Despite Pakistan’s hysteric attempts at the 42nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to internationalise the Kashmir issue through fabricated narratives, the key indicators emerging from Geneva vindicate India’s long-held position. First, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has unequivocally rejected Islamabad’s plea for mediation. Second, Pakistan has failed to enlist enough support even to file a request for a debate. In the 47-member group, the support from 24 nations is needed to file a request for an urgent debate. There is a near-unanimous view among the global community that Kashmir is an internal matter of India and that there is no need for any third-party mediation. The abrogation of Article 370 and other moves pertaining to the all-round development and full integration of the border State were well within the boundaries of the Indian Constitution and endorsed by Parliament. Pakistan has no locus standi whatsoever in the matter. At the heart of Islamabad’s desperation on Kashmir lies the realisation that it can no more pursue the policy of exporting cross-border terrorism as India’s bold move has virtually cut away the ground from under its feet. As a result, Pakistani leaders have been resorting to offensive rhetoric and concocted charges, with some even calling for jihad against India. There are no takers for such fabricated narratives as there is a growing realisation among the international community that Pakistan has become an epicentre of global terrorism where ring leaders were sheltered for years. For Pakistan, cross-border terrorism has become a form of alternative diplomacy.
Pakistan’s fake rhetoric on the alleged human rights violations in Kashmir Valley will not distract international attention from Islamabad’s persecution and elimination of religious and ethnic minorities — be it the Christians, Sikhs, Shias, Ahmadiyas or the Hindus. The plight of minorities was highlighted by a former MLA of Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Baldev Kumar, who is now seeking asylum in India. His revelation about the continued persecution of minorities flies in the face of Islamabad’s claims about protection to vulnerable sections. Imran’s promised ‘Naya Pakistan’ is nowhere close to becoming a reality. Instead of seeking to internationalise the Kashmir issue, the Pakistani leadership would do well to set its house in order and stop persecuting minorities. All these decades, Pakistan had exploited the lack of developmental opportunities in the Valley to generate disaffection and to justify its cross-border terrorism. The onus now lies on Pakistan to take sustained and irreversible steps against terrorism in order to revive the dialogue process. For India, the rules of engagement are settled: Kashmir doesn’t warrant any third-party intervention, it has to be resolved bilaterally.