Will use all options to counter revocation of Article 370: Pakistan
Pakistan on Monday rejected the Indian government’s moves to redefine the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, saying no unilateral steps could change the state’s status as an “internationally recognised disputed territory”.
India on Monday scrapped Article 370 of the Constitution that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and split the state into two union territories – J&K with legislature and Ladakh without legislature.
A statement from Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman said, “No unilateral step by the Government of India can change this disputed status... As the party to this international dispute, Pakistan will exercise all possible options to counter the illegal steps,” the Pakistan foreign ministry said in a statement.
Leaders of Pakistan’s opposition and ruling parties were on the same page in opposing the developments.
Opposition Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) president Shehbaz Sharif condemned the decision to revoke Article 370 and said it was “unacceptable” and an “act of treason” against the UN.
Sharif called on the Pakistani leadership to immediately demand an emergency session of the UN Security Council and to consult with China, Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other friendly countries on the developments.
Calling the situation a “test for the world community”, he said the right to self-determination was a democratic right of the Kashmiri people.
Sharif also called for an emergency meeting of parliamentary leaders to frame a collective plan of action.
“This is a matter of Pakistan’s national interest and the entire nation is united on this front,” he said.
Firdous Ashiq Awan, special assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan for information and broadcasting, said Pakistan will continue extending moral, diplomatic and political support to the Kashmiri people until they achieve their right to self-determination.
In a series of tweets, she said the world community would have to prove its respect for democracy by supporting the Kashmiris.
Awan repeated Pakistan’s allegation that India had used cluster bombs along the Line of Control, and urged the United Nations (UN) and the international community to take notice of such “blatant atrocities”.
The charge has already been denied by India.
Opposition Pakistan People’s Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari too condemned the developments.
Article 370 of the Constitution had given Jammu and Kashmir its own constitution and decision-making rights for all matters except for defence, communications and foreign affairs. The law also forbids Indians outside the state from permanently settling, buying land, holding local government jobs and securing education scholarships. These restrictions would go.