The opposition parties of Pakistan, while committed to pursuing their anti-government agenda, have once again failed to appreciate and understand the gravity of the regional geo-political situation, especially with reference to the recent developments on the country’s eastern and western borders. A five-hour-long joint meeting of the opposition parties in Islamabad on Monday decided to initiate a protest movement against the PTI government and to lay siege to the federal capital in near future. After presiding over the joint opposition, Maulana Fazlur Rahman, who remained chief of the Kashmir Committee for almost 30 years during successive governments, accused Prime Minister Imran Khan of “selling out Kashmir under an international conspiracy”.
Without going into the merits and demerits of the decisions taken at the Monday’s meeting and the pronouncements of Fazlur Rahman, one expected more prudence and maturity from the opposition parties given the ongoing tensions between Pakistan and India which is being feared to generate into a military conflict. Nothing could have added to the joys of the BJP leadership in Delhi than the negative signals emanating from Islamabad about a nation being in disarray and disunited on an issue like Kashmir that has continued to define the country’s national security policy and foreign policy concerns for the last seven decades.
It appears as if the power struggle and personal dislikes override the callings and demands of the national interest and external threats to the country. How serious is the situation due to the ongoing tensions between Pakistan and India could well be appreciated by President Donald Trump’s telephonic conversation with Narendra Modi and Imran Khan on Monday evening. It was the first interaction between Trump and Modi after the BJP government’s August 5 decision about the status of Kashmir, and second with Imran Khan since then. In a tweet after a conversations with both the leaders, Trump said, “Spoke to my two good friends, Prime Minister Modi of India, and Prime Minister Khan of Pakistan, regarding Trade, Strategic Partnership and, most importantly, for India and Pakistan to work towards reducing tensions in Kashmir. A tough situation, but good conversations!”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 21st, 2019.