Shut up on Balochistan or we raise Maoist, NE unrest: Pakistani envoys in US

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Two Pakistani special envoys tasked with drumming up support for its position on the Kashmir issue in the US continued to play hardball on India amid sharp questioning in Washington DC about the country’s unceasing support for terror groups, its provocative nuclear posture, and its general failure as a nation-state.

After threatening to decamp to a purported “China-Russia-Iran” axis if the US did not intervene in the Kashmir issue, the duo on Thursday made peace in Afghanistan hostage to resolution of the Kashmir issue, implicitly warning that Pakistan can undermine US and Indian efforts to stabilize Afghanistan, a country that by many accounts has been ravaged by Pakistani depredations.

“The road to peace in Kabul lies in Kashmir in the sense that when you talk of peace, you cannot compartmentalise peace, you can’t segregate a section… ok you can have peace in Kabul and let Kashmir burn. That is not going to happen,” Pakistan PM’s special envoy on Kashmir Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed told a gathering at the Stimson Center.

Syed’s colleague Shezra Mansab also brought in the nuclear dimension, arguing that “Our core issue this time is Kashmir and no peace can prevail in the region, if this issue is not solved,” and since India and Pakistan are “nuclear neighbors… we need to have peace on the issue of Kashmir.” The Pakistani effort to inveigle the US into the matter with threats and blackmail has found little success so far in Washington DC, and if anything, it has further accentuated Islamabad’s crude tactics.

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“Why, when it is so hard for the US to get involved in more helpful way in Syria…why should the US listen to the argument for more involvement in Kashmir?” asked Stimson Center’s Co-founder and longtime South Asia expert Michael Krepon, adding that the situation in Kashmir is much better than many other conflict prone areas of the world.

“We request the US to intervene, because it has leverage with India to allow negotiations to start, to end human rights violations in Kashmir, to make sure that the UN resolutions are implemented,” Syed said feebly.

The duo got hammered by Pakistani dissidents and separatists at another think tank event on Wednesday where they were told Pakistan’s own human rights record in Gilgit-Balochistan, PoK, Balochistan, and even in Sindh was so poor that it had little moral authority to talk of rights in J&K, where the situation was far better.

The blowback has evidently unnerved the special envoys, and on Thursday Syed raised the issue of India’s PM referencing Balochistan, warning that if he continued to do so, Pakistan would respond by “talking of Khalistan, Nagaland, Tripura, Assam, Sikkim or the Maoist insurgency.” “We do not want to do that because that is interference in the internal affairs of a neighboring country . You are changing the rules of the game. It becomes tit for tat,” he added.

Pakistan’s establishment anchors and analysts talk frequently about India’s 17 or 27 or 32 insurgencies, and how Pakistan can exploit it if India does not resolve the Kashmir issues.

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Although Syed said Pakistan is willing to “do anything” India asks for confidence building measure in order to resume negotiations, he had no cogent answer about why Pakistan has not acted against proscribed terror groups other than “give us more evidence.”

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