Pakistan looks to mark J&K move anniversary with 18-point agenda
India tabled laws and resolutions in the Rajya Sabha to strip the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir of its special status under the constitution and split it into two union territories, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, on August 5.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan who counts the campaign against India over Jammu and Kashmir as his government’s key achievement has involved the country’s spy agency, Inter Services Intelligence, or ISI, in an 18-point plan to mark the August 5 anniversary of India scrapping Article 370 that extended special status to the erstwhile state, people familiar with the development said. The ISI is accused of nurturing terror groups, mostly directed at India and Afghanistan.
The 18-point programme includes a visit by Imran Khan to occupied Kashmir where he is tentatively scheduled to address the assembly in a speech that will be beamed live. Before he reaches Muzaffarabad, Khan’s government intends a field trip for foreign journalists to the occupied territory, the people added,asking not to be identified.
India tabled laws and resolutions in the Rajya Sabha to strip the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir of its special status under the constitution and split it into two union territories, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, on August 5. These were passed by the Rajya Sabha the same day, the Lok Sabha the following day, and received presidential assent on August 9.
The introduction of the law was preceded by a security and communication lockdown in Jammu and Kashmir and detention of its top political leaders. Most of them have since been released; PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti is among the exceptions.
Pakistan, which like much of the country, was taken by surprise by New Delhi’s move soon launched an international campaign against the nullification of Article 370. Imran Khan was the face of this pitch on and off Twitter. Khan even focused his speech at the United Nations General Assembly, or UNGA, last September on Kashmir, warned of a “blood bath” in the region when restrictions were lifted, prophesied a genocide on the streets of the valley and frequently referred to Pakistab’s nuke weapons to blackmail the world to intervene.
Only two other countries spoke of Kashmir at the UNGA: Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Turkey and Malaysia, then led by Mahathir Mohamad.
China also did issue two statements on the scrapping of Article 370. One asked India and Pakistan to work together on the Kashmir issue. But its primary concern was over the change of Ladakh’s status to a federally-administered territory. “China is always opposed to India’s inclusion of the Chinese territory in the western sector of the China-India boundary into its administrative jurisdiction,” China’s foreign ministry said then.
New Delhi underlined to Beijing that changing the status of an Indian territory was an “internal matter”.
For Imran Khan’s elaborate plan for August 5, Islamabad has reached out to Kuala Lumpur, Ankara and Beijing to issue statements to commemorate the first anniversary of Jammu and Kashmir’s new status, the people cited in the first instance said. Or at least release tweets to the effect.
Turkey’s Erdoğan is expected to oblige but New Delhi is watching how Malaysia responds. Kuala Lumpur has a new prime minister in Muhyiddin Yassin who took over on 1 March. A statement from China, a government official said, didn’t matter given , especially against the backdrop of its aggressive attempt expand its territory that led to the standoff and the bloody Galwan clash in east Ladakh, and the first casualties on both sides along the Line of Actual Control in 40 years.
The Pakistani foreign ministry has been told to work closely with spy agency ISI on its diplomatic outreach to Organisation of Islamic Cooperation member countries and international human rights groups, organising commemorative events - even rallies - at missions abroad and drafting a fresh memorandum to be handed over to the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan headquartered in Islamabad, the people added.
Counter terror officials in New Delhi told Hindustan Times that the campaign was drawn up by the military for Imran Khan, right from documentaries, pamphlets and newspaper supplements to the tweets that would be put out. But Imran Khan will front the campaign.
The ISI created the The Resistance Front after August 5, a terror group without the religious label that could be used by Pakistan’s propaganda machine to claim that terror was home-bred in Kashmir due to Article 370, the people pointed out.