Kashmir deserves justice

The three men who could potentially resolve the Kashmir issue and the Indian annexation of the disputed territory last month are currently gathered in New York ahead of the UN General Assembly session. The focal point at this session should be Kashmir and the continued abuses in the valley which has now been under lockdown for over six weeks with essential supplies running short. Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi have both highlighted the situation of the Kashmiri people in their meetings. Imran met the head of Amnesty International to support the reports issued by the rights watchdog on abuses in Kashmir and also Kashmiri activists in a candid address to the Council on Foreign Relations think-tank. He stressed the need to avoid conflict between two nations armed with nuclear weapons.
President Trump, who is not well known for his modesty, in his meeting with Imran Khan stressed that he himself was an excellent arbitrator and would be willing to mediate on Kashmir if both Pakistan and India agreed to this. The offer of course leaves us nowhere at all. It is highly unlikely India would agree to such a suggestion and indeed it has no reason to do so. This is especially true as Trump, who was lavish in his praise for Imran Khan during their meeting, was equally ebullient when he accompanied Indian PM Modi on Monday to a giant rally of Indian-Americans at Houston – being known as the ‘Howdy Modi’ gathering. Both men exchanged the sometimes crass nationalism for which they are known. There was much applause and their intention was obviously to put together votes for Trump in the upcoming election from the Indian community in the country. This was also at least one purpose behind the meeting with Imran Khan.
It is difficult to read what line of action which Trump may follow — but it seems most likely that he will steer clear of taking any definite direction. This may mean the current UN General Assembly or the meetings before it will lead nowhere. It may be a very long time before the Kashmir issue is resolved, one pebble at a time. Pakistan has not gathered any significant support from the world for its cause and it does not seem that President Trump, who holds the key cards alone, is likely to play them. Calling PM Imran Khan a friend and a man to be trusted is for him a simple matter. He used equally flattering words for Modi. But perhaps other decision-makers in the US will be influenced by the anti-Modi rally which took place outside the stadium where Modi and Trump addressed a large crowd. Here there were no people wearing saffron. A protest march led by Kashmiris and joined in by Muslims, Christians, Dalits and Sikhs shouted slogans against the Indian prime minister and demanded justice for Kashmir. Kashmir deserves this justice. The focus should indeed be on that territory and not on any other country. But there is as yet no likelihood that this justice will be delivered any time soon.