Pakistan media, foreign office, behind- the- curve on swift Jammu and Kashmir moves

NEW DELHI: Pakistani media is behind-the-curve, unable to grasp the real meaning of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s deft move to announce his intent to restore statehood to Jammu and Kashmir—a major strategic move after August 5, 2019, when J&K was turned into a Union Territory.

Analysts say that PM Modi’s masterstroke, which was made public follows a meeting with top Kashmir mainstream parties on Thursday, docks with a budding peace process on J&K, which had commenced through back- channel talk between the two countries. The foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed , had confirmed that the behind-the -scenes dialogue took place in his country.

The under-the- radar moves between the two countries broke into the open after the two militaries decided the revive their 2003 ceasefire agreement across the Line of Control (LoC) and the International Border (IB) in February this year. People aware of the rapidly shifting sands of New Delhi -Islamabad ties said that PM’s move could well help to breathe new life into the essential but preliminary steps to normalise India-Pakistan side. Insiders told India Narrative that the military led by the Army Chief, Qamar Javed Bajwa was the sole custodian of the new initiative from the Pakistani side. It is now likely that after the PM’s initiative, follow up steps could commence especially on the diplomatic and trade front involving commercial engagement first across the LoC, and then on a larger scale across the Wagah international border.

Obviously, the Pakistani foreign office did not appear to be in sync with the ground breaking initiative taken by the military headquarters in Rawalpindi.

In an official statement issued by Pakistan’s foreign office, the country’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that India must refrain from taking any “further illegal steps” in Kashmir after its actions of August 5, 2019.

The Pakistani Urdu paper the Daily Jung came out with headline, “Modi’s drama flops, puppet leadership of Occupied Kashmir also demands restoration of status quo.”

Another Pakistani newspaper, Dawn said that “the meeting is, therefore, being viewed in Islamabad as an attempt by Delhi to legitimise its Aug 5 action, which had been heavily criticised in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, by making minor concessions and that too to take forward its own agenda without giving any meaningful relief to the Kashmiris. The only beneficiaries, as per the thinking in Pakistan, would be the occupied valley’s pro-India political class that may get a sort of rehabilitation — an old Indian ploy.”

Pakistani daily, The News said that only the puppet pro-India Kashmiri leaders were invited to the meeting, while the pro-freedom and genuine leaders were ignored.

“The meeting was meant to ward off mounting criticism at home and abroad after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government in August 2019 downgraded the region’s status, split it into two federal territories — Ladakh and Jammu-Kashmir — and removed inherited protections on land and jobs for the local population.”


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