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Wednesday December 08, 2021

UAE MoU with IIOJ&K a setback to Pak policy: ex-diplomat

October 22, 2021
UAE MoU with IIOJ&K a setback to Pak policy: ex-diplomat

KARACHI: A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and the government of Dubai at the Raj Bhawan in held Srinagar on Monday to build infrastructure, real estate development, building industrial parks, IT towers, multipurpose towers, logistics, medical college, super speciality hospital and more.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was hailed "as a major success for India" by a former Pakistan high commissioner, while the pact triggered outrage in Pakistan. In his reaction, the former Pakistan ambassador to India Dr Abdul Basit, in his YouTube vlog, said, "There is news that the Dubai government has signed an agreement with the Indian government under which Dubai will invest in infrastructure development in Jammu and Kashmir. Details are yet to arrive [to be disclosed] about the MoU and how it will bring investment. Whether there will be an investment in the Kashmir region or Jammu is not very clear."

"This [signing of MoU] is a major success for India in the context of both Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir as OIC [Organisation of Islamic Cooperation] members have always kept Pakistan's sensibilities on Kashmir at the forefront.

"In the past, they [OIC member nations] have never done something to make Pakistan feel that Muslim nations and the OIC are not standing behind us on the Kashmir issue. They may not have been very vocal, but have ensured not to work against our sentiment on Kashmir. That's why, we saw many times that representatives of the OIC nations used to refrain from visiting Kashmir. Many times, even if they were invited, the OIC nations kept in mind the feelings of Pakistan."

What has made Pakistan more unhappy over the MoU is that the UAE has a powerful presence in the OIC, an alliance of currently 56 countries in which Islam plays a significant role, with Islam as the state religion, or countries where Muslims form the majority of the population."

Criticising the Imran Khan's foreign policy, Basit said now that the MoU has been signed, it's clear that the matter is slipping out of Pakistan's hands. At a time when India is battling Pakistan's proxy attempts to destabilise the valley, Basit said, "I don't say there can be no out-of-the-box solution on Kashmir.

"There should be efforts to find a solution. But is it acceptable that everything is one-sided and the ground is ceded to India. Now, the condition is that Muslim nations are signing MoUs with India," Basit said.

Speaking about a recent attempt to globally upgrade its claims against India with the release of a dossier, Basit claimed that it contained details of the alleged human rights violations by the Indian authorities in Kashmir on September 12. He said, "We presented a dossier on J&K. But, it didn't work further. Presenting the dossier isn't enough. Pakistan is weak on follow-up on a sustained basis. There is no reason that why we don't achieve the results [when it comes to Kashmir]. Maybe, we failed to strengthen our civilian platforms to meet challenges for the 21st Century." As India's business and diplomatic ties with nations like the UAE grow, Basit said, "At this rate, it's a possibility that soon the UAE and Iran may open their consulates in Kashmir. If this is the state of our diplomatic effort on Kashmir, this can happen."

Pakistan has attempted to keep Held Srinagar isolated in various ways in the past. More than a decade ago, it had lobbied strongly against the UAE opening a visa office there. Then, for example, it derailed the move to turn Srinagar airport into an international destination. The airport was designated as an international airport in March 2005. An expanded terminal to serve both domestic and international flights was inaugurated on February 14, 2009, by Congress president Sonia Gandhi. On the same day, Air India Express started weekly flights to Dubai. Soon, Pakistan denied permission to fly over its airspace. The detour meant longer flights and this made them economically unviable.