The WhatsApp message came an hour after I landed in Islamabad. Sardar Masood Khan, the president of Pakistani-administered Kashmir, wanted to know if I was available to meet. I had interviewed him for Foreign Policy during the February 2019 India-Pakistan military confrontation over Kashmir, and he was eager for another conversation.
His outreach was part of a carefully coordinated PR offensive by Pakistan to seize the global narrative over India’s early August annexation of the semi-autonomous territory of Jammu and Kashmir. It included an op-ed by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in The New York Times, interviews by Pakistani diplomats in Washington and New York, and a meeting with Pakistani-Americans by Raja Farooq Haider, the prime minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, as the Pakistani portion of the divided territory is officially known (“Azad” means “free”).
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