What Chinese Volte Face on Azhar Means for Kashmir

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Beijing has finally withdrawn its decade old ‘technical hold’ on the proposal to get Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar declared a UN designated ‘global terrorist’. This development has once again proved that the even a superpower can’t afford to take the risk of annoying the global community for the fear of being internationally isolated. Azhar’s supporters are unlikely to be unduly perturbed because in practical terms being designated a ‘global terrorist’ means little as is evident in the case of Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed.  Thus, just like the LeT, it would be business as usual for the JeM for continuing its ‘jihad’ in Kashmir.

Beijing’s climb-down on Azhar is a stark reminder of the fact that today the international community doesn’t approve of violence as a means to achieve a political objective and that no nation can go against global consensus. Thus, no realist would ever hope even in his wildest dreams that the world would accept the justification that New Delhi’s refusal to resolve the Kashmir issue as per United Nations (UN) resolutions legitimises ‘armed struggle’ as its obduracy has forced Kashmiris to pickup guns. If a powerful country like Beijing was helpless and had to ultimately yield to international opinion, how can the Hurriyat even imagine that militant groups can continue to disregard global sentiments indefinitely? And with the US, France and UK jointly presenting the proposal before the 1267 Sanctions Committee of the UN to get Azhar declared a global terrorist the outlook of these three permanent members of UN Security Council on the issue of what it considers to be terrorism is crystal clear.

Pakistan is the only country in the world that officially approves of the ‘armed struggle’ in Kashmir. Unfortunately, Islamabad wields negligible influence within the international community and by its stoic silence against Beijing’s extreme religious persecution of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang region of China, it has lost its own predominance within the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC). In any case Islamabad’s attempts to gain international legitimacy for the ‘armed struggle’ has not only failed but even backfired.

Already facing sanctions by the Financial Action Task Force (FAFT) for not doing enough against terrorist groups based on its soil, Islamabad is in a tight spot and the very presence of nearly half of the designated ‘global terrorists’ in Pakistan could someday serve as the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s neck!

The negative way in which the world is looking at the militancy in Kashmir requires introspection and needs to be remedied at the earliest. The gun may not have given us any benefits but it has certainly helped New Delhi in getting support from the international community on Kashmir. Yet, even though Kashmiri youth are dying almost every day, our leaders still refuse to introspect and debate on the issue.

Niloofar Qureshi

niloofar.qureshi@yahoo.com

New Delhi


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