IS PAKISTAN REALLY HELPING IN INDIAN KASHMIRI’S CAUSE?

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It’s been more than 430 days of the constitutional changes made by India in the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J & A). On 5th August 2019, PM Narendra Modi revoked the Article 370 of which 35A is a part. This article had given certain privileges to the Kashmiri people and with its abrogation, those privileges were fully scrapped off. Previously, this article had given various autonomous rights to Jammu and Kashmir but they were snatched away last year in August 2019.

Kashmir has been under fire and ashes ever since. The abrogation of the Article 370 has led to a state of insurgency in Kashmir. People have faced a total communications blackout for more than one year now. There have been countless stone-pelting incidents by the native Kashmiris towards the Indian militants deployed in Kashmir. The economy of Kashmir has also been adversely affected by the revocation of the Article 370. No tourists are allowed on the land of Kashmir after the lockdown. The internet service remained disconnected for almost eight months from August 2019 to March 2020. Even after internet’s restoration in March 2020, only the 2G services were restored.

The abrogation of the Article 370 had its damages on Jammu and Kashmir. On the other hand, it also internationalized the Kashmir issue. Pakistan brought up the Kashmir problem in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) session twice since 5th August 2019. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan made his stance crystal clear in front of the whole world on Kashmir. He linked the stability of South Asia to the resolution of the Kashmir dispute peacefully and with international legitimacy.

The revocation of the Article 370 seems nothing more than a narrow political and ideological gain on the part of Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and Narendra Modi. The reasons given by Modi for revoking this article are nothing but fiction including terrorism and militant activities from Pakistan in the disputed region. Pakistan cannot be possibly blamed for terrorist activities in Kashmir. All the indicators show that its influence has only declined in the region since mid-2000s.

Realistically, the core purpose of Narendra Modi in abrogating the Article 370 is nothing more than India’s perpetual desire to integrate Kashmir. The ruling party; BJP wanted to portray its hostility against the Muslim community apart from the integrative purposes in Kashmir Valley.

It all comes down to the Hindutva policies of BJP and its eternal desire to spread Hindu nationalism across every state that it can have access to. This is another one of the major reasons for the revocation of the Article 370.

In a very recent interview conducted by an Indian renowned Journalist; Karan Thappar Moeed Yusuf the special assistant on National Security Division (NSA) and Strategic Planning claimed that New Delhi reached out to Pakistan for its desire for conversation with Islamabad on the Kashmir issue. His claim was rejected two days later by India’s Minister of External Affairs; Anurag Srivastava. Moeed Yusuf’s claim was called Fictitious by the Indian minister. This was the first ever interview of any Pakistani official to an Indian Journalist after August 2019.

India has claimed that this move is actually Pakistan’s tactic to divert the attention of international media from its failed domestic policies and a damaged economy. The claim made by Moeed Yusuf can cost a lot to Pakistan’s reputation and stance on Kashmir as well.

India has constantly and clearly linked the possibility of dialogue with Pakistan on the condition that Pakistan stops conducting terrorist activities on its grounds. It has also required the complete wipe out of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) from Pakistan.

India has given clear indications by abrogating the article 370 that it is not ready for dialogues or giving up Kashmir anytime soon. So how PM’s national security advisor (NSA) could make such an unworkable claim on the part of India? Is this not going to damage Pakistan’s apparently honest image in front of the international community?

In the interview, Moeed Yusuf also reminded India of Pakistan’s conditions for dialogues among which rolling back the abrogation of Article 370 was on the top. It is a complete irony for Moeed Yusuf to ask India for granting Kashmir its autonomy back when he has been the principal player in abrogating the autonomy of Gilgit Baltistan (GB) and amalgamating it with Pakistan.

Pakistan was already under great criticism for nullifying the autonomy of Gilgit Baltistan (GB) without a consensus. Pakistan has always condemned India of neglecting the will of Kashmiris. Now that the key player in revoking Gilgit Baltistan’s autonomy brought up this topic, Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir will become more of a joke to the world. Pakistan’s stance will become as weak as India’s on Kashmir.

While sharing his thoughts, Moeed Yusuf was favoring China’s stance on the Gilgit Baltistan in the upper Northern Areas. It is evident to the whole world now that Pakistan has incorporated Gilgit Baltistan into its territory on China’s bidding. China has poured in millions and millions of dollars into the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which has practically made Pakistan China’s yes man.

The federal Cabinet did not even consider taking into account the will of people of Gilgit Baltistan. It is going to be a more challenging task for Pakistan to desire autonomy and the right to self-determination for Kashmir when it has violated the autonomy of a province which was under its control.

Moeed Yusuf had worked at US Institute of Peace (USIP) previously where he was a staunch supporter of Indo-Pak peace and the resolution of Kashmir issue. His contradictory and contentious statements to Karan Thapar will cost Pakistan now that it was already under intense criticism for abrogating Gilgit Baltistan’s (GB) will.

If Pakistan is to retain its strength on Kashmir issue, it needs to look into its decision for integrating Gilgit Baltistan once again. Doing otherwise will raise questions on Pakistan’s stance towards Kashmir. Whether it really wants self-determination for Kashmiri people or it has just been playing with the world for portraying a positive image? The soon to be elections for Gilgit Baldistan (GB) assembly will clear things further.

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