Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is holding an all-party meeting today with “a one-point agenda” – India. And that agenda has Sharif’s arch rivals – even Imran Khan – putting aside their hostilities, temporarily, with the PM.
The specific agenda of the meeting is to send ” a clear message to the outside world following the ongoing Indian aggression along the Line of Control”, reported the Karachi-based Dawn newspaper.A member of Pakistan’s federal cabinet told Dawn that the government wants the world to know that Pakistan is united against Indian”warmongering.” He said the government will take suggestions from other parties for more effective diplomacy on the Kashmir issue .
“Indian hostilities unite politicians at capital huddle,” said The Express Tribune newspaper crowed. “Footage from the start of the meeting showed the prime minister senior political leaders — including opposition members who launched a campaign to remove him from office,” Dawn wrote.
Nothing unites like India, clearly, considering Imran, the cricketer-turned-politician – whose party has confirmed it will be in the meeting – has been going at Sharif hammer and tongs for being one of the people implicated in the Panama Papers leak.
“The timing of the meeting is significant, because Imran Khan’s PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf) is spearheading a vociferous campaign against the ruling PML-N over the Panamagate scandal,” the Tribune wrote.
Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Sheireen Mazari represented Imran’s party at the meeting. “We have to speak with one voice,” PTI’s Qureshi said.
Sharif’s arch rival, the Pakistan People party’s Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also attended the meeting. “Despite our differences with the government on multiple issues, we are with you, Prime Minister, on the Kashmir issue and Indian aggression along LoC. We will support you. The PPP has taken a clear stance on these issues. This is a turning point in Pak-India relations,” Bilawal said.
“A united Pakistan can counter Indian aggression and by working together we can achieve our national security goals. There is no military solution to Kashmir,” Dawn quoted the Bhutto scion as saying.
PM Sharif will no doubt have a lot to discuss. Following the Uri terror attack of September 18, Islamabad is close to acquiring the status of an international pariah. So much so that most SAARC countries pulled out of attending a summit in Islamabad that was scheduled to be held in November. In addition, since the attack there has been worldwide condemnation of cross-border attacks and nary a peep about India’s retaliation with surgical strikes.
The meeting takes place even as yet another terror attack on an Indian army camp occurred Sunday night. At least two terrorists and a soldier were killed, and one soldier was injured, when terrorists on Sunday night fired at and lobbed grenades on an army camp in Baramulla in northern Kashmir.
“Naturally, the agenda of this meeting should be the ongoing tensions at the LoC and the potential response from Pakistan, particularly in the background of the Uri incident and Indian claims that it had carried out surgical strikes on alleged terrorist hideouts inside Pakistan,” a PPP spokesperson said.
Pakistan has refused to believe that India conducted surgical strikes last week on terrorist camps across the LoC in Pakistan.