given the circumstances, the best that could be hoped for was to create enough momentum about the issue on the international stage for the rest of the world to take serious notice. The prime minister’s now famous speech at the United Nations, which was received pretty well pretty much everywhere, was a big step in this direction. Unfortunately the world’s most advanced nations, which always pride themselves for upholding democratic and humanitarian values across the world, paid lip service at best. And it says a lot about the state of the moral compass of the world that the lure of India’s huge market was enough for the world to put the Kashmir issue on the backburner for a while longer.

Yet Pakistan must not lose sight of the goal. While even many Muslim countries have disappointed us on this count, some friends have come out like never before. They include Malaysia, Turkey and Iran. It would now be in Pakistan’s own interest to strengthen alliances with these countries and exert yet more pressure internationally. Sadly some of our existing foreign policy complications, which even the government struggles with sometimes, prevent a lasting partnership with some if not all of these countries. Therefore, coming up with a strategy that is likely to work is now going to test Islamabad. Kashmir Martyrs Day is once again a reminder that this issue remains among Pakistan’s top-most priorities.

To be fair, the Imran Khan administration has done more to raise awareness about the cause than many of its predecessors, no matter how sincere their own efforts were. And, given the circumstances, the best that could be hoped for was to create enough momentum about the issue on the international stage for the rest of the world to take serious notice.

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