The golden words of Martin Luther King aptly sum up our present predicament:

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“In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

 

When Modi did the latest aggression in Occupied Kashmir by changing its status, Pakistan was enraged and expected everyone, especially its friends in the Muslim Ummah, to feel the same.

After all, it was in the right. Kashmir had been suffering human rights abuses since long; it was facing blatant cruelty under brute force. Downtrodden, helpless men women and children were facing unimaginable oppression that was physical, cultural as well as religious by India.

But now we realize that we should not have been too sure that the world will care.

After all, since decades, such atrocities have been taking place worldwide, ironically, at the behest of those who are outwardly champions of democracy and human rights. Even the highest forums of justice are either helpless or turn a blind eye.

Unfortunately, what guides the world opinion is not justice, objectivity, fair-mindedness or impartial moral integrity.

It is one and only one consideration:

Self-interest.

While taking a stance, nations look only at their own economic and political self-interest first. Then, if it suits their own welfare, they will speak up about human rights or other injustices. The thought uppermost in their minds would be:

What is in it for me??

Otherwise, all they will do is make meek statements that call upon both parties involved to take caution.

There will be very few and very rare cases where friendly nations will take a principled stance for others, particularly if that nation involved is economically weak. Such friends will be your true friends who need to be cherished.

There will be very few countries, like Pakistan, who stick out their neck for others, especially in the Muslim Ummah. For decades we have been championing the cause of Palestine at the cost of making enemies for ourselves. Our people have been out on the streets at any affront or injustice meted out to other Muslim nations, especially Palestine. Pakistan has suffered economic and political isolation due to this principled stand.

And today, when we need them, where are the Palestinians? We do not hear even a word of condemnation for India from them! Granted they are themselves in no position to help us, but at least they can speak in our favor on this legitimate issue as they should feel it more than others.

The bestowing of an award on Modi at this unfortunate time by UAE and Bahrain should be another eye-opener for us despite the role Pakistan and its citizens played in literally building UAE as it is today from sand dunes.

Such nations bow to only one deity and that deity is currency. Our expectations of Islamic Unity are quite misplaced; particularly if they think they are doing enough for us by doling out dollars to bail out our economy.

It is time for us to do some soul – searching.

It is time to make new friends if our old friends do not live up to our expectations when we need them.

It is time to turn our energies and attention inwards to build up our own economy, our own abundant resources and our own nation into a Pakistan that is strong enough to call the shots.

Presently, the only consideration that will get some response internationally is the fear of a nuclear escalation that can have repercussions worldwide.

Here again, threat to the self –interest of other nations will guide their steps and not the plight of Kashmir.

There have been statements from the highest quarters in our country, comparing Modi to Hitler. From the Prime Minister, to the top opposition and government personalities, this comparison has been repeatedly quoted.

I think this is in very bad taste.

If they have to give reference of Germany, they should speak of what that great nation did AFTER Hitler, to reach the position of one of the strongest economies of the world after it had been totally destroyed by the world.

If they have to speak of Germany, they should speak about how it rebuilt itself to such an extent that the infamous Wall of Berlin, once considered so formidable, was torn down by the people themselves from both sides, and no one could do anything about it.

We should build up our side of Kashmir like West Berlin so that the occupied Kashmir breaks all shackles to join us.

It they have to speak about Germany, they should remember how they opened their doors to Muslim immigrants when even our own fellow Muslims were not keen to do so.

If we have to speak about Germany we should learn from this great nation in how to speak less and work more to build our position in the comity of nations.

The issue of Kashmir looms large on the mind and heart of every Pakistani ever since the creation of Pakistan. We have grown up with this issue; coupled with the dream that one day justice will be done.

This issue cannot be tackled if we are stuck in our narrative of the forties and don’t evolve and grow with the changing times. Spending money on useless posters all over the country will not solve the problem. Issuing age old, meaningless slogans are a waste of time. We need to change, improve and upgrade our Kashmir narrative.

Our colleges need to train students to do research and write papers on this subject to come up with out-of-the-box solutions. In all these years, not a single book or research paper has been written about the Kashmir issue. Students of history have to refer to foreign authors when they want to do in-depth research on Kashmir. Our Foreign Office needs to pull up its socks and change their narrative. Whatever they have done so far has not been successful. Those in the top positions need to do less self-projection and think genuinely more about forwarding the Kashmir movement. Our Legal teams need to educate the stake-holders in how to tackle this issue using International Law to our advantage to pressurize India into accepting our stance.

Emotional, empty slogans will not get us anywhere. We need to improve our image internationally. We need to reduce in –fighting among politicians and political parties to show unity to pull out the country from this quagmire.

The Prime Minister needs to come up with a better plan than calling nationwide weekly protests.

Most of all, we need to have a concrete plan, step by step , nationally and internationally not only on Kashmir issue but on all major problems plaguing Pakistan.

Let us come out of our naiveté that the world cares about unfairness and injustice per se.

The rule of the game is that we should be able to give something in return for asking favors.

So let us open our eyes and notice our own strengths and shortcomings. We should reduce dependence on the friends of our enemies.

It is time to write a new chapter in our history when the silence of some so –called friends is deafening when we need them.