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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Maryam Nawaz ignores the Kashmir situation, continues dirty politics

One would have imagined that Pakistani politicians would temporarily set aside their petty politics as the Draconian instinct of the BJP government peaked in Kashmir. Instead, the opposition in Pakistan keeps up its unimpressive slew of protests. The latest development is Maryam Nawaz’s “Free Nawaz” rally in Khushab.

News Desk |

As a polarized national discourse in Pakistan finally begins to converge around India’s blatant show of aggression in the occupied Kashmir, it seems that Maryam Nawaz’s politics of agitation remain completely undeterred by the issue of unanimous national concern. On Sunday, during a “Free Nawaz” rally in Khushab which was the latest stop in her mass-contact campaign, she called on her supporters to be “ready to march on Islamabad to topple the government.”

There are few issues that tug on the Pakistani voter’s heartstrings the way the Kashmir dispute does and disregarding national sensitivities to continually call to topple the PTI government during such a time is a questionable course of action. The Indian government has reportedly moved an additional 180,000 troops to the valley over the weekend and has intensified its brutality in Kashmir, using cluster bombs and resorting to cross-border firing along the Line of Control (LOC).

The same establishment that Maryam Nawaz so vehemently opposes is the sole reason that Pakistan has been able to maintain its hardline stance on Kashmir since the very inception of this country. Internal politics aside, the patrons-past of Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman’s lethargic and unproductive tenures as chairman of the Kashmir Committee, should compensate for those years of lost progress by keeping national interest as a priority and proactively backing the renewed vigor of Pakistan’s Kashmir policy and foreign policy in general.

The movement has been blacklisted since the infamous pro-Afghanistan and anti-Pakistan slogans raised at its rallies went viral all-over social media during the last year.

As President Trump offered to mediate on the Kashmir issue again, after the embarrassing fiasco which unraveled when the Indian government outrightly denied a request for arbitration after the Trump-Imran talks, analysts foresaw renewed Indian aggression in Kashmir.

Read more: India, Pakistan slammed by UN over Kashmir inaction

Maryam Nawaz did make a statement about Kashmir at the rally in Khushab and said that “they are not alone as Pakistan stands with them. When Kashmiris are wounded, it is Pakistan that feels the pain.” However, her actions directly counteract Pakistan’s ability to deal with the developing crisis in Kashmir. The opposition must recognize the central importance of optics in this conflict and help project that Pakistan has its own house in order.

As Amit Shah, who is said to be even more of a hardliner and a hawk than Modi himself, successfully tabled the proposal to scrap Article 370 on Monday morning, the Pakistani opposition continues to try and strongarm the government, courts and various state institutions in an attempt to release their leaders from jail. Article 370 is what sanctified Kashmir’s special status outside the Indian union.

The Indian government had to outright deny a request for arbitration after the Trump-Imran talks, analysts foresaw renewed aggression by India in Kashmir.

Its sudden removal will likely be met by mass opposition, which explains why Kashmir is experiencing a complete lock-down. Curfews, no internet and the arrest of important Hurriyat leaders (including the rumored death of the JKLF’s Yasin Malik) foretold a major development in the valley. As the BJP’s bigoted agenda becomes clear, observers speculate that article 35-A could be next.

Read more: Pakistan evacuates Chinese from Kashmir as Indian firing continues

This important clause prevents non-Kashmiris from acquiring land in the occupied valley and removing it could portend another Palestine: getting mainland Indians to settle in Kashmir and upsetting the Muslim-majority demographics of the occupied Kashmir could help India engineer new claims to the land.

One hopes that this latest development will make the opposition realize that they may very well be in the midst of a major historical flashpoint in Kashmir and that they must extend their full support to the government in order to allow them to launch a meaningful diplomatic and political offensive.

The reason the support of the opposition is more crucial now than even in the escalation in February is because there is no military solution to the specific crisis that is developing. Pakistan is unlikely to go to a full-scale war over these constitutional amendments, but it is impossible that the indigenous struggle of the Kashmiris will not erupt in some dramatic manner sooner or later if these developments come to pass and the Indian-occupied Kashmir begins a shift from being an Orwellian police state to a modern-day apartheid if 35-A is also struck down. It is likely that active resistance, peaceful or armed, will be attributed to Pakistani support, and will be used as a tool to discredit Pakistan on international forums.

With the ongoing issues of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and captured spy Kulbushan Jadhav, a slew of false flag attacks and other conspiracies in Kashmir could be part of a smear campaign to harm Pakistan on the diplomatic front, not to mention the frenzied far-right support PM Modi would garner from this move. The only way to counter an agenda of slander would be to do everything to remain on the right side of the opinion of the world community.

The important clause prevents non-Kashmiris from acquiring land in the occupied valley and removing it could portend another Palestine.

The unanimous support of the opposition would grant PM Imran Khan the political legitimacy required to tackle an issue like this diplomatically, much like the rally at Washington DC’s Capital One arena did for his US negotiations. Pakistan’s diplomatic successes, especially Trump’s offer for mediation on the Kashmir issue, may just have thrown India into a spiral of desperation which caused this offensive in the first place.

Kashmir has the highest ratio of soldiers to citizens anywhere in the world, and as a supplementary force of 180,000 perverts this ratio even further, Pakistani and Indian social media networks are being thrown into a frenzy with the hashtag, #KashmirParFinalFight.

Read more: India called out on Kashmir crimes: UNHRC

Maryam Nawaz’s hardline stance

On the opposition’s “Black Day” on July 26th, Maryam Nawaz was seen addressing a rally in Balochistan whose crowd was inundated by a sea of posters expressing solidarity with Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir, MNAs belonging to the notoriously anti-state Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) that allegedly attacked an army check post on May 26th earlier this year which led to the arrest of dozens of party workers.

The only way to counter an agenda of slander would be to do everything to remain on the right side of the opinion of the world community.

While Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has been vocal in support for the PTM MNAs, repeatedly demanding their production orders in the national assembly, Maryam Nawaz also expressed implicit support through that rally.

Read more: India kills five Pakistani soldiers in Kashmir

The movement has been blacklisted since the infamous pro-Afghanistan and anti-Pakistan slogans raised at its rallies went viral all-over social media during the last year, and the DG ISPR’s outright accusations of PTM receiving money from RAW and NDS for its anti-state activities. With such aggressive posturing, it is little wonder that Maryam Nawaz has burnt all bridges of reconciliation with the establishment and the ruling party.