Why is Pakistan troubled by the prospects of a prosperous Kashmir?

Things are not going well for Pakistan – as growing foreign debt drives the country to the brink of financial disaster, a Faustian deal struck with outlawed parties like Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan, and the likelihood of another with Tehreek-e- Taliban Pakistan [TTP] terrorists, will certainly bring Islamabad to its knees. Yet not a day goes by without Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan or a party member expressing concern over what the yellowish eyes of Islamabad perceive as “oppression” of Kashmiris.

The irony is that rather than focusing on internal issues threatening the very idea and existence of Pakistan that deserve immediate attention, Khan and his bunch of merry ministers are busy condemning what they claim to be the abject apathy of the international community towards Kashmir. The pro-Pakistan lobby in J&K raves every time Islamabad mentions Kashmir, but the majority know that, since Kashmir has been the most effective theme in Pakistani politics in deflecting national public opinion, its rhetoric in this regard is purely theatrical.

With the United Nations Security Council [UNSC] making it clear that J&K is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan that must be mutually resolved without any third party intervention, Islamabad’s claim that Kashmir is an international issue is meaningless.

So, it was not at all surprising that the UNSC refused to hear Islamabad’s bizarre claim that by repealing Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, New Delhi had violated UN resolutions on Kashmir. In fact, Islamabad knew from the start that this allegation had no substance because even before the United Nations Security Council meeting, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi asked his compatriots “”do not live in a madman’s paradise ”,and told them that “They [UNSC members] do not wait for you with garlands in your hand.

However, since Islamabad still believes its position on repealing Section 370 is right, then why does it not go to the International Court of Justice? Two weeks after the repeal of Section 370, Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi had pompously announced that “We have decided to take the Kashmir case to the International Court of Justice.

Yet even after more than two years, this promise is still not kept. So, those who consider Pakistan as the true sympathizer of the Kashmiris, must ask Pakistan why has it not yet brought the question of the repeal of article 370 to the ICJ? Could it be the fear that being unsuccessful, this case will be dismissed bluntly by the ICJ?

Islamabad’s hostile reaction to recent developments in Kashmir should open the eyes of the pro-Pakistan lobby. Last month, two important events occurred in the Union territory of J&K. First, a memorandum of understanding for the development of real estate and infrastructure was signed between the government of J&K and the UAE; Second, Islamabad has granted Indian private carrier GoFirst Airways overflight clearance to operate non-stop flights between Srinagar and Sharjah, four times a week, effective October 23.

On November 1, GoFirst entered into an agreement with Lulu Group, one of Dubai’s largest retail houses, to ship Kashmir apples, handicrafts and other local products to various markets in Dubai. Middle East. When signing the agreement, Lulu Group Director Salim MA noted that there was “The immense opportunities we have for exports from here[J&K]” and gave the assurance that “As Lulu, we will be able to take lots of fruits, vegetables, antiques and crafts and many other items. We assure you that we will do our best to export goods from Kashmir.”

However, the very next day, Islamabad closed its airspace for GoFirst airways without giving any reasons, and the timing of these two developments surely cannot be a mere coincidence!On the contrary, by denying overflight clearance, GoFirst succeeded in “sabotaging” the Lulu Group’s ambitious plans to market Kashmir-made products to the Middle East. While the flyover ban does not affect the well-established Lulu Group or GoFirst Airways, it will be essentially Kashmiri horticulturalists and artisans who will be deprived of a golden opportunity to conquer Middle Eastern markets.

There is no doubt that Islamabad is angry with India-UAE bonhomie and his anguish can be measured from the former Pakistan High Commissioner to India’s admission Abdul Basit as “This [MoU] is a major achievement for India in the context of Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir, as OIC members have always kept Pakistan’s sensitivity to Kashmir at the forefront. “However, unable to influence the Indo-UAE deal, Islamabad returned to its childish ways and decided to shut down its airspace for GoFirst within 24 hours after this airline signed an agreement with Lulu Group, without even caring. of its perverse effects. on the people of Kashmir.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time that Islamabad has refused the use of its airspace to Indian commercial flights departing from Srinagar. In 2009, after granting permission for Air India’s direct flight from Srinagar to Dubai, Pakistan abruptly closed its airspace for this flight. The long detour to bypass Pakistani airspace made this flight economically unviable and therefore had to be suspended. That could well happen this time around, too, as the detour to avoid Pakistani airspace involves an additional 90 minutes of flight time, which would increase fares and potentially result in the suspension of that flight.

It is absolutely clear that by shutting down its airspace for GoFirst flights, Islamabad is jeopardizing the prospects for Kashmiri farmers and artisans to get better prices and bigger markets in the Middle East. So the question the pro-Pakistan lobby must ask their benefactors sitting across the line of control is- if Islamabad is really a sympathizer of the Kashmiris, then why is it denying them a chance to sell their products in foreign markets by closing its airspace to flights from Srinagar?

Ropemaker:Basit believes that the opening of trade activities between the peoples of Kashmir and the Middle East is a “A major success for India in the context of Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir”, aptly describes Islamabad’s biased state of mind which sees any positive development for the people of Kashmir as a threat to its own influence. Denying the benefits of cheap international air connectivity to the people of Kashmir by closing their airspace twice is a clear indication that for Islamabad, the impoverished Kashmiris are more beneficial than the rich because it is very easy to use the first as pawns in his proxy war against India.

The pro-Pakistan lobby must face the reality that Islamabad has no legal basis to claim J&K, nor the military capacity to wrest control. Those who run business in Pakistan know this and well know that Kashmir is a dead issue, but for obvious reasons they are unwilling to accept it. So all Pakistan can do is boil the Kashmiri pot while inciting violence – and since it is Kashmiri blood that is being shed, what does it matter for Islamabad?

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