The two good things about Islamabad are that- one, it never ceases to amuse and two, the howlers, especially that come out from the Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi duo are indeed original and very hilarious.
Remember Khan’s last year’s tweet in which he proudly wrote “I commend the 58 countries that joined Pakistan in Human Rights Council on 10 Sept reinforcing demands of int (international) community for India to stop use of force, lift siege, remove other restrictions, respect & protect Kashmiris’ rights & resolve Kashmir dispute through UNSC resolutions”? With such a massive endorsement for Pakistan’s stand point on Kashmir, Khan had all the reasons for being so cocky, but his claim degenerated into a howler because the UN Human Rights Council has only 47 members!
Then of course there’s Khan’s famous (and equally hilarious) howler in which he mentions Germany and Japan sharing borders with each other and how “after the Second World War, they decided that they would have, on the border region of Germany and Japan, joint industries.” Another recent howler from Khan came recently when he tweeted an old video from Bangladesh and describing it as “Indian police’s pogrom against Muslims in UP” and this gaffe was unpardonable as the so called ‘Indian’ policeman can be seen holding a shield of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), which is the anti-crime and anti- terrorism unit of Bangladesh.
The latest string of howlers have originated after Wednesday’s United Nation Security Council (UNSC) meeting on Kashmir. The first one is Khan’s tweet welcoming UN Security Council discussing the situation in Jammu & Kashmir because it “reflects a recognition of the seriousness of the prevailing situation.” One would have believed him but for the fact that the discussion (which as per him “reflects a recognition of the seriousness of the prevailing situation”) was actually held under the rather disparaging and unflattering agenda of “Any Other Business ” which makes Khan’s assertation laughable.
But that’s not all; the discussion on Kashmir was held in an informal manner (euphemistically referred to in UNSC parlance as ‘closed door consultations’), which in plain language means that no record of the proceedings is maintained for future reference or follow-up and neither is any statement on the deliberations issued to give the world an insight into what actually transpired. So, when he tries to impress upon us that ‘closed door consultations’ are the UNSC’s way to deal with “serious situations,” then isn’t this a joke of its own kind?
If Khan has entertained us with his clumsy attempt to pass off “Any Other Business” under which Kashmir was discussed at UNSC as a synonym for serious deliberations, Qureshi has taken things to different level by regaling us with fairy tales. According to him, it was Pakistan which had initiated the request for a discussion on Kashmir at the UNSC and that the only thing which China did was that it “echoed our request.”
If Qureshi is to be believed, then there are no two views that Pakistan has suddenly become such an influential nation that it’s been able to compel USA, Russia, UK, France to abandon their objections to discussions on Kashmir and submit to Islamabad’s demand for this discussion- isn’t this a howler extraordinaire?
Unluckily for Qureshi, media reports tell us a completely different story. We learn of how, miffed by last month’s joint rejection of its proposal by USA, Russia, UK and France to include a discussion on the Kashmir issue, Beijing had insisted that its request should be entertained. It is also revealed that to keep Beijing in good humour, other UNSC members decide to play ball without entering into serious business by informally discussing the overall Kashmir scenario in general rather than concentrate on the current situation only. Furthermore, rather than do so in an exclusive meeting, they decides to club it with the UNSC meeting scheduled to discuss the situation in Mali. So, with the cat out of the bag, the joke’s on Qureshi!
The absence of any formal declaration after the ‘closed door’ meeting on Kashmir seems to have given Qureshi the perfect setting for taking a flight of fantasy as is evident from his assertion that during the UNSC meet, “several countries expressed serious concern regarding the situation in occupied Kashmir, including the continued curfew and blackout imposed on the Kashmiri people and the potential threat of a conflict.” But what Qureshi hasn’t explained is that if there was really such great consternation amongst UNSC member states regarding the prevailing situation in Kashmir, then why didn’t anyone press for an extraordinary meeting to speedily address the worrisome situation?
What actually transpired during the UNSC meet on Kashmir will never be known but what’s certain is that all other 14 members of UNSC held that this was not a matter that merited discussion at this stage. Furthermore, after this meeting, UK, Russia and France went on record to state that Kashmir was a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan that needed to be mutually resolved by both countries. What’s particularly surprising is that even Chinese Ambassador Zhang Jun wasn’t quite forthcoming this time because besides confirming that an UNSC meeting on Kashmir had been held, he didn’t narrate anything about what has transpired.
Whereas New Delhi has traditionally been following a restrained approach while commenting on China’s maneuverings in UNSC, but this time External Affairs Ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar was quite blunt when he told the media that “China should reflect on a global consensus on Kashmir and avoid raising it at the United Nations.”
Could this clear sign of assertiveness be the result of New Delhi’s deft diplomacy that completely outwitted Beijing and isolated Pakistan?
Tailpiece- Whereas Khan and Qureshi have been hailing the UNSC meet on Kashmir and rejoicing this event, neither of them have come out with details of any positive outcome as far as Pakistan is concerned and this is the biggest joke of the day.
On the contrary, by saying that “We once again saw an effort made by one member state of the UN, fail in plain view of all others” and that “We are happy that neither alarmist scenario painted by the representatives of Pakistan nor any of the baseless allegations made repeatedly by representatives of Pakistan in the UN fora were found to be credible today,” India’s permanent representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin has sent Islamabad a clear signal that diplomacy is no laughing matter!