Pakistan: Why Opposition Parties’ Poor Response on Kashmir?

Indian forces have continued lockdown and curfew the in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) since August 5, this year when Indian fanatic Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government revoked the special status of the Jummu and Kashmir after scrapping articles 35A and 370 of the Constitution to turn Muslim majority into minority. More restrictions have been imposed in wake of shortage of foods and even medicines for the patients, while innocent Kashmiris are still violating the curfew by protesting against Indian illegal actions. In order to hide India’s state terrorism, communication services have been cut off from the world. Besides, Indian extremist rulers are also escalating tensions with Pakistan to divert attention from the drastic situation of the Indian Held Kashmir, and have continued shelling inside Pakistani side of Kashmir.

Pakistan opposition parties on kashmir

Tensions further increased on August 16, 2019 when Indian Defence Rajnath Singh threatened Pakistan with nuclear war. In response, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan also gave similar reply. Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa repeatedly stated that Pakistan’s Armed Forces are fully ready to meet India’s invasion. For this purpose, country’s Armed Forces are on high alert.

Besides, a majority of the world’s leaders’ statements regarding the situation of the IOK, Western media, including human rights groups have been giving much coverage to India’s lockdown and Modi’s illegitimate moves by pointing out the sufferings of the Kashmiris.

But, it is regrettable that Pakistan’s mainstream opposition parties and some religious outfits are giving poor response on Kashmir.

In this regard, in a recent interview to Saleem Safi in a TV channel’s programme Jirga, the leader of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman emphasised upon the lockdown of the ruling party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led by the Prime Minister Imran Khan. Similarly, Chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s has continued tirade by targeting the present government and accusing that Kashmir has been sellout by the Imran Khan. Likewise, leader of the Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) are also raising false allegations against the PTI government.

Instead of indicating solidarity with the plight of the Kashmir people to the maximum and showing selfless unity with the armed forces in wake of Indian war-like threat, the leaders of these parties are only fulfilling formalities in this respect, as their main target remains to topple the current government through a protest-movement.

In this connection, in a meeting of the All Parties Conference (APC), opposition parties announced on August 19, 2019 that they would hold another conference on August 29 to ponder over the federal capital lockdown.

JUI-F Chief Maulana Fazl-ur-Rahman said that it was agreed in the APC that all opposition leaders would travel to Islamabad together. The opposition’s Rahbar Committee would send a charter of demands on which everyone agreed upon. The JUI-F chief explained: “There would be a meeting of the Rahbar Committee on August 26 as well. People will come to our lockdown, no one can remove them; our people will not come to enjoy and will bear every challenge.”

The Rahbar Committee postponed the APC conference, scheduled for August 29, 2019. The charter of demands for holding Azadi March in October could not be agreed upon during the Rahbar Committee meeting of nine opposition parties.

In fact, giving poor response on the Kashmir situation, the main purpose of these conferences is to organize protest demonstrations and to put pressure on the government by creating hurdle in accountability system, as ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif-former leader of the PML-N and ex-President of Pakistan Asif Zardari, leader the PPP, including some other leaders of their parties are undergoing different investigations regarding corruption charges. They are against the continued anti-corruption drive and documentation of the economy which can pull Pakistan out of the multiple crises.

While, it was due to the corruption-practice of the previous regimes that at this juncture, Pakistan is facing multi-faceted crises and challenges like corruption, soaring prices, energy-shortage, unemployment, crimes, lack of health facilities, and dependence upon the US-led developed countries, IMF and World Bank for financial aid. Pakistan is currently ranked 117 out of 180 countries on the Transparency International Index which is quite worrisome.

Elected government of Prime Minister Imran Khan led by PTI, remains determined in building a “corruption free society”. Under the leadership of Imran Khan, anti-corruption drive by the institutions continues independently.

In his address to the nation, Prime Minister Imran Khan pointed out on October 24, last year, said: “We were trying for many days to get rid of this burden placed on us of the debt. We had to pay back our debts otherwise we would have been faced with default…the previous governments raised Pakistan’s debt from Rs. 6 trillion to Rs. 30 trillion in the last 10 years alone.

