Pakistan steps up diplomatic offensive against India over IOK

New Delhi under pressure from global powers to ease IOK restrictions, lift curfew


Aamir Khan September 03, 2019
Attendees wave Pakistan's national flag and Kashmir's flag, to express solidarity with the people of Kashmir, at the Mausoleum of Muhammad Ali Jinnah. PHOTO: REUTERS

KARACHI: Pakistan has stepped up its diplomatic efforts to ratchet up pressure on India to undo its August 5 illegal annexation of the disputed Himalayan state of Kashmir, which has stoked tensions between the two nuclear-tipped nations.

According to diplomatic sources, global powers and key regional players are piling pressure on the Narendra Modi government through backdoor channels to immediately lift the almost month-long curfew in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and restore liberties of people there.

Modi is facing severe global backlash to its ill-advised step to strip Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) of its special status, a source told The Express Tribune, while India has also been chastised by the international community regarding its narrative on the disputed region.

Islamabad has already snapped trade and diplomatic relations with New Delhi in protest against Modi’s illegal and unconstitutional step. Pakistan has publicly said it would not engage with India unless the draconian curfew is lifted in IOK and the semi-autonomous status of the region is restored.

Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi are in constant contact with global powers and regional players, including Muslim states, over the situation in IOK, said a top official in the federal government while speaking with The Express Tribune on the condition of anonymity.

“Pakistan is pursuing a three-pronged diplomatic campaign to rally support of international powers, key regional players and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) against Modi’s illegal and unconstitutional move,” said the official who was not authorised to publicly speak on foreign policy matters.

According to the sources, Pakistan’s effective diplomacy has once again shone the global spotlight on the festering dispute as the UN Security Council took up the issue after decades – much to the consternation of New Delhi which calls IOK its internal matter.

Pakistan has also sought to enlist the support of UN, OIC, the United States, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates against the draconian measures of the Modi government in IOK which has been turned into a gigantic prison with a strict curfew, complete information blockade, and use of brute force against its people since August 5.

“Pakistan has achieved significant diplomatic success as a result of its concerted campaign,” the official said. “Conversely, India has failed in its diplomatic effort to justify its illegal steps as international and regional players are unwilling to buy its narrative,” he added.

The Modi government is said to be under mounting pressure to lift the curfew in IOK and take steps to normalise the situation in the disputed territory. The PTI government is hopeful that its diplomatic effort would lead to more pressure on New Delhi.

Saudi Arabia’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs Adel al Jubeir and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan would visit Islamabad on Wednesday as part of global efforts to de-escalate tensions in the South Asian region.

Diplomatic sources added that Wednesday’s visits would be followed by more tours by officials of regional players and global powers.

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