The Arab touchdown

The optics look good

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Kashmir being central to Pakistan’s existence is different from its other bilateral issues. And since the abrogation of Kashmiri people’s rights through striking down of a constitutional guarantee by the Modi government, Pakistan was making hectic efforts to garner international support against this illegal act that is in contravention with the international humanitarian laws as well as the UN resolutions on the issue.

Initially there were few meaningful statements from the influential capitals and we felt a little let down by the lukewarm reactions. Last week, the prime minister in his address to the nation pointed towards the apathy of the world and reiterated his resolve to continue to advocate the Kashmir cause.

On Wednesday, however, the foreign ministers of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates flew down to Pakistan. It was reassuring to say the least. The people of Pakistan and the world felt that their grievance of sorts with their brotherly countries was heard and they could no longer delay their visit to tell the government that they know what they were going through.

During the meeting the PM had another chance to tell what was the situation like in the occupied valley and how badly the people of Kashmir need the international support, in particular that of the Muslim world. The joint declaration that came out of the visitors’ meetings in Islamabad is not as strongly worded as it Pakistan would have wished it to be. The two countries know the feeling of Pakistanis and they are concerned at human rights violations in the Indian occupied Kashmir.  Now compare this with the award that was conferred on the Indian PM and the statement that the UAE issued soon after the Indian move a month ago.  But that is not bad either. We have a consolation coming from the European Union too where a vigorous debate took place around the issue. The US democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn of UK Labour party have come out strongly in favour Kashmir people. Diplomacy needs patience.