Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan had raised the expectation of Pakistanis in the aftermath of repeal of Art 370 by Bharat last year on 5th August. He declared that Pakistan will protest the step taken by Bharat. Soon afterwards, he announced that Pakistanis will observe ‘Kashmir Hour’ by standing on roads for half an hour between 12:00 and 12:30 PM on 30 August, 2020. As the step was not very successful, it was soon abandoned. Of course, Pakistanis could not be bothered about Kashmir when their economy was painfully dependent on doles by IMF, who had just approved a $6 billion loan in July, 2019. This time around, Imran Khan imitates Nepal to save face in front of his supporters.
Imran Khan imitates Nepal
On the first anniversary of the repeal, Imran Khan had very few options to show that he was determined to take Kashmir for Pakistan. Its economy remains in doldrums, COVID situation is not promising and Baloch insurgency has again reared its head in recent times. Its army never had the capability, nor willingness to wage war against Bharat. Consequently, he stole a page from the book of Nepali communists!
Today in a press conference Mr. Khan unveiled a new map of Pakistan, that shows the whole union territory of Jammu and Kashmir as well as UT of Ladakh in Pakistan. He explained it as the first step to “take” the area from Bharat. However, realizing that discretion is the better part of valor, he did not have courage enough to say that he will take military action for it. He said that he will achieve the same by a ‘political process’.
Ramifications of the step
Mr. Khan seems to have forgotten that the Pak occupied Jammu and Kashmir as well as Pak occupied Gilgil Baltistan, which is part of Ladakh, have not yet reconciled to its rule. There are frequent demonstrations against its misrule and even the terrorists it funds, claim to work for an independent Jammu and Kashmir. The ramifications of this step on the relations of Pakistan and separatists will be seen in coming days.
A curious feature of the map was inclusion of Junagarh in Pakistan. Junagarh was a state in Saurastra in Gujarat. Its Nawab wanted to merge with Pakistan, but the population of the state revolted and Nawab had to run away to Pakistan to save his life. Interestingly, the Nawab was very fond of his dogs and took all his dogs with himself, and forgot his wives in Bharat! Anyways, the inclusion of Junagarh opens up new issues in Indo-Pak relations.
The map-wars of the subcontinent many beget interesting results. As Pakistan has escalated the matters now, Bharat can calmly give Baluchistan freedom movement its formal support. It can help form and recognise a government in exile in Bharat and also approve a new world map showing Baluchistan as an independent country. It should be noted that independence of Baluchistan was declared by its ruler in August, 1947, but it was forcibly occupied by Pakistan. As Kashmir has been shown in Pakistan map on the basis of it being Muslim majority, same treatment can be given to Hindu majority Tharparkar and Umerkot areas of Sindh, Pakistan!
Pakistan has opened a Pandora’s box by releasing a new map. Nepal has brotherly ties with Bharat and that has stopped the leadership from taking much diplomatic action against it. However, Pakistan can expect a much stronger response and this step could prove to be much more harmful to Pakistan in the long term.
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