In the wake of Indian move to repeal Article 370 of Indian constitution and bifurcating occupied State of Jammu and Kashmir, an In-House Discussion was held at Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies, Islamabad on 7 August 2019. Mr. Abdullah Khan, Managing Director PICSS moderated the discussion while PICSS members including Mr. Gul Dad, Director Research & HR, Mr. Hassam Siddiqi Director Programs, research associates Ms. Noor-ul-Ain Naseem, Mr. Ali Hussain Arif and Mr. Azhar Waqar, Ms. Sundas Anwar Research Assistant, Ms. Shumaila Office Coordinator & Finance Officer, Ms. Nida Nadeem Media Coordinator and other members of PICSS attended the discussion.
The purpose of the discussion was to understand and analyze the impact of the Indian action of abolishing Article 370 and possible options for Pakistan.
Key points of discussion were:
- Revoking of article 370, use of paramilitary forces and seizure of territory by force is evidence of the failure of democratic and liberal values as well as a gross administrative failure at the hands of India.
- Changes to Jammu and Kashmir’s status could further inflame tensions, this could also lead to demographic change in the region.
- The move will trigger unprecedented civilian unrest in occupied Jammu and Kashmir with every possibility of India using force to quell the unrest leading to gross human rights violations and sufferings of Kashmiris.
- Pakistan has already hosted around 3.5 million refugees for a period of four decades. This situation in Kashmir may push further refugee movement to this side, which may overburden Pakistan state capacity.
- Pakistan should challenge India’s decision at the UN Security Council and demand action from the international community over the Kashmir issue. Pakistan should also raise the issue and take the matter to the International Court of Justice. Moreover, in order to build pressure, cutting off diplomatic ties, raising the issue of infringement of the special constitutional status of the state and raising the issue of violation of UN status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir is also needed.
- The situation may lead to military confrontation along the line of control and working boundary which can further escalate to the international border.
- The participants acknowledged the joint session of the Pakistani parliament to present a unique voice of the nation.
- Steps taken by the government of Pakistan e.g. calling off bilateral trade, downgrading diplomatic relations were appreciated but considered insignificant in the larger context of the issue.
- Pakistan should politically, diplomatically and morally support the indigenous freedom movement of Kashmir.
- Pakistan should create common stakes with regional forces around the resolution of Kashmir issue diplomatically since India’s aggressive and belligerent posture is a threat to the balance of power in the region. It is particularly alarming to regional forces, China and Russia.
- India’s repression of article 370 regarding the status of the valley doesn’t change the freedom movement validity by naming freedom fighters as insurgents and rebels. Seizure of distributed territory is a breach of international law and a violation of human rights.
- Ongoing gross human rights violation in the valley at the hands of security forces, political marginalization and restriction of movement has created frustration in Kashmir. Hence, It is a futile attempt by the state of India to strip a community of its identity and political rights.
Note: The views expressed in the in-house discussions were purely independent of the individuals who participated in the discussion. PICSS as an organization maintains its neutrality.