Islamabad: Bluster, bravado, and no small amount of blackmail formed the crux of Pakistan’s effort to seek US and international intervention in the Kashmir issue even as its special envoys were harangued and humiliated by Baloch, Sindhi, and Gilgit-Baltistani activists in Washington DC.
Barely had Pakistan’s special envoy Mushahid Husain Syed concluded his case at the Atlantic Council on Wednesday calling for greater US involvement in the region, when he began to be rebuked by angry and disaffected Pakistanis, some of them making no secret of their desire for a separate identity.
The public dressing down was topped by a furious attack by Senge Sering, Director of the Gilgit-Baltistan National Congress, whose outburst against Pakistan’s human rights abuse in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir essentially countered Syed’s case about Indian excesses in J&K.
”You occupy one-third of Kashmir (in Pakistan), and an occupier cannot be a friend of Kashmir on the other side (in India). You have been exploiting resources in Gilgit-Baltistan, without paying royalty or compensation, a single penny for the last 70 years, I call you a thief in Gilgit-Baltistan and a thief in Gilgit-Baltistan cannot be a friend in Jammu and Kashmir,” Sering raged during a question and answer session that followed the Pakistani presentation.
Calling Syed and his colleague Shazra Mansab, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s special Kashmir envoys, shills for the Pakistani military, Sering berated them for turning up in Washington with sweet-talk and begging bowl every time the money dries up for Pakistan, with blackmail about allying with Russia, China, Iran etc to extract more money from Washington.
”Get out of this vicious cycle. Pakistan is not good for any country and it has not done any good for the United States. It is not good for the people of Kashmir,” Sering added.
Indeed, threatening the United States with abandoning it+ for Russia, China, and Iran formed the core of Syed’s argument for Washington’s continued aid, succor and intervention in Kashmir. He bragged about Islamabad’s new and emerging relationship with Moscow, claiming Pakistan now has ”no conflict of interest with Russia,” a country that Pakistan boasted of having ousted from Afghanistan not so long ago.
He also threw out the prospect of a Pakistan-Russia-China-Iran alliance, although the last three have largely used Pakistan as a cat’s paw, since it has very little to offer to the purported alliance.
Syed also derided President Obama, calling him a ”guest” at the White House for the next few months, while urging the next administration to take a ”comprehensive perspective” and ”not try to compartmentalise peace and security, because that is not possible.”
”When you talk of peace in Kabul, you have to ensure that Kashmir is not burning,” Syed said, implicitly threatening that Pakistan will not allow matters to settle down in Kabul if the US did not intervene in Kashmir. “The most important interest of the US is stability of Afghanistan and counter terrorism. And for that whether they like it or not, they need Pakistan’s cooperation, which they have been getting and we have been providing and we are also suffering in the process. We see the shift (of US policy from Pakistan to India). And that shift would be detrimental to America’s own security and interest in South Asia,” Syed added silkily.
But much of Syed’s case was undermined by the rash of disaffection that erupted at the meeting from Sindhi, Baloch, and PoK dissidents and separatists who questioned Pakistan’s claim over the Kashmir valley when its own human rights abuses within Pakistan was so poor. One Baloch activists referred to his homeland as Pakistan-Occupied Balochistan, while a Sindhi activist related Sindhi grievances.