Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan’s “Mission Kashmir” has failed and he admitted for the first time Tuesday that he was disappointed by the lack of response to his campaign to bring international pressure on India over Kashmir, blaming it on India’s appeal as a “market of 1 billion people” and Kashmiris were Muslims.
“To be absolutely frank, I am a bit disappointed by the international community,” Khan told reporters at a news briefing at the United Nations, alleging the reaction would have been different and more urgent had it been 8 million Europeans who had been put under siege or Jewish people or Americans — it would been different just eight Americans.
“There is no pressure on Narendra Modi to lift the siege,” the prime minister said, referring to the restrictions in place in Kashmir since the revocation of Article 370 and the bifurcation of the state into Union Territories.
And, he said he believes the other reason for the lack of international alarm has to do with the fact that “people look upon India as a market of 1 billion people and sadly that’s what is happening — material comes over the human”.
Khan and his delegation have raised Kashmir at every forum and meeting and, by his own admission, done everything possible. He listed out the world leaders he has spoken to, and not necessarily at the UNGA — US President Donald Trump, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Emmanuel Macron.
Only Trump responded to his call with an offer of mediation, which came before the revocation of Article 370, and went nowhere and he may have dropped it altogether now after he said Tuesday, with Prime Minister Modi by his side, the Indian and Pakistani prime ministers can resolve the dispute once they get down to it; he, notably, did not offer his services. Just hours before though, he had said he stands ready to help if both sides want him to; and clearly, India doesn’t.
No other world leader had publicly aligned themselves with Trump yet, and that has disappointed Khan, who said, however, he felt encouraged Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan spoke of Kashmir in his UNGA speech.
“In order for the Kashmiri people to look at a safe future together with their Pakistani and Indian neighbors, it is imperative to solve the problem through dialogue and on the basis of justice and equity, but not through collision,” Erdogan said. He went on to call for lifting the restrictions, but did seek either third-party mediation or questioned, or demanded a rollback of, the change in the constitutional status of Kashmir, both key demands of Khan’s “Mission Kashmir”.
That’s just one leader so far, and Khan knows that was not sufficient and said he hoped to see more leaders come forward.