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How Kashmiris See Emerging Politics In Pakistan

How Kashmiris See Emerging Politics In Pakistan

Imran Khan has huge support in Kashmir, much of it springs from the fan following for him from his cricketing days. So, people in Kashmir have generally bought into Khan's narrative of being removed from power at the behest of the US.

Supporters of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan
Supporters of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan Muhammad Reza/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

At Residency Road, a vendor who sells decoration pieces was more interested in listening to Imran Khan’s speech. He says he spends all the time hearing news about Imran Khan. According to him Imran Khan often talks sense, he was replaced by the USA and he will soon come back to power. 

Imran Khan has huge support in Kashmir, much of it springs from the fan following for him from his cricketing days. So, people in Kashmir have generally bought into Khan's narrative of being removed from power at the behest of the US.

“My elderly 79-year-old father is more concerned about Imran Khan and his fate than Kashmir politics.  It surprises me the most. I often see him watching pro-Imran Khan commentary on YouTube. He thinks that Imran Khan will come back to power in Pakistan,” says a medical shop owner in Anantnag town.

“My father abuses Pakistani politicians but Imran Khan is the only exception,” he adds. He also says that his friends keenly watch emerging Pakistan politics. “It remains to be seen whether Imran Khan, who has mass support in the country, returns to power and helps democracy flourish in the country or whether the all-powerful Army continues to have the heft by calling the shots by backing a current government,” he adds.

Shabir Hussain, editor of Kashmir Newsline says, “right from 1947, Kashmiris have been very closely monitoring the Pakistani politics right from the days of Jinnah,  Ayub,  Bhutto and down to Zia and others.”

 “Pakistani politics has always had a bearing on the minds of Kashmiris who are very emotional when it comes to how politics in that country unfolds. It's been like that always and is no different today.  Kashmiris, by and large, love Imran Khan and like most of the Pakistanis and many Muslims around the world, believe in his ummah rhetoric. If you do a survey on the streets of Kashmir, don't get surprised if Khan comes out as the most favourite politician,” Hussain says.

“Kashmiris crazily love him,” Hussain adds.

While Imran Khan continued to be venerated by an older generation, some Kashmiris see Pakistan in a different light. “I think there is the most pervasive feeling of disgust towards Pakistan at how pathetically Pakistan behaved after the abrogation of Article 370. I never come across such a feeling about Pakistan in Kashmir,” says one analyst who didn’t want to be quoted.

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