Wed, 20 Nov 2019

Amsterdam [Netherlands], Aug 17 (ANI): A European think tank has raised objections over Pakistan's stand on the Kashmir issue, saying that the country is an illegal occupier and has no locus standi on the matter.

Amsterdam based European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS), in its research paper after the abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A from Jammu and Kashmir, said: "As questionable as the Indian moves to alter the constitutional status of the State of JammuKashmir (JK) and to bifurcate it were, especially the clampdown that is currently in place in Jammu and Kashmir, how Pakistan has a locus stand on the matter is difficult to comprehend".

It also quoted American scholar C Christine Fair -- who specializes in South Asia -- as recently asserting that "Pakistan also has no locus standi on this issue.""India has an Instrument of Accession, according to which Pakistan is in illegal occupation of territory seized in the 1947-48 war and which it illegally ceded. Not content with the parts of the princely State of Jammu and Kashmir that it had seized illegally in 1947-48, Pakistan made several other military attempts to illegally grab even more territory from Jammu and Kashmir, most notably in 1965 and in 1999," said EFSAS.

As Kunwar Khuldune Shahid, the Pakistan-based correspondent for 'The Diplomat', puts it: "Pakistan's long-time approach to the dispute leaves little room for objecting to the Modi government's power play... Pakistan's fate in the Kashmir dispute wasn't sealed in Washington or New Delhi."It was regularly rewritten at Rawalpindi (where the Pakistan Army is headquartered), over the past seven decades. Kashmir and civilian supremacy are the two fronts where the Pakistan Army has waged all its wars, simultaneously, albeit it never succeeded.

These wars, however, have had mutual causalities, with the Pakistani military establishment blatantly misusing the Kashmiri struggle to nourish its jihadist assets, which served its misplaced domestic and regional ambitions and maintained its hegemony over the national exchequer. By establishing a radical Islamist umbrella linking Kashmir and Afghanistan, the Pakistan military establishment kept the two regions geostrategically interconnected, with Rawalpindi exercising decisive influence over this multipronged jihadist corridor.

Post 9/11, the United States coerced General Pervez Musharraf's military regime to outwardly shun jihad as an ally in the War on Terror.

This accelerated the now notorious "Good Taliban, Bad Taliban" approach, were officially banned, groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Muhammad, and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen continued to be backed by Pakistan to wage jihad on India.

"That eventually culminated in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which signalled the death knell for Pakistan's Kashmir position on the international arena", said the Think Tank.

Pakistan has, meanwhile, not covered itself in glory in its handling of the parts of Jammu and Kashmir forcibly and illegally held by it for over seven decades. While strongly protesting the Indian move to withdraw the autonomy that the J-K enjoyed and arguing that it would lead to demographic changes, Pakistan has totally lost sight of the fact that the Constitution that it drew for Pakistan occupied J-K prohibited "any opinion or action" that questioned the region's "accession to Pakistan".

The Pakistani military clamped down brutally on any sign of dissent, and residents were subjected to repeated violations of human rights.

"The severe restrictions that were placed on the media allowed Pakistan to enjoy the impunity", said EFSAS.

Pakistan further divided Pakistan occupied JK into the so-called 'Azad' (Free) JammuKashmir (AJK) and Gilgit Baltistan regions.

In April 1949, Pakistan supposedly signed the Karachi Agreement with the 'President' of AJK under which the administrative control of Gilgit Baltistan was transferred to Pakistan. No representative of Gilgit Baltistan was a signatory to this agreement.

Subsequently, to deliberately dilute the Shia/Ismaili character of the Gilgit Baltistan region, the State Subject Rule that defined and categorized people as State and non-State subjects and granted the right to the government office, land use, and ownership only to State Subjects, was put in abeyance by the Pakistani government in 1974.

This led to the migration of a large number of Sunnis from Pakistan into Gilgit Baltistan. From 1998 to 2011, it is estimated that the population of Gilgit Baltistan increased by as much as 63 percent due to large-scale migration. Subsequently, in March 1963, despite not having the sovereignty of the region, Pakistan illegally ceded about 5,180 sq km of Gilgit Baltistan to China.

In 2018, under pressure from China to elevate the constitutional status of Gilgit Baltistan to a province in order to provide legal cover for Chinese investments under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Pakistan passed the Government of Gilgit Baltistan Order 2018.

Nevertheless, the government of Pakistan continued to retain exclusive powers to make laws in critical areas. (ANI)

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