Imran Khan attacks Modi to further his Kashmir campaign
Evidently frustrated by the lack of response to his calls for intervention on Kashmir, Prime Minister Imran Khan launched Friday a shrill personal attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking to tie him to anti-semitic views of RSS leaders and bringing up denial of US visa to him over 2002 Gujarat riots.
Writing in an oped in the New York Times, the Pakistani leader also complained of continued global indifference to his Kashmir campaign and compared it to the initial “appeasement” of Nazi Germany and brought up, once again, the likelihood of military conflict between two nuclear-armed countries.
Khan’s campaign for intervention in Kashmir has found no traction globally, with the UN Security Council rebuffing its appeal for a discussion. He and his diplomats have tried to build on President Donald Trump’s now-gone offer of mediation through multiple interviews and Op-Eds in US media.
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. Khan is now ratcheting it up with personal attacks on Modi.
Khan wrote in the Op-Ed of Modi’s “great love and reverence” for M S Golwalkar, the second head of the RSS, to tie him to latter’s beliefs as reproduced in a portion from book he wrote in 1939 in which he had written approvingly of the “purging” of the Jewish people by Germany to “keep up the purity of the nation and its culture” and had said it was “a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by”.
The authenticity of the extract as reproduced by Khan in the Op-Ed could not be independently verified immediately. And while Modi has written admiringly about Golwalkar, it could no be checked if the prime minister approved and supported every element of Golwalkar’s belief systems.
Khan then brought up the Gujarat riots of 2002 when Modi was chief minister of the state and the subsequent denial of US visa to him, saying he had “hoped that being elected prime minister might lead Mr. Modi to cast aside his old ways as the chief minister of the Indian state of Gujarat”. The US had denied Modi a visa in 2005 over the riots, under a rarely used US law.
The Pakistani ploy, as reflected in the new Op-Ed at least, was to make Modi central to its case, as he went on to contend that the Indian prime minister’s first term was “marked by lynchings of of Muslims, Christians and Dalits by extremist Hindu mobs”.
Khan wrote at length in the article about his letters to India seeking resumption of talks and peace and his appeals and efforts otherwise, but as before, he overlooked entirely the central issue that has prevented the two countries from resolving their difference — Pakistan’s support of terrorism.