Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan
Ever since the Narendra Modi government abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution that gave a special status to Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is under tremendous pressure, with opposition leaders like Bilawal Bhutto Zardari slamming the premier for his "complete failure" on handling the Kashmir issue.
Not only the Opposition, even the army, which is said to be very close to Khan, is mounting pressure on the government to take action against India. On 18 August, Khan completed a year as the PM of Pakistan. The very next day he announced that the tenure of Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa will be extended by three years.
When he became Pakistan’s prime minister, both army and judiciary supported him. Yet, he was not able to bring a change in Pakistan’s policies or politics.
On Tuesday, Minister of Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry said Pakistan is once again mulling a complete ban on the use of the country's airspace by Indian flights.
Tensions between India and Pakistan spiked after India abrogated provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution to withdraw Jammu and Kashmir's special status and bifurcated it into two Union Territories, evoking strong reactions from Pakistan.
India has categorically told the international community that the scrapping of Article 370 was an internal matter and also advised Pakistan to accept the reality.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari slams Imran Khan
Addressing media persons in Rawalpindi on Monday, Bilawal, the son of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, said Pakistan "lost Kashmir" due to the incompetency of the Khan government.
"Earlier, Pakistan's policy used to be how to take Srinagar from India. However, now due to the failure of Imran Khan government, the position is how we can save Muzaffarabad," the Pakistan Peoples Party chairman said.
Bilawal said Prime Minister Khan knew that scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir's special status was in BJP's election manifesto, but he did not take any action on this earlier.
"This is a strategic blunder. The government does not have any excuse," he told reporters outside the Adiala Jail, where his father and former president Asif Ali Zardari is lodged in connection with a corruption case.
"When it comes to Opposition, Khan projects himself as lion, but in front of Prime Minister Narendra Modi he is timid and becomes scaredy-cat," he added.
He said no other Pakistani government has failed so badly as the Khan government has.
Pakistan science minister Fawad Chaudhry threatened that Prime Minister Imran Khan is considering a complete closure of airspace to India on Tuesday, a day the US agreed that Kashmir is a bilateral issue after a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra and President Donald Trump. He said the prime minister is contemplating the stoppage of routes to impede Indian trade.
"PM [Imran Khan] is considering a complete closure of air space to India. A complete ban on the use of Pakistan's land routes for Indian trade to Afghanistan was also suggested in a cabinet meeting. The legal formalities for these decisions are under consideration...Modi has started we'll finish!"
Pakistan Army chief discusses situation in Kashmir with top Chinese general
Pakistan and China have signed an MoU for the enhancement of defence cooperation and capacity building of the Pakistani Army, as the top generals of the two armies discussed the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
China's Central Military Commission Vice-Chairman Xu Qiliang visited the Pakistan Army's General Headquarters in Rawalpindi with a high-level delegation on Monday and held a one-on-one meeting with Pakistan's Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa.
During the meeting, matters of mutual interest, regional security, avenues to enhance bilateral defence collaboration, and particularly the situation in Kashmir were discussed, the Inter-Services Public Relations, the media wing of Pakistan's military said. Bajwa appreciated its all-weather ally China's understanding and support on all important issues particularly Kashmir.
The Pakistan Army has deployed more than 100 Special Services Group (SSG) commandos along the Line of Control in the Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). According to a report in ANI, the mobilisation could be a possible attempt to carry out BAT action against the Indian Army.
The report said that the Indian Army is closely monitoring the activities of these commandos, who are seen working closely with the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and other terrorist groups, Army sources said here.
The Pakistan Army's SSG commandos have been actively taking part in ceasefire violations and have suffered casualties as well because of the Indian retaliations. The Indian agencies have also seen the deployment of Pakistani commandos near the Sir Creek area in the Pakistani territory.
Pakistan troops violated the ceasefire by targeting forward posts with mortar shells and small arms along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district on Tuesday, a defence spokesperson said. The cross-border firing by Pakistan started at about 6.30 pm and ended at 8.00 pm, he said.
The Indian Army retaliated befittingly, the spokesperson said.
On Monday, one terrorist was arrested who entered into Indian territory following ceasefire violations by Pakistan at two locations in Poonch area of Jammu and Kashmir.
With Pakistan failing to get traction for its belligerent stand on Kashmir, Imran Khan said on Monday that he will raise the issue at every international forum, including at the UN General Assembly.
Khan's address to the nation came after Modi, during his meeting with US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the G7 Summit in France on Monday, categorically rejected any scope for third party mediation between India and Pakistan on Kashmir.
Prime Minister Khan assured the people of Pakistan that his government will stand by the Kashmiris till India lifts the restrictions in the Valley. Khan claimed that Prime Minister Modi had made a "historic blunder" by revoking Kashmir's special autonomy.
Prime Minister Khan also claimed that India was planning a "false-flag operation" like the one carried out after the Pulwama attack.
"We received information that they were planning a false-flag operation like what they did in Balakot to divert attention from Kashmir," he said.
Khan also mentioned his peace overtures towards India after coming to power, but said India rejected those as it was following a different agenda.
(With PTI inputs)