In a reference to the PPP and PML-N, P.M. Khan remarked: “The opposition parties that are accusing his government of incompetence are doing so because they fear that their corruption will be unearthed when we do an audit of the Rs. 30 trillion…the PTI government is busy cleaning up the economic mess of the last 10 years…They just want an NRO [National Reconciliation Ordinance] from us…[But] no one will get an NRO…country has no future until and unless corruption is rooted out. His government is cracking down against corruption and money laundering…The entire burden of loans taken by corrupt officials falls on the nation. Taxes are imposed and prices are raised in order for the country to be able to pay back the loans. This is the cycle that is functioning in Pakistan…a small class is growing wealthier, while the masses are becoming poorer.”

It is noteworthy that since the Supreme Court of Pakistan and National Accountability of Pakistan (NAB) have accelerated the cases of corruption which have become urgent issue for every patriot citizens of Pakistan, some leaders of the PML-N, PPP and their cronies are targeting the apex court and NAB in order to misguide the public.
As regards the impartiality of the government regarding corruption-cases, sources suggest that in April, 2019, the NAB has written a letter to the interior ministry and recommended to place the name of PTI senior leader Aleem Khan on the Exit Control List (ECL). On February 6, 2009, the NAB Lahore Bureau arrested PTI leader and former Punjab senior minister Aleem Khan in cases of assets beyond known sources and offshore companies. After the arrest, Aleem Khan resigned as the minister.

And the current government has placed the names of top leaders of the PPP and PML former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter, son-in-law Captain (Retd) Muhammad Safdar, former president Asif Ali Zardari, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Faryal Talpur and Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah etc. on the ECL.

Javed Iqbal, Chairman NAB has repeatedly stated that despite indirect pressure, NAB is determined to continue cases of corruption, especially regarding mega corruption cases. In the recent past, he said that NAB is striving hard to eradicate corruption by pursuing the policy of ‘Accountability for All’ by pursuing merit and transparency—as many as 105 mega corruption cases out of 179 corruption references have been submitted in relevant Accountability Courts. The proceedings of the cases were continuing as per law.

It is mentionable that there is also a co-relationship of anti-corruption drive and documentation of economy. In this context, PTI government on May 14, this year, approved the Asset Declaration Scheme (Amnesty Scheme) after scrutiny amid internal opposition in a bid to document the economy and to bring dead assets into the economy and make them functional.

Prime Minister Khan’s Adviser on Finance Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said that people would have the opportunity to become part of the scheme until June 30, 2019. He explained that the basic purpose of the scheme was to bring dead assets into the economy and make them functional—the plan was not to intimidate people, but to encourage businessmen to participate in the legal economy. The Chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Syed Shabbar Zaidi Shaikh also expressed similar thoughts. State Minister Hammad Azhar pointed out that unlike the past amnesty schemes, the one being introduced now makes it mandatory for people declaring assets to become tax filers.

As a matter of fact, the anti-corruption drive has united the major opposing leaders like Sharif brothers and some of the PPP leaders so as to conceal their corruption charges.

Now, these opposition parties are contacting each other to start a protest-campaign against the PTI government so as to hide the corruption of their leaders. Under the cover of democracy, this corrupt mafia wants to give call to the general masses to come in the streets in order to create unrest in the country.

At this critical hour, Indian Controlled Kashmir needs urgent attention. But, these opposition parties’ poor response on this issue, including the social media campaign by their own cronies and activities are sabotaging the drastic developments, taking place in Kashmir.

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Article Author Details

Sajjad Shaukat

I got master degrees in English and Journalism including diploma in English Learning and Teaching from the University of Punjab. I am a freelance writer and wrote a number of articles on various topics of international affairs, published in Pakistan’s English newspapers. Besides, I also wrote a book, “US vs Islamic, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations”, published by Ms. Ferozsons Pvt. Lahore in 2005. In this book, I have evolved a thesis that the non-state actors like Islamic militants are checking the world dominance of the US. However, I have condemned the old theories which support role of force and power in international affairs. Taking the ongoing war on terror as a conflict between the privileged and unprivileged status quo, I have suggested reforming the unequal world order. And I have favoured global peace, based upon idealism--which is possible by reconciling realism with idealism. Moreover, it is essential to combat terrorism by resolving various issues like Palestine, Kashmir etc., and by acting upon an exit strategy from Iraq and Afghanistan. Moreover, my future assessments like failure of military paradigm by the state actors in coping with the non-state actors, increase in US cost of war, rise of more terrorism, plane plot in UK and present international financial crisis have proved true. So, central thesis of the book remains valid today.