Neither 370 Nor 35A; Pakistan’s Historic Stance on Kashmir is Crucial

Pakistan must not and should not fall into the trap of the Modi Govt. that wants to internalize the issue of Kashmir by keeping the debate between Article 370 and Article 35A. 

 (Photo by Asif HASSAN / AFP)

Former Ambassador of Pakistan, Ashraf Jehangir, in his latest, write up very rightly correlated the melting of ice between India and Pakistan under the shadow of backchannel diplomatic talks by quoting this astounding phrase of poetry which says: Bekhudi besabab Nahin Ghalib, Kuch to hai jiski purdah Dari hai”. That means Distraction is not without reason Ghalib, Something must be veiled at the back front.

A few years back, ex-Chief Minister of Punjab Shehbaz Sharif invited harsh criticism from the so-called pro-democratic political party as well as from across the media when he found fault with the terms of the historic Simla Agreement reached between the two Asian neighbors on July 2, 1972. The chief minister cited his concerns in the Simla Agreement saying that it dampened the spirit of the Kashmiris fighting for their freedom and hurt their movement calling the agreement ‘a big mistake’.

However, it is damn true that viewing the Kashmir issue through the lens of the Simla Agreement is likely to favor India as the agreement called for the resolution of all their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations including the issue of Kashmir. Somehow the Simla episode descended the status of the Kashmir dispute from an international issue to merely a bilateral one.

It was Kashmiris in fact who kept their freedom struggle alive in the eyes of the world. Pakistan did also try to keep the status of the Kashmir dispute international by reiterating the UN’s stance on the issue at various diplomatic forums.

Now it’s time for Pakistan to stop the reactionary moves. India killed Burhan Wani we announced observance of Black Day as a reactionary move. India abrogated the territory’s special status we as a country started hue and cry for the reversal of the August 5 action by India.

Moreover, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s insistence for observance of ‘Kashmir Hour’, every Friday to send a strong message of solidarity to Kashmiris was of no use as it dissimulated Pakistan’s historic stance on Kashmir in which Pakistan asserts that it would continue to support Kashmiris at all forums.

One thing that Pakistan needs to adhere to is our principal stance on the issue of Kashmir. Pakistan must not and should not fall into the trap of the Modi Govt. that wants to internalize the issue of Kashmir by keeping the debate between Article 370 and Article 35A.

When officials and stakeholders in Pakistan ask for reversal of Article 370 and 35A that indicates our assertion to interpret the Kashmir dispute from the perspective of India. Instead, we should voice our concerns for Kashmiris from the dimensions of international law as well as UN Resolutions on Kashmir.

To be vocalized about the civil liberties of Kashmiri politicians, journalists as well as the other Kashmiri people should be our proposition in lieu of hotly-contested clauses of the Indian Constitution.

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