Will sudden change in Pakistan's foreign policy help resolve Kashmir Dispute?
One of the Prophet's companions named Abu Ayyub Al Ansari (r.a) narrates that after having won several battles against enemies they decided to give up fighting and focus on economic prosperity. Thereupon Allah, the Exalted, revealed to the Prophet ﷺ: (Al Quran 2:195) And spend of your substance in the cause of Allah, and do not throw [yourselves] with your [own] hands into destruction [by refraining] - Abu Ayyub (r.a) says that this was revealed to remind that our primary focus should not be improvement of economy, for doing so will cause them to abandon fighting (i.e. jihad) resulting in their humiliation at the hands of enemies. [Kitab Al Jihab - Hadith 2512, Sunan Abu Dawud] So impactful was this on Abu Ayyub Al Ansari (r.a) that he while being very old accompanied one of the first Muslim armies to Constantinople and died while fighting there. His tomb in Istanbul is still a reminder for us all.
At the recent Islamabad Security Dialogue, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan stressed the need for regional Economic integration and development which could not be achieved till Kashmir issue remained unresolved. His speech was a clear indication of a will to start talks to normalize ties with India, raising observer eyebrows as to what caused this change of heart. A day later, Pakistan Army Chief General Bajwa echoed similar sentiments towards India while stressing that "demography, economy and technology were the drivers of change in the world" and it was "time to bury the past and move forward". These statements were followed by the latest ceasefire between India and Pakistan that went into effect on Feb 24, 2021. There have been many ceasefires in the last several decades over line of control, the de facto border separating the Pakistani Kashmir from Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir state. But the one that went into effect on Feb 24 is very different. It’s important to note that after coming to power, Imran Khan made it very clear to the world that there can be no dialogue with the sitting Indian government ruled by BJP political party, an RSS Organization affiliate, that follows a Nazi inspired racist ideology of Hindu supremacy over entire South Asia. The famous 2019 UN speech by the Pakistani PM, in which he raised the Kashmir issue and warned of rising Islamophobia loud and clear, made him appear as a Muslim champion rather than a nationalist image that was usual from a Pakistani leader.
Separatist Kashmiri legend Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who leads the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, an alliance of religious and political organizations struggling for Kashmir independence for decades against the Indian occupation hit out at Pak leadership after the ceasefire news. India’s BJP regime revoked the special status of Kashmir on Aug 5, 2019 that stripped it of its autonomous status and send additional hundreds of thousands of troops to join the already 500,000 stationed, to impose a complete curfew in the occupied valley. Geelani released a hard-hitting letter questioning Pakistan for carrying out back channel talks with India despite assurances that no engagement will be held with India until August 5 move is rolled back. He reminded Pakistani PM how he had gone back from earlier international stance that no dialogue with the aggressive neighbor can ever take place till they reinstate the special status.
The Kashmir Issue
After British withdrawal in 1947 the South Asian region that comprises of modern-day Pakistan, India and Bangladesh was partitioned in to 2 nations: Hindu majority India and Muslim majority Pakistan. There were several princely states ruled by Nawabs or Rajas that could choose to be part of whoever they wished to, and Kashmir was one of them. But Kashmir's situation was a bit unique: the Raja was Hindu, but population was Muslim. Since the partition was done based on the logic that Muslim majority areas will become part of a new Muslim nation, Kashmir should have become part of Pakistan. Maharaja Hari Singh, British appointed Hindu Raja, did not follow the principle of allowing the majority to decide their own fate. Instead he handed over the region to Indian army after signing The Instrument of Accession, an illegal agreement, on 26 October 1947. The Pakistani Muslims attacked and wage an armed struggle to help Kashmiri brothers fight for independence. The United Nation passed a resolution that gave the Kashmiris the right to plebiscite which would allow them to either join Pakistan or India or become independent. Since such a move could result in India losing Kashmir. In 1949 India decided to give autonomy to the state allowing them to have their own parliament, own laws, own flag except that its foreign affairs be decided by New Delhi. Since 1949 till 2019, India failed to implement the UN resolution and continued to erode the given autonomy as well. It has also continued to reject every offer made by Pakistan to peacefully settle the dispute through UN resulting in 3 wars (1947, 1965 & 1999) over this matter. India now plans to change the demographics by resettling Hindus from other parts of India into Kashmir so in case of plebiscite the vote for independence fails.
