Kashmir news LATEST updates: India's Permanent Representative to the UN Syed Akbaruddin said at the UN headquarters, "Our position was and remains that matters related to Article 370 are entirely an internal matter of India. The recent decisions are intended to ensure that good governance is promoted, socie-economic development is enhanced for our people...We are committed to gradually removing all restrictions. Since the change is internal to India, it has not made any difference to our external orientation."
After the UNSC meeting ended in New York, Pakistan's UN envoy Maleeha Lodhi told reporters, "We stand ready for a peaceful settlement of the dispute of Jammu and Kashmir. This meeting nullifies India's claim that Jammu and Kashmir is an internal matter. The whole world is discussing the occupied state. It (Pakistan's efforts) will not end here; it will only end when justice is done to the people of Jammu and Kashmir."
The UN Security Council on Friday began a rare closed door meeting to discuss India revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir after Pakistan, backed by its all-weather ally, China, requested "closed consultations" on the issue.
India suspended the Jodhpur-Munabao Thar Link Express on Friday. Earlier, there was confusion and speculation over the continuation of the train service since Pakistan railway minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad rejected India's request to review the decision of closing down the operations of the Samjhauta and Thar Express trains last week.
Jammu and Kashmir chief secretary BVR Subrahmanyam said that the communication clampdown and curfew imposed in the Kashmir Valley was a "preventive measure" against any loss of life and that the restrictions will be "gradually" eased over the weekend.
Jammu and Kashmir chief secretary BVR Subrahmanyam begins addressing media on restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who visited Rajasthan on Friday for the International Army Scout Masters competition, also paid tribute to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on his first death anniversary in Pokhran.
The defence minister also weighed in on the rising tensions with Pakistan over the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. He said,"Till today, our nuclear policy has been 'no first use'. What happens in future depends on the circumstances."
Jammu and Kashmir chief secretary BVR Subramanyam is reportedly likely to address the media on Friday at 2 pm, during which he is expected to announce the easing of restrictions imposed in the Kashmir Valley — which has been under a curfew and a communications clampdown for the last 12 days after the Centre abrogated Article 370.
While the Jammu and Kashmir government secretariat and other public offices are likely to start functioning from Friday, the easing of public restrictions will depend on the day's developments after the weekly 'namaaz'.
A spokesperson said that the government will be watching the situation during the Friday prayers and based on the day's developments, relaxations could be considered for the general public as well.
CJI Ranjan Gogoi, heading a special bench of the Supreme Court hearing petitions against the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, said that the bench was inclined to give the Narendra Modi-led government "some time" to bring stability to the restive region which is under numerous restrictions since its autonomy was stripped last week.
The bench was hearing a petition against the curfew and communications clampdown imposed by the government, filed by Kashmir Times editor Anuradha Bhasin. Gogoi said, "We will give it a little time, I have read in the newspaper today that by evening, broadband and landlines will be on."
The Supreme Court special bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Friday adjourned the hearings of the petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370 due to the pleas being "defective" on technical aspects. The petitions are likely to be listed for next week, and the petitioners have been asked to "fix" the technical mistakes in their petitions, reports said.
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Friday, during the hearing of advocate ML Sharma's petition challenging the abrogation of Article 370, slammed the lawyer's petition for being "poorly drafted".
"What is this petition? This is simply not maintainable. What kind of petition is this?" Gogoi questioned Sharma. "I read your petition for half an hour but could not understand what is this petition about," he added.
The United Nations Security Council on Friday is scheduled to hold a rare meeting on India's action of revoking Jammu and Kashmir's special status, which resulted in strong objections from Pakistan. Reportedly, the meeting will take place behind closed doors.
Poland, which currently holds the council's rotating presidency, has listed the matter for discussion at 10.00 am (7.30 pm IST). It is extremely rare for the UNSC to discuss the conflict-ridden region, ownership of which is disputed by both, India and Pakistan. The last time there was a full Security Council meeting on the Kashmir was in 1965.
Friday's discussion is not considered a full security meeting but rather referred to as a closed-door consultation, which is becoming increasingly common, AFP reported.
Paramilitary personnel guard a road in Srinagar on Thursday. AP
The UNSC's move comes after China formally asked the global body for "closed consultations" on the Narendra Modi government's abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A, which provided autonomy to the state. Pakistan, Beijing's closest ally, had also written a letter on the issue to the council president soon after India announced its decision.
"China asked for closed consultations on the Security Council agenda item 'India Pakistan Question'. The request was in reference to the Pakistani letter to Security Council President," a diplomat was quoted as saying by PTI. Islamabad had called for an emergency meeting of the UNSC, Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had said.
Qureshi has sent a formal letter to the president of the Security Council, Polish Ambassador Joanna Wronecka, through country's Permanent Representative Maleha Lodhi to convene the meeting. Qureshi said the letter will also be shared with all members of the UNSC.
"I have requested in the letter that a special meeting of the Security Council should be called to discuss those actions of India which we consider as illegal and against the UN resolutions," he said.
Qureshi had air-dashed to Beijing for consultation with the Chinese leadership on the issue of raising the Kashmir issue at the UNSC. He had also said that China backed Pakistan on the issue and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang told him he believed "China will stand up for justice on the Kashmir issue".
During his bilateral meeting with China's foreign minister Wang Yi on Monday in Beijing, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar conveyed that the decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir was an internal matter for India.
He said the issue related to changes in a temporary provision of the Constitution of India and was the sole prerogative of the country. Jaishankar noted that the legislative measures were aimed at promoting better governance and socio-economic development and there was no implication for either the external boundaries of India or the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China.
"India was not raising any additional territorial claims. The Chinese concerns in this regard were therefore misplaced," he said. Jaishankar told Wang that these changes had no bearing on Pakistan as it was an internal matter.
"It did not impact the LoC. Where India Pakistan relations are concerned, Chinese side should base its assessment on realities. India, as a responsible power, had shown restraint in face of provocative Pakistani rhetoric and actions. India has always stood for normalisation of the ties in an atmosphere free of terror," he said.
After India revoked Jammu and Kashmir's special status on 5 August and announced the bifurcation of the State into two Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, Pakistan announced that it will approach the UN Security Council against New Delhi's decision.
India has categorically told the international community that its move to scrap Article 370 of the Constitution removing the special status to Jammu and Kashmir was an internal matter and has also advised Pakistan to "accept the reality".