Deconstructing UNGA: Pakistan’s Policy Options on Kashmir

With the lockdown in Indian occupied Kashmir entering its ninth week, the Jinnah Institute hosted a policy discussion with leading experts on Pakistan’s policy options after the UN General Assembly session. Participants felt that the human rights situation was increasingly untenable and could lead to a prolonged armed resistance the Valley. It was also noted that India had moved an unprecedented number of paramilitary troops in the valley to quell Kashmiri resistance, and created an atmosphere of fear and intimidation for innocent civilians.

Chaired by Jinnah Institute President, Senator Sherry Rehman, the discussion focused on the intrinsic challenge posed by India’s actions on August 5th, its long-term implications and the practicality of various diplomatic and political options for Pakistan. Participants emphasized that India’s actions of August 5th should not be taken as fait accompli and that Pakistan decision makers must recognize the consequences of inaction. The government was urged to take a more proactive approach by launching a diplomatic offensive through meeting heads of state and foreign missions to highlight the Kashmiri right to self-determination. The probability of military escalation between India and Pakistan was discussed at length during the discussion.

The recent initiative by Afghanistan and Pakistan to restart peace talks was appreciated by the participants. With the Afghan election results set to be announced in November, against a backdrop of intensified political struggle, participants felt it was premature to expect any resumption of official talks between the Taliban and the United States.

Participants at the discussion included Tariq Fatemi, Salman Bashir, Ashraf J Qazi, Shafqat Kakakhel, Mariana Babar, Zahid Hussain, Zafar Nawaz Jaspal, and Talat Masood.