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Over Kashmir, Pakistan sours its ties with Saudi Arabia

Over Kashmir, Pakistan sours its ties with Saudi Arabia

In October last year, former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf said that Kashmir is in the blood of the Pakistani nation. “We will continue to stand by our Kashmiri brethren no matter what,” he said. When he ruled Pakistan, in Vajpayee years, he had made a similar statement. Musharraf is a fugitive now, but Islamabad’s policy remains the same: we will keep screaming Kashmir, “no matter what.” Even if it means taking on Saudi Arabia, a close ally and benefactor of Pakistan.

Needless to say, Kashmir is a totem rather than a principled position for the Pakistani elite; for its Punjabi-dominated elite—indeed Pakistan itself—is despised in all non-Punjabi regions, be it Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, or Balochistan. The ruling junta seeks legitimacy by religiously sticking to the totem, as it has failed the people on every other reckoning, whether it is economic or social.

The Army owns the country and runs it with the instrumentality of a puppet civil ruler, Prime Minister Imran Khan, and the ideological support of mad mullahs. If patriotism is the last resort of the scoundrel, Kashmir is of every Pakistani politician.

Nothing else explains the extreme step of taking on Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately for Islamabad, Jeddah torpedoed its attempt to convene a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on the issue of Kashmir. Condemnation of India at the body which has 57 Muslim nations as members would have shown India in a very bad light.

This has riled Pakistan greatly. Its Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has been quite candid in expressing his frustration over the subject, especially after the abrogation of Article 370. In a talk show on news channel, he said: “I am once again respectfully telling OIC that a meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers is our expectation. If you cannot convene it, then I’ll be compelled to ask Prime Minister Imran Khan to call a meeting of the Islamic countries that are ready to stand with us on the issue of Kashmir and support the oppressed Kashmiris.”

He went on to say, “I’m taking a position despite our good ties with Saudi Arabia.”

His bravado has cost his country dear, with Saudi Arabia forcing to pay $1 billion, four months before the scheduled repayment. Since Pakistan is almost bankrupt, the repayment has been made with the help of China.

A drowning man, they say, clutches at straws. Pakistan, however, has clutched a serpent—China. It is actually the dragon that has got Pakistan in its clutches. Such is Pakistani elite’s obsession with Kashmir that they simply refuse to wake up to the reality of its own economic doom and the impending status as China’s colony..