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Tick India off the menu for a while

If the world listens to Indian PM Modi talk about Kashmir for too long it might actually forget the other side of the story; or that one exists at all. A real-life story of more than seven decades of occupation, oppression, widows, orphans, rapes and everything else that happens when strong countries enslave weak territories. And just like the Israelis did in Palestine, the Indians are doing in Kashmir; justifying a demographic invasion of their homes with state funds, legislative rights and street lights. Kashmiris understand too well of course, as do Pakistanis, that the Indian PM’s self-praise was meant only to add insult to injury. Injury to Kashmiris who have already been humiliated for seventy years. And to Pakistan because it is now expected, by the Kashmiris, to somehow undo what India has just done.
To be fair to PM Imran Khan, though, there’s hardly anything more he can do at the moment. We’ve downgraded diplomatic relations, suspended the Samjhota Express, and stopped all trade including what could have become of the ATT [Afghan Transit Trade]. And he’s talked to everybody who cared to listen, especially President Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed. And there have been significant, and necessary, foreign ministry overtures. That, considering India’s clear diplomatic clout in the international community, is how things are likely to hang for much of this electoral cycle.
Its best, therefore, if Islamabad takes peace talks with Delhi off the menu for at least the foreseeable future. That’s a shame, really, considering that at least since the Musharraf days both the executive and the so-called establishment have been on the same page and offered unconditional, comprehensive talks to India. There could not have been a better time, if India were really serious about peace and commerce, than when Gen Musharraf offered the four-point solution. And all the instances that followed, all the way to Imran’s offer of ‘you take one step, I’ll take two’.
Whatever Modi’s aims or plans, though, Kashmir is going to light up in unprecedented protest sooner or later. They can’t keep a headlock on the valley forever, can they? And the moment house-arrested leaders are let out, they will address enraged crowds. How this particular story plays out will test the moral, and legal, integrity of the world. Western countries that happily drop bombs on countries because their governments didn’t appreciate democracy and human rights have been mum about Kashmir for unforgivably long.
If Imran can untie this particular knot, perhaps he can score some more points, despite the rage in Kashmir and the collapsing economy at home.



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PM resolves to facilitate trade with Afghanistan

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