Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has stirred a hornet’s nest, and understandably so. His take at the doorsteps of parliamentary elections in India – that a return of PM Modi and his BJP is the best bet for solving the vexed Kashmir issue – might or might not help the saffron party win more votes. But, it’s safe to assume that Khan made the statement after a down-to-earth assessment of the present situations in the subcontinent. For one thing, the Pathan that he’s, it is more likely he’s brutally frank; something hills people are known for. He based his proposition on the ground that the rival Congress party will be too scared to take meaningful steps to solve the Kashmir crisis, while the rightists carried with them more strength to take decisions.

Kashmir remains a festering wound for seven decades, and even UN interventions had not helped settle matters. Fact is also that Kashmir is being used by the Pakistani military as a cover to settle scores with India after its defeat in the war in East Pakistan against the civil society offensives there in the 1970s; time when India under Indira Gandhi ably backed the Bengali-speaking population there. The ISI’s stated objective is to inflict a thousand wounds on India. Yet, Imran Khan says it’s time to change things for the better and that he has the army’s support to put down the militant-terrorist groups there. Pakistan itself is at the receiving end of terrorism from home-grown fighters as well as those nurtured in Afghanistan’s soil.

The context is important. While the Pakistani establishment keeps saying the February 26 bombing did no harm other than for the loss of some pine trees, there’s more to it. For one, the long pause Pakistan took to take a media-diplomats team to the supposed spot meant it had things to hide. Even granted that nothing of the sort that India claimed had happened there, the IAF reaching unchallenged up to 80km inside the Pakistani territory, not far from the military headquarters, spoke volumes about the embarrassment and loss of security comfort Pakistan suffered. The Pakistani airports still remain closed after the abrupt shutdown since February 26, fearing more of IAF offensives. This meant life in Pakistan remains largely unsettled since the day Balakot happened.

Pakistan paid a big price for what happened in Pulwama. So, it is likely the Islamic nation is forced to have a re-thinking on its stands vis-a-vis Kashmir.