Has Indian diplomacy come of age or Pakistan’s has slipped so badly that it cannot seem to convince anyone of its case for interference in Jammu and Kashmir? We think the answer to both these questions is in the affirmative. While India and its diplomats have acquired a new respect following the growth of the economy in recent years, Pakistan’s diplomacy and economy has become a basket case. Both carry little conviction in global forums. The end of the Cold War made Pakistan redundant for the US-led alliance. On the rebound, it sought the friendship of the rising power, China. Pakistan is now left with few friends. Since the end of the Cold War and the almost simultaneous rise of the Islamist terror, Pakistan has become a hub for various jihadi outfits which perpetrate mayhem globally. The successful war against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan left Pakistan flooded with deadly arms and ammunitions which jehadis, rendered jobless after the departure of the occupier force, procured to carry on their deadly business. That also fuelled the rise of the Taliban, a guerilla force determined to push back the clock to the dark ages, which Pakistan’s ISI continues to remote-control and often uses to export terror to Kashmir and other parts of this country. But in spite of its lack of a viable manufacturing base, the Pakistani economy continued to do well until very recently. However, the security situation in Pakistan worsened so much that it earned the dubious claim of being the most dangerous place in the world from a respected figure in the US administration. Even as periodic hand-outs from the Americans and, thanks to their nudging, from the World-Bank-IMF combine kept their economic engine from sputtering to a halt, in recent times the US generosity has vanished. The US Congress is now fully wary of Pakistan’s duplicitous role both in Afghanistan and in aiding and sheltering global terrorists. Osama bin Laden, at the time the most wanted man in the world with a bounty of $ 25 million on his head, was found in an army cantonment in Pakistan. Therefore, it is natural for Pakistan to be treated like the pariah that it really is. Even its all-weather friend, China, refuses to provide free lunches, making friendship fully transactional. China has invested billions of dollars in Pakistan and in return has insisted on either owning land and other assets, including projects being built by it, or has imposed stiff terms to recover its money. Besides, Pakistan security forces are obliged to provide round-the-clock security to the thousands of Chinese workers located on various projects underway on the Pak soil, including the controversial One Belt, One Road and the Gwadar port in Balochistan. Pakistan also ceded ownership of a sizable chunk of land in its occupied Jammu and Kashmir to China. In short, Pakistan is a basket case, going around the world capitals with a begging bowl to overcome its economic crisis.
For such a nation to be heard with respect on the recent developments in J and K was always difficult. But Pakistan worsened its own case by failing to safeguard the wellbeing of its religious, ethnic, tribal and even political minorities. Shias and Ahmadiyya Muslims are targeted regularly. Balochs are fighting for freedom and are terrorized by the Pak security forces. A number of terrorist groups in collusion with the ISI have for years targeted Muhazirs in Karachi. The numbers of the religious minorities, Hindus and Sikhs included, are sharply depleting due to terror and forced conversions to Islam. Failure of such a Pakistan to carry conviction in the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday in Geneva where it complained about the events in J and K should not have surprised anyone. Pakistan had only its all-weather friend as an ally, an ally who is terrorizing Uighur Muslims, imprisoning millions and demolishing their mosques by the hundreds, separating children from their parents and forcibly settling native Chinese in Xinxiang. The Indian diplomats, responding to the diatribe by Pak Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, rubbished his claim, arguing that the changes in J and K were India’s own internal matter and were duly approved in a transparent manner by its Parliament. A Foreign Office spokesperson also rejected the joint statement issued in Islamabad after a visit by the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, arguing that India was resolutely opposed to the changes in the Pak-Occupied Kashmir which was an integral part of this country. This was a direct reference to the construction of the China-Pak Economic Corridor which passes through Pak-Occupied Kashmir. In sum, India is ready and able to defend its case in global forums regarding the recent changes in the status of J and K.