Islamabad: Pakistan has strongly condemned and rejected India’s revocation of Article 370 that granted a special status for Indian-administered Kashmir.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry on Monday said that “ … Jammu & Kashmir is an internationally recognised disputed territory” and under UN Security Council resolutions India cannot change the disputed status, adding that the people of Pakistan and Kashmir will not accept the Indian action.

As party to the international dispute, Pakistan would “exercise all possible options to counter the illegal steps” taken by India, the Foreign Office (FO) statement said while reaffirming Pakistan’s commitment to the Kashmiri cause.

The comments came after India scrapped a constitutional provision that gave the state of … Jammu and Kashmir its own constitution and broad decision-making rights amid heavy deployment of security forces and suspension of phone and internet services in the valley.

Pakistan Arif Alvi, in his official statement, said “India’s attempt to further change status of … Jammu & Kashmir is against the resolutions of UNSC & against wishes of the Kashmiri people” adding that “Pakistan supports & insists on a peaceful resolution based on wishes of Kashmiri people.”

After the recent tensions across the Line of Control (LoC), Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted on August 4 that the situation had the potential to “blow up into a regional crisis” adding that “the only road to peace and security in South Asia runs through a peaceful and just settlement of Kashmir,” he posted.

The president of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, Sardar Masood Khan, also rejected India’s presidential order.

FM: Violates UN resolution

Pakistan’s foreign minister rejected India’s move, saying it violates a UN resolution and India’s commitment in UN on Kashmir issue. The Indian move to revoke Article 370 has no legal or constitutional justification, Qureshi told a Pakistani TV channel from Saudi Arabia, where he is on a pilgrimage to Makkah. “India has once again revived and internationalised the Kashmir issue. This will not solve the problem, rather it will escalate it,” he warned. Pakistan intends to highlight its stance with the International Community at large, he added.

Call for joint session of parliament

Country’s opposition leaders on Monday called for an urgent joint session of parliament to be scheduled in the wake of developments.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari shared on Twitter: “Extremist Indian government’s intentions clear. President must immediately summon joint session of parliament….”

PPP leader Sherry Rehman urged the international community to act urgently in response to the developments such as curfew, house arrest and communications blackout. Denouncing the Indian government’s revocation move, leader of the opposition in the National Assembly and PML-N Shahbaz Sharif said Pakistan should also immediately call for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council and devise a comprehensive strategy. “This is a matter of Pakistan’s national interest, all of Pakistan is united. The time has come for Pakistan’s political and military leadership to take collective decisions — Pakistan is united for the Kashmiri cause,” he said.

Minister for Human Rights, Dr Shireen Mazari, said condemning India’s move is not enough, instead the “International Court of Justice must be approached immediately” along with the UN Security Council and other international forums and human rights organisations.

Expert opinion

Talking to Gulf News, Ahmed Quraishi, executive director of YFK-International Kashmir Lobby Group, said that
“India’s decision [to revoke Article 370] has increased the chances of a civil war, a religious war, in Kashmir. We fear that another Syria is in the making as Indians are foreigners in the disputed region, settlements will lead to friction.” The director of the group that has offices in Geneva and Islamabad, further said that “Kashmiris don’t hate Indian people and want to live in peace as neighbours. I hope saner heads prevail in India, and go for peace talks instead of war.”

Reflecting on Pakistan’s future course of action, Prof Dr Zafar Nawaz Jaspal, director, Politics and International Relations at Quaid-e-Azam University, suggested “Pakistan should critically examine the unconstitutional move by Modi government and contest the case at UN, Security Council and other international forums.” At the same time, Dr Zafar said that “Pakistan should show maximum restraint at Line of Control while simultaneously supporting Kashmiris politically and diplomatically.”