File photo of Imran Khan | Facebook/ImranKhanOfficial
File photo of Imran Khan | Facebook/ImranKhanOfficial
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Kashmir Day might have passed, but Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Which flower should you give to an estranged neighbour who refuses to talk? But nothing says “I want to talk” like missed calls. There’s apparently been plenty of those missed calls from Prime Minister Imran Khan but the answer from Narendra Modi has remained “Can’t talk, WhatsApp only”.

How does one change that?

Like the issue of Kashmir persisting all our and our ancestors’ lifetime, we did hope that India-Pakistan talks would also continue. Plot twist: It didn’t. Since 2008, there has been no bilateral dialogue between the two countries. And after the 2015 Modi and Nawaz Sharif surprise meeting in Lahore, Pakistan leaders haven’t met at all. Even the media hype over “who first smiled and waved at whom” at international summits has withered away.

So, where are we now?

Even if love isn’t in the air, at least peace is. Or at least the good-old-days’ talk about peace and tranquillity is. Who better to signal peace but the army chief of Pakistan? “It is time to extend hand of peace in all directions,” Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa said recently. One hand extending peace, the other holding his own plate of omelette — what else can one hope for? Or given the past experiences of talks, does India think that extending a hand would mean hath kar jana?


Also read: Imran Khan was right. Modi did resolve the Kashmir issue once and for all: Reham Khan


‘Yaar’ or not?

Then there is the curious case of PM Khan who still hasn’t recovered from Modi snubbing him. “I couldn’t understand why Modi didn’t want to talk,” he perhaps thinks. But Khan understands that he wants to talk to Modi on Kashmir, the same Modi he wanted to see re-elected and solving the issue of Kashmir. So, in one speech you go on to compare the Modi government with ‘Nazis’, while in the next, you want Modi to be your ‘yaar’. How does that work? Nonstop rhetoric will win you hashtags, but that doesn’t take forward the bilateral discourse.

Then there is the dilemma of foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. One day, he tells us Pakistan won’t talk to India till it rolls back the scrapping of Article 370. The next day, he asks why India fears talking to Pakistan? Consider this the modern version of Allama Iqbal’s “shikwa, jawab-e-shikwa (complaint, response to the complaint)”. Only making it more potent with Qureshi’s theatrics. Unlucky, Iqbal isn’t around to witness it. Lucky us, or not.

There was also special assistant to Imran Khan on national security division and strategic policy planning, Moeed Yusuf, who was the first to break the news that India desires to start talks with Pakistan. Yusuf seemed to imply that India was dying to talk to Pakistan, only that India was oblivious of its desires, as we later found out. “Pakistan will take two steps if India takes one,” he now tells us. All hangs in balance over the “if”.


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A continuing K-drama

What now? Pakistan is ready to talk to India, but no one is asking India what it wants, or if it even cares.

Pakistan’s hope of going back to the golden era of talks, confidence-building measures, people-to-people contact, thora-bohot Kashmir chooran, then a major act of terrorism (Mumbai 2008, Pathankot 2016) and then a reset again, has unfortunately passed. The new reality, as much as Pakistan doesn’t want to see it, is that those days are over and Kashmir talks is hardly even a chooran that sells anymore. Especially with the incompetent government of Imran Khan, with whom even political rivals at home don’t want to talk.

We are told that a strategy is needed to foil Delhi’s Kashmir plan. So, even after two years we still don’t have a strategy? For now, Pakistan President Arif Alvi can continue to lead Kashmir Day solidarity walks alongside Azad Jammu and Kashmir PM Raja Farooq Haider, against whom the Pakistan government had recently registered a sedition case. That’s some sight for sore eyes.


Also read: Narendra Modi is ghosting Imran Khan. Letters, calls, messages go unanswered


The seriousness of this hybrid regime is on full display, just look at the prime minister’s speech on Kashmir Day last week. He said that Kashmiris will be given an option to become independent. And the foreign office rushed to give out a late-night statement that there is no change in Pakistan’s Kashmir policy. But what Khan was offering is written in the constitution of Pakistan, and is nothing new.

