Pakistan and Kashmir- KO Analysis

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POINT

Former Ambassador, Hussein Haqqani, is stating the obvious when he states that Pakistan has lost support over Kashmir but linking this with and asserting that,’ Kashmir is an emotive issue in Pakistan because its leaders have failed to inform the people of Pakistan that the country has lost international support on Kashmir is facile and simplistic. Kashmir is an emotive issue in Pakistan because of the ‘Idea of Pakistan’ – a Muslim homeland- to which Kashmir is central. In this sense, Kashmir is viewed as the ‘unfinished business of Partition’ eliciting support from a cross section of Pakistani society. The loss of support or more accurately interest in Kashmir pertains to the evolving nature of international relations and politics, strife and anarchy in the Middle East and the ‘new’ Cold War between Russia and the West.

COUNTER POINT

Given the existential threat that Pakistan faced after 2001 and amidst the straining of state society relations in the country, most Pakistanis veered to ‘Pakistan First’ theme. This meant privileging the interest and integrity of Pakistan and holding Kashmir to be a subsidiary interest. While emotionally, Pakistanis hold Kashmiris dear but the raw calculus of power, security and interests of the country made Pakistanis choose their country over Kashmir. A similar dynamic, under this view holds for Kashmiris. In this view, Kashmiri interest in Pakistan has, over the years dissipated.

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