While last month, the focus in the Pakistan press was the proposed extension of Army Chief General Qamar Bajwa’s tenure and its supreme court’s ruling on the matter along with other domestic issues such as corruption, the spotlight seems to have shifted back to Kashmir to some extent.

In its December 8 editorial — ‘Relentless Tyranny’ — Dawn marks four months since the communication blockade was imposed in Jammu and Kashmir. Much of the editorial is a repetition of the line espoused by the newspaper over the last four months: “…the people of the forsaken Valley suffocate under India’s stifling restrictions”; “thousands remain incarcerated under flimsy pretences”; “Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti — all former chief ministers of the held region — remain in detention along with other lawmakers, demonstrating that the BJP clique in New Delhi doesn’t even trust those that never tired of siding with India”.

What is interesting is a direct analogy between the suffering inflicted by Israel on Palestinians over the years, which too shows no sign of relenting, and the situation in the Valley: “It would not be wrong to compare the situation in occupied Kashmir to the miserable plight of the Palestinian enclave of Gaza, where similar restrictions on fundamental rights are enforced by the Israeli military machine. Perhaps this is not coincidental, as an Indian diplomat in the US was recently quoted as saying that his country should follow the ‘Israeli model’ in Kashmir; it is evident that quite a few of Tel Aviv’s brutal tactics are being replicated by the Hindutva-infused government in New Delhi.”

The statement by India’s consul-general to the US, Sandeep Chakravorty, (“why don’t we follow the Israel model”) also provides fodder to the argument made by Moonis Ahmar in The Express Tribune on December 6. “For the first time a senior Indian diplomat has called for establishing Hindu enclaves,” writes Ahmar, “similar to the illegal Jewish settlements in the Israel-occupied West Bank”. Ahmar, an international and strategic affairs scholar, does provide something of a caveat: “Although his statement was heavily criticised in India and by the Pakistani Prime Minister, it reflects the prevailing mindset in the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) about the demographic transformation in the Muslim-majority Kashmir Valley.”

Ahmar then describes the modalities and immoralities of Israel’s occupation and points out that many Kashmiri pandits too are against the “demographic change” that permitting all Indians to buy land in Kashmir would allow. He ends by pointing out that despite its efforts, Pakistan has been unable to change New Delhi’s position on Kashmir, or have the latter face any serious consequences in international fora: “Pakistan is unable to effectively challenge New Delhi because of its fragile economy, political polarisation and gaps in policy and action. Pakistan should have hit when the iron was hot. Does it mean Pakistan has lost Kashmir for good?”