A Pakistani newspaper on Thursday apologised for a controversial cartoon featuring its Prime Minister Imran Khan. The cartoon in The Nation mocked Khan’s desperate attempts to rake up the Kashmir dispute at the United Nations. It also featured US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The cartoon was published on Wednesday. The apology came a day ahead of Khan’s scheduled address to the United Nations General Assembly session in New York. The Pakistani prime minister is expected to raise the Kashmir matter in his speech.
“The artwork fell short of our standards and does not reflect our editorial policy,” The Nation said in a statement. “It should never have appeared. We are proud to be a nationalistic paper, and we regret sincerely the attention taken by an artwork that was inappropriate, especially at the time of UN General Assembly session taking place in New York.”
The cartoon showed Trump and Modi sitting in a cart that was pulled by Khan. Trump is seen dangling a carrot in front of the Pakistani prime minister, who is thinking about mediation on the Kashmir matter.
India imposed a communications blackout, detained Kashmiri political leaders and put restrictions on public movement on August 5 before revoking Jammu and Kashmir’s special constitutional status. It also split it into two Union Territories. Though India has claimed that the situation is getting back to normal and communication restrictions are being lifted gradually, activists and journalists claim the curbs are still in place in most places in the state.
Pakistan had downgraded diplomatic ties with India and suspended trade following India’s moves in the region. It also raised the matter at international forums such as the United Nations Human Rights Council but failed to get much traction as most world powers called for dialogue to end the Kashmir dispute but did not exert pressure on New Delhi. India has repeatedly said Kashmir was its internal matter.
On Tuesday, Khan had expressed disappointment with the international community for failing to pressure India in the Jammu and Kashmir matter. He had claimed that the world would have reacted with more urgency had eight million Europeans, Jewish people, or Americans been under siege. “There is no pressure on Narendra Modi to lift the siege,” Khan had said.
On Monday, Khan had met United States President Donald Trump and told him that Kashmir was facing a “huge humanitarian crisis” and “eight million people were under siege by 9 lakh troops for 50 days”.
In an op-ed article in The New York Times last month, Khan warned of an imminent military escalation between the two nuclear powers if the world did not intervene. He reiterated the warning in an interview to Al Jazeera on September 14.
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