Thursday Mar 07, 2019
LONDON: Pakistan’s new High Commissioner to the UK Nafees Zakaria has been successfully engaging with the mainstream English and international media, and putting forth Pakistan’s point of view effectively throughout the Indo-Pakistan tensions after the Pulwama attack.
In the wake of Pulwama attack on February 14, 2019, which was immediately followed by the Indian accusations against Pakistan and violations of Pakistan’s sovereign territory, the ensuing escalation brought the two nuclear states on the verge of war.
Amidst this crisis situation and the International anxiety, High Commissioner for Pakistan to the UK, Nafees Zakaria was seen busy engaging the British government, parliamentarians and most importantly, dealt with the powerful British and international media based in London.
Britain urged both India and Pakistan to calm tensions and resolves their differences through dialogue. It’s understood that Britain has been proactive throughout the crisis behind the scenes and remained abreast of the situation throughout.
Diplomats remained in touch with Pakistan High Commission London and Nafees Zakaria’s skillful diplomatic efforts significantly helped to draw the attention of the British side to play its role in calming down the situation between the two nuclear neighbours.
Sources have informed that Zakaria constantly updated the British government on the rapidly changing situation and Pakistan’s desire to pursue peace despite Indian aggression. He also very efficiently kept the British Pakistani parliamentarians, updated on the evolving situation in the sub-continent.
The British Prime Minister expressed her concern at the situation and as many as 40 MPs participated in the debate on Kashmir at the House of Commons and concern was expressed by a number of House of Lords members.
Nafees Zakaria gave interviews to the BBC, Sky News, TV Channel 4 and RT News UK. Being a former spokesperson of the Foreign Office of Pakistan, Zakaria faced at times, aggressive questions of the interviewers, and responded to them in the most convincing manner.
Given the reach of these channels, Zakaria was able to present Pakistan’s case as a victim of Indian state sponsored terrorism and Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir to many millions of viewers across the UK and beyond.
The High Commissioner rebutted Indian propaganda against Pakistan with solid references to the arrest and confessions by Indian serving Naval Commander, Kulbhushan Jadhav, of Indian involvement in terrorism in Pakistan, reminded former Jamaat ul Ahrar spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan’s revelations of Indian RAW’s funding to JuA to carry out terrorist attacks in Pakistan and former US Defence Secretary’s statement that India financed trouble in Pakistan from Afghanistan.
Zakaria, during his interviews, deftly put forward Pakistan’s desire for peace with India through dialogue and told his international audience that it was India that was not coming to negotiations with Pakistan.
He said that Pulwama was the small manifestation of the bigger problem which was the dispute of Kashmir and unless that was not resolved as per the UNSC resolutions, peace in the region was a far cry.
The High Commissioner utilised his interviews to sensitise the international community especially the US and the UK to come forward and mediate on the issue of Kashmir — the last thing India would like to happen.
Zakaria also conveyed in his interviews that Pakistan was willing to take action if India provided actionable evidence of use of Pakistani soil in the incident. The international media has praised the effective communication strategy of Pakistan throughout the crisis and mature approach adopted by Pakistan’s leadership.
It was noticed that Pakistan’s outreach to the British media was very effective in putting across Pakistan’s viewpoint and challenging the Indian perspective as a victim before the influential international audience. The outreach approach in London has been helpful in drawing attention to the real dispute of Kashmir, where atrocities against Kashmiri Muslims at the hands of Indian occupation forces are continuing.
For almost two weeks now, British media has unanimously stressed that Pakistan has acted calmly and professionally in the face of Indian aggression and provocation.