WASHINGTON: Nudging New Delhi to take “rapid action” to restore normalcy in Kashmir, the US on Thursday suggested the onus on resumption of talks between India and Pakistan rested on Islamabad acting on terrorism and dialing down its overheated rhetoric. Washington also implicitly rebuked Pakistan for its phony anxiety over treatment of Muslims in India, wondering why there was not as much concern about the fate of Muslims in China.
During a special briefing here, Alice Wells, the State Department’s point person for the region, noted that after India revoked J&K’s special status on August 5, PM Modi had laid out a plan of returning Kashmir to normalcy, as well engagement with a new generation of political leaders. “I think we are interested in knowing the next steps in engagement and encouraging that political dialogue to begin… we hope to see rapid action in the lifting of the restrictions and in the release of those who have been detained,” she said.
The smackdown of Pakistan’s double standards came when Wells was asked about Pakistan’s over-the-top anxiety on the situation in Kashmir. Wells said US concern about the human rights of Muslims extends “more broadly than just Kashmir” and it has been trying to shine a light on the “horrific conditions that continue to exist for Muslims throughout China.
”I would like to see the same level of concern expressed also about Muslims who are being detained in Western China, literally in concentration-like conditions,” Wells said when asked about Imran Khan’s cataclysmic remarks on Kashmir. The Pakistan PM has been making a big to-do in New York on the sidelines of the annual UN meet over not just the situation in Kashmir, but also the fate of Muslims all across India, invoking scenarios of massacres, genocide, and nuclear war in the subcontinent almost as if he wishes it.
He also pledged to fight Islamophobia after a meeting on “Countering hate speech,” announcing that Pakistan, Malaysia, and Turkey would start an English television channel to confront prejudice against Islam. But in other public meets, Khan has shirked from discussing China’s treatment of Muslims, which includes incarceration and “retraining” to scrub Islamic values, pleading that he has too many other things on his plate and Islamabad prefers to engage Beijing in private on such matters. Still, Wells said Washington would like to see India and Pakistan have a constructive conversation leading to better relations, although that would depend on Pakistan cracking down on terrorism.