Pak mission goes on overdrive over Kashmir in Europe, make an offer to Sweden | Latest News India
NEW DELHI: Pakistan’s embassies in Europe have stepped up their campaign against Kashmir, including informally reaching out to Swedish politicians to intercede with Turkey on Sweden’s NATO membership bid in exchange for addressing the Kashmir issue.
The campaign increased in the period leading up to 5 August, which the Pakistani government has observed as “Youm-e-Istehsal” or “Day of Exploitation” since the Indian government scrapped Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on that day in 2019.
As part of the campaign this year, the Pakistani side made an informal outreach to Swedish politicians to take up their country’s bid to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) with Turkey in exchange for support for efforts to internationalize the Kashmir issue, three people said. who are familiar with the matter.
Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, but faced opposition from Turkey, a member of the military alliance, over claims the Scandinavian countries support “terrorist” Kurdish groups. Turkey dropped its objections after the two countries said they would deal with deportation or extradition requests for terror suspects.
Turkey warned last month that it will freeze Sweden’s and Finland’s membership bids if the Nordic countries do not keep promises on fighting terrorism. Pointing to Pakistan’s strong ties with Turkey, one of the people said: “They are trying to use this to support their Kashmir campaign.”
While most activities related to Youm-e-Istehsal in European capitals are allegedly organized by Kashmiri groups and organizations, there are strong indications of support for these events from the local Pakistani mission, the people said.
A letter sent by an official at the Pakistani Embassy in Stockholm to the Foreign Office in Islamabad on 20 July referred to several activities organized in connection with Youm-e-Istehsal, including an event with speakers from Sweden’s Riksdag and regular contacts with Swedish Riksdag members. “to start discussions in Sweden’s Riksdag” about two already submitted motions on the Kashmir issue.
The people also pointed to the role of the Kashmir Institute for International Relations (KIIR), an Islamabad-based organization that often spreads misinformation about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, in spreading the Pakistani government’s propaganda about Kashmir.