The constitution says that after the plebiscite, if Kashmir chooses Pakistan, “the relationship between Pakistan and that State shall be determined in accordance with the wishes of the people of that State.” But the foreign office thought that anything coming out of PM’s mouth has to be fact-checked (I don’t blame them). It was as if no one at the foreign office was paying attention to the Pakistan Studies lectures in school. But then there are leaders who have taught us that the constitution is just a piece of paper that could be thrown in the dustbin.

Laughable that a country that has spent decades for a cause, doesn’t know what to do with it in the end. Or it is sure that there will never be any end to its ‘K policy’. Talks shall continue even if with oneself.

The author is a freelance journalist from Pakistan. Her Twitter handle is @nailainayat. Views are personal.

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14 COMMENTS

  1. Don’t waste our valuable time on farcical talks. We have many other priorities to attend to…
    Leave us alone till we close the POK issue. Then, we might have something to talk. But not sure. Thx & Bye.

  2. Terror and talks will not be done, atleast by the present Indian government, and as long as Pakistani military is the mai baap of Pakistan there is no hope of peace,for they gain their legitimacy to rule by showing the Indian bogey,and make money buy Canadian,US , British, Australian passport for self and children and PapaJones franchises and plazas etc,Just see where the last four COAS of Pakistani army are at present you will know the commitment of these Jarnails towards Pakistan,So please this Chooran of talks is not going to work anymore

  3. India should talk about the minority rights and how Hindus and Sikhs are being mistreated in Pakistan.
    How Baloch are still fighting for their rights And Gilgit and Baltistan needs independence from illegal Pak occupation.

    Is Pak coming to talk about these things?

  4. A total piece of crap. Ignoring the blunders of previous governments and putting the blame on current government which is not even 3 years old. Biasness towards Na Ahel Shareef is clearly visible and grudge towards IK is shining out of this article. Also how could you forget indulging Pak Army in any bullshit you would want to be published. A cheap way of gaining publicity. Nothing else.

  5. Ms. Inayat’s thoughts regarding Pakistan’s sudden change of heart regarding bilateral talks is certainly worth a read. Mr. Imran Khan seems to be softening his stand as the reality manages to percolate through that India is in no hurry to talk, neither is it willing to talk. OIC’s snub to Pakistan on the Kashmir issue has made them see the world for what it truly is. Mr. Khan’s grand dream of being the leader of the Ummah, along with his big brother Mr. Erdogan, is lying in tatters.

  6. I seriously do not understand why India should talk to Pakistan. They undermine India’s interests at every turn. They promote Terrorism in India. They are a terror nation. Why would India want to engage with them?

  7. I thought our journalism is petty. But you guys on whole next level of pettiness.
    Oh wait she is from Pakistan.

    • Not just journalism, everything in your country is junk, it’s just the reflection of the quality of education in your country. The very fact that a piece from a writer like Naila does not find space in pakistani newspapers tells a lot about mental standards of pakistanis.

  8. India will certainly talk, but the agenda this time will include pok, Baluchistan and human rights violation there, Sindhu desh, and Gilgit Balistan and the standing item of terrorism emanating from the rogue state Islamic Republic of Pakistan

  9. India will certainly talk, but the agenda this time will include pok, Baluchistan and human rights violation there, Sindhu desh, and Gilgit Balistan and the standing item of terrorism emanating from the rogue state Islamic Republic of Pakistan

  10. This talk is nothing but yet another trick by Imran Khan for his domestic audience, I don’t know but may be his election due in few years times or may be his opposition party getting strong so he is trying to find something which make him more strong and relevant. It is nothing but an stupid old idea about talk, what one talk instead Mr. Khan should do good for the region by working towards welfare instead of religious fanaticism and rhetoric then problem itself will be solved.
    Modi shouldn’t waste time on Pak issue rather he should be keep more focus on economic progress and development, and look more towards working with QUAD and EU countries. Let a someone in MEA to handle Pak.

  11. India and Pakistan may not be psychologically bound, but are goegraphically bound. Later, if not soon, the talk has to start. One cannot wishaway a neighbour. But, how does one talk to someone who sends in a gang of terrorists immediately after a friendly gesture, to blow up an airforce station, or blow up a convoy? Pakistan cannot run with the hare and hunt with the hound. India is too big to be intimidated by the Pakistanis in Khaki.

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