New Delhi: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is considering holding a crucial cabinet meeting in the wake of India’s decision to revoke the ‘special status’ granted to Jammu and Kashmir, ThePrint has learnt.
The move comes after Home Minister Amit Shah introduced a bill in the Rajya Sabha that proposes to turn J&K into a union territory with a legislature and Ladakh into purely an union territory through the abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A.
Sources said Pakistan is planning a “fitting” reply to the Modi government’s step, unprecedented since India gained independence in 1947.
The country has condemned the move and called it “illegal”. In a statement, Pakistan’s foreign affairs ministry said, “The Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir is an internationally recognized disputed territory. No unilateral step by the Government of India can change this disputed status, as enshrined in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions. Nor will this ever be acceptable to the people of Jammu & Kashmir and Pakistan.”
It added: “As the party to this international dispute, Pakistan will exercise all possible options to counter the illegal steps. Pakistan reaffirms its abiding commitment to the Kashmir cause and its political, diplomatic and moral support to the people of Occupied Jammu and Kashmir for realization of their inalienable right to self-determination.”
Meanwhile, an important meeting of the Pakistan parliamentary committee on Kashmir is scheduled to take place at 2 pm to discuss the Kashmir situation, ARY News reported.
The meeting will be held in Islamabad where Pakistani authorities are likely to pass a resolution condemning Indian atrocities in Kashmir and use of cluster ammunition against civilians along the Line of Control. Officials from the Foreign Office will brief the committee on the current situation in occupied Kashmir, ARY News said.
Pakistan could move UN, OIC
Former high commissioner of India to Pakistan Sharat Sabharwal said Pakistan can take this matter to the UN Security Council citing the various UN resolutions on Kashmir. He also said the Imran Khan government will move the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to move a resolution rejecting India’s decision.
India, however, has categorically rejected all previous resolutions of the OIC.
The UN had Sunday appealed to both India and Pakistan to exercise maximum restraint amid escalating tensions between the two countries along the Line of Control (LoC).
The UN Secretary-General’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement that the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan observed and reported an increase in military activity at the LoC in recent days.
The UN Military Observer Group was deployed in January 1949 to supervise the ceasefire between both countries in the disputed State of Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan allows UN observers to monitor the LoC but India does not.
Khan seeks US mediation
Prime Minister Khan has also reiterated his intention to get US President Donald Trump to meditate the Kashmir dispute.
“President Trump offered to mediate on Kashmir. This is the time to do so as the situation deteriorates there and along the LOC with new aggressive actions being taken by Indian occupation forces,” Khan tweeted Sunday. “This has the potential to blow up into a regional crisis.”
Khan had Sunday chaired a meeting of the national security committee along with his ministers of defence, foreign affairs, Kashmir affairs and all military service chiefs. The meeting came on the back of India moving troops to J&K.
The Pakistani government had over the weekend called a meeting of envoys from Russia, China, France and the UK. It was chaired by Pakistani Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood over the alleged use of cluster ammunition by India.
The US assistant deputy secretary of state, Alice Wells, is slated to visit Pakistan today for a two-day trip as a follow up to Khan’s visit to Washington last month.