Imran Khan, the Pakistan prime minister accompanied by General Bajwa the de facto power in Pakistan visited the USA from 22 July 2019 and met President Trump. On his return, he stated that he felt like he had won the World Cup. Imran Khan had led Pakistan to the cricket World Cup victory in 1992. Imran's optimism was based on a comment by Trump in a joint meeting wherein he had stated that he would be glad to mediate in the Kashmir dispute. Imran perhaps was not aware that the US president is unpredictable but he keeps in sight the interests of the United States.

In any case, Modi rejected arbitration and stressed that the issue is solved bilaterally as per Simla agreement of 1972. Yahoo News has reported that there is a perceptible shift in the stand of Trump after the Indian premier had a 30-minute telephone talk with him and outlined the negative policy of Pakistan. Trump has now called for bilateral talks and not repeated his offer of mediation.

Donald Trump

To the chagrin of Imran Khan and Pakistan, Trump is going ahead to cement his relationship with India.

The two leaders are due to meet at the G7 summit in a few weeks. What turned the tables against Pakistan was the telephone call of Modi to Trump. Imran had also spoken to him but the call lasted just 12 minutes. The Economic Times has reported that Trump asked Imran Khan to "moderate rhetoric" with India over Kashmir.

Modi is now on the offensive and Pakistan is finding it hard to counter him.

Modi has undone the perceived historical mistake of Nehru by abolishing Article 370 of the Indian constitution. In the bargain, he has abrogated the special status of Kashmir. He has bifurcated the state into two regions and downgraded the state to a union territory.

Pakistan rattled

The changes have rattled Pakistan and despite a diplomatic offensive, the Pakistan government has found very little support among the nations of the world.

The economy is in bad shape and liabilities are piling up on the state.

The Pakistan Foreign minister has stated that the people of Pakistan must not live in a fool's paradise and realize that even the Security Council is not going to welcome Pakistan with garlands.

Last word

Pakistan is feeling cornered on Kashmir and had hoped for US support. It felt the US will be grateful for help in facilitating an honorable retreat from Afghanistan. Trump is a shrewd man and it was only in 2018 he had castigated Pakistan for its role in Afghanistan and suspended all military assistance. Trump will watch closely the conduct of Pakistan before he commits anything. In the meantime, relations with India are getting stronger as the USA will need India as a counterbalance to China.

Imran Khan will be wondering how he miscalculated. He has limited options on Kashmir as he hardly has any bargaining chips left.