Article 370: Pakistan Heighten Tensions Over Kashmir

  • Since independence from British rule in 1947, Kashmir has been the cause of two wars between India and Pakistan.
  • Both countries claim this but both have separate administration on two geographical parts.
  • As expected, Pakistan is on fire after India's autonomy ends.

India has decided to remove Article 370, the constitutional provision giving special status to Kashmir, at a time when Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is preparing to celebrate the first anniversary of his term. This is an unprecedented situation that was difficult to predict.

Narendra Modi (born 17 September 1950) is an Indian politician serving as the 14th and current Prime Minister of India since 2014. He was the Chief Minister of Gujarat from 2001 to 2014, and is the Member of Parliament for Varanasi. Modi is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu nationalist volunteer organisation. He is the first prime minister outside of the Indian National Congress to win two consecutive terms with a full majority, and the second one to complete five years in office after Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Ending the autonomy granted to Kashmir under special status on August 5, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi government not only brought this Muslim-majority state under the federal rule but also removed one of the world’s longest-running conflicts from the table itself.

India’s unilateral decision to divide Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories is an announcement to the world that Kashmir is India’s ‘internal matter.’ This changes everything from the Indian point of view. But Pakistan has strongly criticized India. Describing Kashmir as a sensitive issue, Khan said that it is related to the history, politics, strategy, and identity of his country.

Since independence from British rule in 1947, Kashmir has been the cause of two wars between India and Pakistan. Both countries claim this but both have separate administration on two geographical parts. For decades, India’s right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its parent organization, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), have consistently said that Article 370, the constitutional system giving special status to Kashmir, would prevent the state from linking it with the rest of the country.

The announcement to end this provision was a long-standing promise of the BJP. After the huge success in the 2019 elections, the ruling party finally got the electoral mandate that it needed to fulfill its election promise. But like most Indians, this decision of the BJP-led Government of India was surprising for Pakistan.

According to local media, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that this action is “completely surprising.” According to Pakistani channel Geo TV, he said, “We had some idea that India could take any such action and knowing this, we were ready for any event but we did not know that it was within 24 hours.”

Critics argue that this step should not be seen as a surprise as the events of the last few weeks in Kashmir were pointing to something like this. Some people, including the opposition in the country, also criticized Pakistan’s ‘simple’ reaction and readiness of its foreign policy.

Before India announcement about Kashmir, Pakistan was engaged in dealing with domestic issues like its staggering economy and legal action against its opponents. Local media reported ongoing investigations against opposition leaders and cases of intimidation but the government dismissed those allegations.

Imran Khan (born 5 October 1952) is the 22nd and current Prime Minister of Pakistan and the chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). Before entering politics, Khan was an international cricketer and captain of Pakistan national cricket team, leading the team to the victory in 1992 Cricket World Cup.

According to local daily Pakistan Today, “Because of this, they had very little time to gather information about the discussion that was going on between the top BJP leaders about Kashmir.” Its editorial reads, “The PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf) government and its supporters did not properly interpret the signals coming from India after the election. They were not ready for this announcement at all.”

As expected, Pakistan is on fire after India’s autonomy ends. On the day of India announcement, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry gave a statement to dismiss it as an ‘illegal’ action.

According to the statement, “India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (India-administered Kashmir) is an internationally recognized disputed territory. The unilateral steps of the India Government cannot change this disputed position as it was written in the UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution.”

Since then, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has been holding several meetings with military and top government officials. The country’s powerful army issued a statement on August 6, saying that it was ready to go “to any extent” to fulfill its ‘obligations’ to the people of Kashmir.

Pakistan on Wednesday curtailed its diplomatic relations with India, suspending bilateral trade and expelling Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria from Islamabad. Also, it has decided not to send its ambassador Moinul Haq, who was to play his new diplomatic role.

On Thursday, on the announcement that Pakistan would reduce diplomatic relations, India said that “the decision related to Article 370 is entirely an India internal matter”. Pakistan rejected this claim and said that the United Nations has to take a final decision on Kashmir.

Meanwhile, Islamabad is also engaged in an exercise to mobilize international support against India on this issue. Prime Minister Imran Khan said that Pakistan will challenge this step in the United Nations Council. He urged the international community to intervene in the matter, which could have serious consequences.

On the same day, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also led a Pakistani delegation to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting in Saudi Arabia.

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Joyce Davis

My history goes back to 2002 and I  worked as a reporter, interviewer, news editor, copy editor, managing editor, newsletter founder, almanac profiler, and news radio broadcaster.


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