Imran Khan’s remarks on Pakistan cricket team's convincing victory over India in T- 20 World cup tie, on October 24, were extremely distasteful. Had he restricted to hailing his country’s team, and its victory over Indian team, it would have been fine, given the fierce rivalry between the two teams on the cricket field. But Imran Khan crossed all limits of political and diplomatic decency. He said “I know after last night’s thrashing by the Pakistani team in the cricket match, it’s not a very good time to talk about improving relations with India.”
This was a shocking statement coming from a head of the government, who keeps on blowing the trumpet of having good relations with all the neighbouring countries, linking outcome of match to the dialogue and improvement of relations with India.
He made these remarks while addressing the Pakistan-Saudi Investment Forum in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia where he had gone to seek loan of $ 4.2 billion to keep things going on in his country. His remarks about India were manifestation of so many frustrations that have dawned on him because of the state of affairs of Pakistan. Pakistani Army has shown his place by making him to endorse the appointment of Lt. Gen. Nadeem Anjum, which the army had announced on October 6.
This opens the broader question; can dialogue with such a man whose own position within his country is precarious be fruitful? This question should be pondered over by all those who have become advocates of dialogue with Pakistan, to what they call resolve “Kashmir issue”. In the current times, especially when Union Home Minister Amit Shah declared, that too, on the soil of Kashmir that he would talk to the youth of Jammu and Kashmir.
The chronology needs to be understood in proper perspective. On the day of his arrival in Srinagar on October 23, Home Minister interacted with thousands of youth clubs, which have come up with the great initiative of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha. The thrust of Shah’s interaction with the youth clubs was that he wanted to be friends with the youth in the union territory of J&K.
Next day, a match was played between India and Pakistan at international cricket stadium, Dubai, UAE, which India lost by 10 wickets. That was a game. Both the teams displayed a deep sense of sportsmanship after the match was over.
On October 25, the Home Minister, while reacting to the suggestion of former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah to hold talks with Pakistan, asked, “Why should I hold talks with Pakistan, if I have to talk I will talk to our own people, particularly the youth.” This must have irritated Pakistan, and her advocates in Kashmir no end.
Imran Khan knew that the Indian Home Minister has refused to talk to Pakistan, rejecting its locus standi on Kashmir. The present dispensation in Delhi sees no claim of Pakistan in Kashmir. Home Minister has rejected talks with Pakistan. This must have made Pakistani premier to lose his sense of balance and bypass all niceties.
Shah was talking of talking to “our own people”, thus laying a ground for a foundational dialogue with the youth of Kashmir, enabling them to build their future. The inappropriateness was obvious, on the part of Imran khan, whose own house is in complete disorder. His government declared Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) as a militant organization, then went on to hold talks with the same. Pakistan’s interior minister Sheikh Rashid talks one thing, while information and broadcasting minister Fawad Chaudhry speaks in contradictory terms.
TTP is a terrorist organization , but at the same time Imran Khan discloses that he is in talks with the terrorist groups. This is not a fiction. These are facts duly reported by Pakistani press. A simple message for Pakistan, that it should learn in its own interest, is that it should mind its own business.
On the part of Home Minister, it would be worthwhile to see how he moves on his promise of talks with the youth of Jammu and Kashmir. Much of the work has been done by L G Manoj Sinha who has ushered in an era of hope among all those who want to see it and build upon this. The buildings and bridges are not just the work of bricks and mortars, these are the palpable and palatable pillars of peace. Any one disputing this should answer, why the burning of schools, government buildings in 1990s was the work of enemies of peace, and how the reconstruction of the same in late 1990s became the positive steps towards restoration of peace. If that was work of peace, why it is not now?
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.