Kashmir is always a nice fallback issue for politicians of all hues in Pakistan especially if they are not doing too well at home. So it was no surprise to see the non-starter Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto trying to pull out this hoary old chestnut on Sunday in London. In what was billed as the ‘Million March’, Mr Bhutto tried to rouse a crowd of people by raving about India’s ‘human rights violations’ in Jammu & Kashmir. But the drama did not go according to script as the crowd pelted him with eggs and tomatoes. In September, in a desperate attempt to revive the PPP, the young Bhutto vowed to reclaim every inch of Kashmir. Not to be left behind, former army chief and president Pervez Musharraf also came out boasting of the Pakistani army’s capabilities of attacking India. In a country where its all-powerful army’s raison d’être is its enmity towards India, ‘India-bashing’ is the best way for politicians to remain relevant. The recent sabre-rattling by these discredited politicians must be seen in this light.
From 1947, Pakistan has repeatedly tried to raise the ‘Kashmir issue’ and fought three wars over Kashmir. The anger against Mr Bhutto could also have been a result of political rivalries within Pakistan. But the moot point is that Islamabad refuses to accept reality. Instead, it has turned a blind eye to the terror factories operating in PoK and the ISI, Pakistan’s intelligence service, is aiding and abetting terror groups, like the LeT and JeM, etc, to spread terror in India. Its repeated attempts to internationalise the ‘Kashmir issue’ have failed, with the United Nations and many countries stressing that India and Pakistan must resolve the issue at a bilateral level.
Pakistan must conduct itself with dignity if it wants to earn the respect of other nations. Its leaders would do well to talk about the real issues affecting the country, like its economy and security. Jammu & Kashmir will hold assembly elections in the next two months and it is expected that the people of the state will repose faith in India’s democratic system as was done in 2008. Pakistan has wasted more than six decades of its existence trying to foment unrest in the Valley. Meanwhile the terror groups it has nurtured have come back to bite it. The Kashmir issue is one of diminishing returns as hapless Bilawal’s experience showed.