Imran Khan can’t accept J-K is on path to prosperity: India’s US envoy
Pakistan’s relentless campaign for intervention in Kashmir has found no traction and the UN Security Council has rebuffed its appeal for a discussion.Updated: Sep 20, 2019 12:55 IST
Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan finds difficult to accept that Jammu and Kashmir is “back on the road to progress and prosperity” after India repealed an “anachronistic and temporary provision of law”, Indian ambassador to the US Harsh Vardhan Shringla has said.
Harsh Vardhan Shringla’s opinion piece in The New York Times on Thursday comes after Imran Khan’s August oped in the same newspaper complaining of continued global indifference to his Kashmir campaign after India revoked the special status to the region on August 5.
Pakistan’s relentless campaign for intervention in Kashmir has found no traction and the UN Security Council has rebuffed its appeal for a discussion. He and his diplomats have tried to build on US President Donald Trump’s now-gone offer of mediation through multiple interviews and opens in US media.
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Their case had been built thus far on Kashmir as a longstanding dispute between India and Pakistan and the danger of two nuclear-armed countries going to war, the change in the status of Kashmir and the “plight” of Kashmiris.
Shringla pointed out this shrill effort of Imran Khan and senior officials of his government of painting “an apocalyptic picture” of India’s decision to repeal Article 370 and raising “the threat of conflict, including nuclear war, with India”.
Shringla said Pakistan has a “vested interest in preventing prosperity in Jammu and Kashmir, and in the Ladakh area of Kashmir, because a weak economy fuels separatist sentiments in some quarters.”
“This fits into Pakistan’s larger strategy of using terrorism as a political tool. This is a country whose fingerprints are on terrorist strikes across the world and that was home to Osama bin Laden in his last days. So it also opposes the repeal of Article 370, which legitimized discrimination and hindered economic progress,” Shringla said.
“Clearly, this prospect for a more prosperous Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, cuts the ground under the feet of Pakistan. Its prime minister claims that he offered to work for peace, progress and prosperity with India. What he does not say is that the assembly line of terrorists that is a major industry of his country continues without pause,” he said.
Shringla listed the reasons and rationale behind the decision of the Indian Parliament to reorganise the province and rescind the Article 370, saying it “corrects a historic wrong” and opens the door to rejuvenate the region’s stagnating economy.
“Equally important, this change will deliver social and economic justice to a region that was out of step with the rest of the nation,” he said.
Shringla said the Pakistani prime minister has “every right to run his own economy into the ground. But his determination to inflict similar damage on the province of a neighbouring country must be challenged by the international community.”
The Indian envoy went on to attack Imran Khan over his suggestion that institutions like the Financial Action Task Force, an international organisation that investigates terrorist financing, are part of a conspiracy against Pakistan.
“He obscures the fact that the mastermind of the Mumbai terrorist attack of 2008 has been shielded by Pakistan. And that the Pulwama suicide bombing was carried out by Jaish-e-Muhammad, a United Nations-proscribed terrorist outfit that operates openly from one of his major cities,” he said.
Shringla also slammed Khan’s criticism of India for its treatment of Muslims and other non-Hindu minorities. “This would be laughable if the reality was not so tragic. When Pakistan was created, its population was 23 per cent minorities. This is now down to 3 per cent, a figure that speaks for itself. And there are countless faces - Shias, Ahmadis, Christians, Hindus and Sikhs - who can testify to this tragic reality,” he said.
The envoy asserted that the abrogation of Article 370 have “no implications outside of India. Its external boundaries have not changed. Nor has the Line of Control with Pakistan been affected.”
“What has changed is that there is now hope for development that will help the residents of the region - and that will obstruct Pakistan’s longstanding support of cross-border terrorism. That is why the prime minister concocts alarming scenarios, hoping to stop these improvements,” he added.
“But Prime Minister Khan needs to wake up and smell the tea. Development will happen, progress will be visible, prosperity will take root and terrorism will fail. And India will hope that Pakistan renounces hostility, violence and terrorism to become the normal neighbor that all of South Asia desires,” the Indian envoy said.
First Published: Sep 20, 2019 10:03 IST