Friday, March 17, 2023

India Views on Imran Khan Victory in Kashmir

After a series of election campaigns and crowded Jalsas (Public Gatherings) – the Kashmir elections have concluded with PTI emerging as the leading party with 26 total seats in the assembly. Meanwhile, PPP, MC, and PMLN secured 11,1 and 6 respectively. The Kashmir elections however are sometimes labeled as a competition between several families and clans, but the results of the current elections were not unexpected. The party that rules in Islamabad generally does have more chances of winning in the elections in Kashmir.

Now, that the results are out – there is a lot of hope attached to the Kashmir cause, as Imran Khan has always been a proponent of this particular cause. His speeches at several international platforms like the UNGA have put a spotlight on the cause. Making people realize that Kashmir is a relevant issue that needs attention. This has served the purpose right (representation wise) in the past two years that he has been the PM of Pakistan, as the government before him was never “too vocal” on the cause.

Imran Khan
Image Courtesy theiet
India on Kashmir Elections

However, there has not been a lot of information coming in from New Delhi about the current elections in Kashmir. The Hindustan Times reported that the Indian Government has rejected the “so called election the valley.

Arindam Bagchi, an Indian Diplomat – in a media briefing said, “any attempts by other countries to change the status quo in areas illegally occupied by Pakistan, as also to Pakistan bringing up any material change in Indian territories under its illegal occupation”. He added, “We call upon parties concerned to cease such actions.”

Bagchi added that “India has lodged a strong protest with Pak authorities on this cosmetic exercise protested and rejected by local people. Such exercise can neither hide illegal occupation by Pak nor grave human rights violations, exploitation, and denial of freedom to people in occupied territories. Pakistan has no locus standi on these Indian territories. We call upon Pakistan to vacate all Indian areas under its illegal occupation,”

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These statements show that the government in India is not happy with the outcome mainly because Imran Khan has been clear with his message on Kashmir. We can draw some conclusions by keeping in view the previous patterns. In 2019, when several clashes took place between India and Pakistan – Imran Khan responded with a peace gesture but also warned India that Pakistan will retaliate if it comes to it.

Therefore, the current Modi government will see Imran Khan’s victory in Kashmir as a challenge and will act accordingly. The results can go both ways, either Pakistan and India will find a common ground with Imran Khan’s peace efforts, or the negative peace can transcend into more clashes like that of Feb 2019.

Imran Khan while addressing an election rally in Kotli, AJK stated that he will provide Kashmiris the right to choose what they want for themselves. They can choose either of the countries or become independent. These statements, if implemented can make waves across the border as no sitting prime minister has ever been so vocal about these issues. He (Imran Khan) also mentioned that he has no plans for making AJK a province of Pakistan – the statement was well received by the crowd.

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Kashmir Cause

Therefore, the case of Kashmir will be in the limelight with better representation than the previous PMLN government. But this does not necessarily mean that there will be any breakthrough in the case of Kashmir as there has been complete silence from Jammu Kashmir since Modi revoked article 377 and deployed the army around the region.

More Responsibility on Imran Khan

However, Imran khan now has more responsibility as people expect more out of him regarding the cause of Kashmir, Sure, the statements do count – but, without action, these are mere mirages that will prolong the current situation of Kashmiris in Jammu Kashmir. After the uproar in 2019 after article 377 was revoked – Imran Khan was a proponent of the Kashmir cause across the globe but the movement faded into mere statements.

But as the famous dialogue from Spiderman says “with great power comes great responsibility” – Imran Khan needs to involve the AJK government and fight for the cause with actions rather than words. As people of Kashmir have put trust in his leadership and are eager for some efficacious results.

Image Courtesy TheNews


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