Rajat Sharma

Why Imran Khan sounds desperate?

akb Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan addressed a rally in Muzaffarabad, Pak Occupied Kashmir on Friday and in a belligerent tone he asked the crowd “not to cross the Line of Control towards Kashmir valley but wait for his signal” after he completes his visit to the United Nations.

This appears to be a new form of tactic on part of the Pakistani leadership, which is desperate after failing to get support from major world powers on the Kashmir issue. That is why Pakistani leaders, both civilian and military, are talking about war, in various forms. Leading them is their Prime Minister Imran Khan, who, in order to divert attention of his people from domestic economic crisis, is egging them on to march towards Jammu & Kashmir.

Friday’s rally marked the third visit by Imran Khan to POK within a month. Accompanying him were his Home Minister, Defence Minister, Foreign Minister, Railway Minister, and other party minions. Since the crowds at his rallies are few, cricketer Shahid Afridi and Pakistani actors and singers were roped in, and the rally began with catchy film songs to attract the audience.

Imran Khan then railed against India and Prime Minister Modi, and threatened to “retaliate” (eent ka jawaab pathar) if India attacked Pakistan. The Pakistani PM also warned world powers of “grave consequences from the Islamic community” if it continued to ignore the Kashmir issue.

Imran Khan knows it well that Pakistan can never win a conventional war against India. So he changed tack and asked the Pakistani youths to be prepared “to cross the Line of Control”. A war is fought by armies and not civilians, and Imran Khan should be the best person to know this.

The UN General Assembly, an annual affair, is meeting in the last week of September and both Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Imran Khan are due to address the august gathering. Pakistan foreign minister raised the Kashmir issue at the UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva this week, but none of the big world powers supported him.

Pakistan Interior Minister Aijaz Ahmed Shah remarked that the “world is no more listening to Pakistan”. That is why, Imran Khan warned western powers on Friday that they would have to face the consequences if war broke out between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir issue. It clearly reflects the desperation of a failing Pakistani leadership.

It is now amply clear to all that the revocation of Article 370 granting special status to Jammu and Kashmir is an internal matter of India, and India has the sovereign right to amend its Constitution and laws. Pakistan’s argument that it is an old dispute which requires third party mediation, falls flat on this premise.

Imran Khan is trying to divert the attention of his people from the failures of his government in tackling inflation, economic crisis and dwindling foreign reserves. His war mongering may or may not lead to war, but he must be staring at hard facts. The fact is that India has won all the four wars that it has fought with Pakistan since 1948. The sooner the Pakistani leadership realizes this, the better.

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