The Saudi-UAE Factor Behind the Scenes
For many it was difficult to grasp what caused this shift in Pakistan’s foreign policy towards Kashmir. The Saudi based Arab News in English in its latest interview with Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs Adel Al-Jubeir, revealed that Saudi Arabia has been attempting to reduce tensions between India & Pakistan for last several months. It was right after Saudi revelation that UAE brokered back channel talks were reported by Al Jazeera few weeks after the Feb 24 ceasefire. And so, it is the Saudi betrayal once again at play. Being custodian of the 2 holy mosques in Makkah & Madinah, the Saudis have failed to raise the Kashmir issue with India and demand their right to self-determination as given to them by the United Nations. Instead the Saudis have largely turned a blind eye towards Kashmir. Their only focus is pressuring Pakistan in reducing tensions with extremist India so their future economic agreements with India can be fulfilled. One should make it clear that Saudi Arabia have never dealt with Pakistan as an independent state like Turkey or China for instance. It considers Pakistan more of a client state, which it can pressure in to accepting their demands. It was the Saudis that pressured Pakistan to quit the Kuala Lumpur Summit where likeminded Muslim countries were gathering to discuss severe issues impacting Muslims such as refugee crises, regional conflicts and Islamophobia, which have been largely ignored by the Saudi & UAE dominated Organization of Islamic Conference, created for the exact same purpose. It was the Saudis & UAE that threatened to withdraw their financial support in difficult times when Pakistan expressed concern about Saudi’s criminal silence over Kashmir. It was Saudis along with UAE that pressured Pakistan in to joining their brutal and illegal war in Yemen which Pakistan did not do so directly but agreed to send its former army chief Raheel Shareef who now leads the pro Saudi Islamic Military Counter-Terrorism Coalition, also dubbed “Islamic NATO”, is involved in the Yemen conflict and committed to fight “terrorism”. Additionally, the Saudi-UAE ceasefire efforts may have more to the picture. The primary concern for new Biden US Administration is China whom US plans to counter with help from its allies including India. This ceasefire will provide some breathing space for Indian military from one side so it can focus on the other. This is obviously in addition to giving breathing space to Pakistan so it can help US in Afghanistan as May 1 deadline for international troop withdrawal looms large.
Will Pakistan Benefit from its Abrupt Policy Shift towards India?
It is said that one does not hand a rose when the enemy is sharpening their swords. India has committed too many crimes against Pakistan and its people since its existence in 1947. The post-independence exodus of Muslims that traveled across the border to reach present day Pakistan were put to sword in the thousands, men, women and children by Hindu & Sikh mobs. The Indian attempts to breakup Pakistan such as their support for Abdul Ghaffar Khan to separate the NWFP (now Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa) province, the Baloch insurgency which continues to terrorize Balochistan and has led to killings of thousands of civilians, the covert support for MQM in Karachi which has kept the city hostage for years with its terrorism. The Indian support for installed Kabul government during Soviet era and American invasion, collaboration with Afghan intelligence leading to a wave of bombings and terrorism throughout Pakistan for past 3 decades costing lives of more than hundred thousand people: civilians and security officials. The continued occupation of Kashmir and the killings of more than hundred thousand Muslims throughout the valley. The recent exposed largest network of NGOs and fake media organisations linked to India that for more than a decade have been engaged in anti-Pakistan propaganda. Hundreds of fake media outlets, long-dead organisations and stolen identities were used to paint Pakistan in a negative light in the international world. As Pakistan extends a handshake of peace, India ranks as second among the top 10 arms importing nations in the world, accounting for 9.5% of global arms imports. For obvious reasons this arming to the teeth is not for peaceful purposes.
But the real question is why India acts this way? The answer for Pakistan lies in the Quran where Allah ﷻ has already warned Muslims when political & military power is in the hands of Jews such as Israel and Idol Worshipers such as India then they will be the most violent: (Al Quran 5:82) "Certainly you will find the most violent of people in enmity for those who believe (to be) the Jews and those who are Idol Worshipers…” – Under the current BJP's rule India's rating has gone worst with several global democracy and human rights watchdogs reporting pressure on human rights groups, intimidation of journalists and a spate of attacks, especially against Muslims. The violent hatred carried by India against Muslims in general and Pakistan in particular, has been crystal clear in terms of history, international relations and according to religious truths. The best example for Pakistan is Azerbaijan who fought and relieved its lands from illegal Armenian occupation. Azerbaijan decided to act after 30 years of useless negotiations. And so Pakistan needs to rethink new foreign policy with India, not fall for the American backed Saudi-UAE deception and avoid blunders that may cost its existence.
 Time to bury the past and move forward: COAS Bajwa on Indo-Pak ties, Dawn News, Published March 18, 2021
 Geelani Invites Pak Snub For Questioning Truce, Observer News Service | March 1, 2021
 Timeline: India-Pakistan relations, Al Jazeera News, By Asad Hashim 1 Mar 2019
 UAE brokering secret India-Pakistan peace roadmap: Officials, Al Jazeera News, By
Sudhi Ranjan Sen Bloomberg, 22 Mar 2021
 PM regrets missing KL Summit over others' misconception 'it would divide ummah', Dawn.com Published February 4, 2020
 Pakistan returns $1 billion of Saudi Arabia's soft loan, officials say, Reuters Published December 16, 2020,
 Decoded : Islamic Military Counter-Terrorism Coalition, TRT World,
 Pakistan gives UN a dossier on India, New Delhi dubs it ‘lies’, Al Jazeera, 25 Nov 2020,
 40,000 people killed in Kashmir: India - Rights groups in Kashmir say toll could be close to 100,000 from revolt which began in late 1989, Afp August 10, 2011,
 The staggering scale of India’s anti-Pakistan propaganda machine, TRT World, 10 Dec, 2020
 Pakistan ranks 10th among largest importers of major arms globally: report, Reuters | Dawn.com, Published March 15, 2021
 'Electoral autocracy': The downgrading of India's democracy, BBC News, Soutik Biswas,