Pakistan’s response to the Indian annexation of Jammu and Kashmir has been muddled. While there is crystal clear consensus across the political spectrum on the illegality of the move, and an iron resolve to challenge it in every way possible, the execution has been inconsistent. Not only did the government lose all political capital by opening another unnecessary front with the opposition, its retaliatory moves have lacked cohesion – a fact that might have some benefits.

We can cut the government some slack on the diplomatic front. The campaign to draw public attention and reach out to allies is in full swing and such initiatives do take some time to bear fruit. While the government has committed to cutting all ties with India, it is still allowing Afghan trade to pass through Wagah border and have not ruled out people to people contact – this is despite the Railways Minster pledging to halt the two bilateral train services that has served as the main link between the two nations.

Unsurprisingly there has been confusion

While addressing a press conference a day after the National Security Committee (NSC) Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi took time to clarify these measures in detail; to mixed success.

It is clear that the Pakistani government is taking great care to not be arbitrary or draconian in its policies as India has been. Humanitarian issues are taken in regard when severing ties with India, hence the allowance for Afghan trade. Another very commendable notion is the continuation of the Kartarpur Corridor project. Pakistan’s quarrel is not with the Sikh community; in fact Pakistan’s continued support of Indian Sikhs despite their government’s oppressive moves against Muslims in Kashmir is testament to Pakistan’s commitment to minority rights, and stands in stark comparison to India’s fascism. Will India continue with the project from its own end remains to be seen.

Pakistan’s public declaration to continue with facilitating the Afghan peace process has also come as a surprise to many. The government is admirably committed to the cause quite separately from India’s actions but many had hoped it would use it position in the process to force the US to put increased pressure on India. Perhaps behind the scenes diplomacy is taking place at the moment or perhaps the NSC has ruled out using Afghan peace as a bargaining chip.

Whatever the case may be Pakistan needs to do more for the Kashmiri people – a sentiment that is coursing through the populace at the moment.