Oil to Kashmir — Why China, not Saudi Arabia, is Pakistan’s only Big Brother now

It has been a good week for China and Pakistan, with Big Brother helping out its poor cousin at the UN Security Council on the Kashmir issue and even paying off its ‘EMI’ with Saudi Arabia. But the question Islamabad should be asking itself this week is, ‘Is its obsession with Jammu and Kashmir losing it both friends and influence?’

Certainly, there was little left of J&K’s special status under Article 370 even before 5 August 2019, except the fig leaf that it was somehow exceptional – although the diminishing of the state’s obligations to its citizens ever since are both immoral and unconstitutional. But of that, another time.

This week also belongs to External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, who on the first anniversary of the scrapping of Article 370, tweeted that “a transformation is underway” in J&K and in Ladakh, in the “application of progressive laws, delivery of social justice, advancement of women’s rights and empowerment and support for vulnerable sections”.

Sometimes it seems like the good minister has outsourced his Twitter handle to someone who lives in the Land of Gup. Salman Rushdie surely needs a sequel to his brilliant novel Haroun and the Sea of Stories to properly explain the inversion of reality where everything is somehow the opposite of what it is supposed to be, at least in the Kashmir valley.

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