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Monday, Sep 16, 2019

Imran Khan says ‘no point in talking to India any more’

At a meeting with Trump at the White House on July 22, Pak PM Imran Khan had expressed his frustration with the lack of response from India to calls for dialogue, and with a bank of TV cameras on them, went on to appeal to the American leader to “mediate and resolve this issue”.

world Updated: Aug 23, 2019 00:00 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has complained once again about the lack of response from India to his calls for talks and warned of an escalation in tensions between two nuclear-armed countries
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has complained once again about the lack of response from India to his calls for talks and warned of an escalation in tensions between two nuclear-armed countries(Reuters)
         

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has complained once again about the lack of response from India to his calls for talks and warned of an escalation in tensions between two nuclear-armed countries, deploying a scripted alarmist ploy Pakistan uses to get the world’s attention in its pursuit of third-party mediation on the Kashmir issue.

Several analysts have pointed out that Pakistan feigns frustration to divert focus from the key Indian pre-condition that it must first stop supporting terrorism.

“There is no point in talking to them,” Khan told the New York Times in an interview in Islamabad. “I mean, I have done all the talking. Unfortunately, now when I look back, all the overtures that I was making for peace and dialogue, I think they took it for appeasement.”

“There is nothing more that we can do.”

According to India, it can: chiefly, cut links with terrorism, as it was separately conveyed to the publication’s editorial board by Indian Ambassador to the US, Harsh Vardhan Shringla. “Our experience has been that every time we have taken an initiative toward peace, it has turned out badly for us,” Shringla said. “We expect Pakistan to take credible, irreversible and verifiable action against terrorism.”

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But Pakistani leaders tend not to address this issue and seek, instead, to portray themselves as victims of terrorism.

The Pakistani prime minister went on to raise the spectre of escalation. “My worry is that this can escalate and for two nuclear-armed countries, it should be alarming for the world what we are facing now.”

A fortnight ago, the Pakistani ambassador to the US Asad Majeed Khan raised similar concerns in an interaction with the NYT editorial board: “We are two big countries, with very large militaries, with nuclear capability and a history of conflict, so I would not like to burden your imagination on that one.” In an op-ed in the Washington Post around the same time, the ambassador pitched for US mediation, following up on an offer from President Donald Trump.

At a meeting with Trump at the White House on July 22, Imran Khan expressed his frustration with the lack of response from India to calls for dialogue, and with a bank of TV cameras on them, went on to appeal to the American leader to “mediate and resolve this issue”.

Khan laid out the same argument then as in the interview: Pakistan has tried its best, “made all overtures to India to start dialogue, resolve our differences through dialogue”.

“But unfortunately, we haven’t made headways as yet.”

President Trump responded with an offer to mediate, falsely claiming, that Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked him to, which was swiftly denied by India.

Pakistan has sought to internationalise its issues with the recent change in the status of Jammu and Kashmir and has lobbied the P-5 and other key countries and the United Nations and the Security Council for mediation. It has been turned down mostly, and had to settle for “informal closed-door consultations” of the UNSC and not a formal, open meeting whose deliberations are aired live, that it had sought, along with a chance to address it.

In the interview with NYT, Khan repeated his fears of “ethnic cleansing and genocide” in Kashmir. Previously, he has used words like “Nazis”, “fascists”, “racists” and “Hindu Supremacists”, in this context, to tap into and exploit concerns and outrage that they arouse around the world, specially among western nations.

On Thursday, Khan chaired a meeting of the Kashmir Core Group and Pakistan Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa to discuss efforts to highlight the Kashmir issue. The focus was on “Pakistan’s extensive political and diplomatic outreach”, said a statement issued by the prime minister’s office.

India has largely ignored his comments that, analysts said, are also aimed at an internal constituency.

First Published: Aug 22, 2019 20:29 IST