Article 370 revoked: Roundup of Pakistan media, political and military reactions to Indian govt's move

  • Pakistan on Monday rejected the Indian government’s move to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution

  • Pakistani's foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Pakistan would request and appeal to the United Nations, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, friendly countries and human rights organisations not to remain silent

  • Several prominent personalities of Pakistan including actors and sports celebrities also condemned India's move

On Monday, Pakistan rejected the Indian government’s move to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution — that gave special status to the state Jammu and Kashmir — and its decision to make it a Union Territory (UT), vowing to exercise “all possible options” to counter the “illegal” and “unilateral” step.

Reacting sharply to the home minister Amit Shah's announcement in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, Pakistan Foreign Office in a statement said: “Jammu and Kashmir is an internationally recognised 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 and Kashmir and Pakistan,” it read, adding that Pakistan strongly condemns and rejects the announcements made by the Indian government regarding Jammu and Kashmir.

Further, Pakistan vowed that "as the party to this international dispute, it 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 Jammu and Kashmir for the realisation of their inalienable right to self-determination."

Political reactions in Pakistan

Pakistani's foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Pakistan would request and appeal to the United Nations, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, friendly countries and human rights organisations not to remain silent on this issue. “We intend to firmly highlight our stance in our meetings with the US delegation visiting Pakistan and with the International Community at large,” Qureshi said in a tweet. The situation in Kashmir was more serious than before, he said, adding that Pakistan will consult legal experts.

Qureshi said that by changing the status of Kashmir, India violated its commitment made in the United Nations. Talking to the media, he claimed that the “Indian move to revoke Article 370 has no legal or constitutional justification... India cannot change the public opinion through this move, and it has rather internationalised the Kashmir issue," he said, adding, "There are several resolutions of the United Nations Security Council on this and they have accepted this as a disputed territory Indian prime minister [Atal Bihari] Vajpayee had accepted this as a disputed territory." Qureshi stressed that Pakistan would continue to support the Kashmiri people and history would prove India’s decision wrong.

"The move to abolish Article 35A has left India's so-called democratic face open to the world. Kashmir leadership does not agree with India's decision. India has resurrected the Kashmir problem with its decision," Qureshi said.

Meanwhile, Pakistani president Arif Alvi summoned a joint session of the Parliament on Tuesday to discuss the Indian government’s decision. The joint sitting will review the tense situation in Jammu and Kashmir and along the Line of Control, the local media reported.

The move was also “strongly condemned” by Pakistani politicians, including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president and Opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif who termed it “unacceptable” and an “act of treason” against the United Nations (UN). He also called on the Pakistani leadership to immediately demand an emergency session of the UN Security Council and to consult with China, Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other friendly countries.

Pakistan Peoples Party Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also spoke against the move. “President must immediately summon Joint session of Parliament in wake of Indian aggression” in Kashmir, he tweeted. Whereas, Human rights minister Shireen Mazari termed the Indian move as “completely unacceptable.” “International Court of Justice must be approached immediately as well as moving the UNSC and other international forums including human rights organisation,” she said.

On Sunday, following the heightened troop deployment in the Valley by the Indian Army, Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan had said that India is totally disregarding the international obligations and the country’s “arrogance will only result in heightening the conflict dynamics in the region.” Khan invited the attention of the world leaders and international bodies towards “irresponsible, unilateral and irrational behaviour” of the Indian leadership. On Monday, he termed India’s move to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution as “illegal”. “India’s move will further deteriorate relations between nuclear-capable neighbours,” he said.

Pakistan summons Indian envoy

Pakistan on Sunday had warned India that it is ready to respond to any "misadventure or aggression" by the Indian forces, as the country's top civil and military leadership discussed the sudden spike in tensions with New Delhi during a meeting of the National Security Committee.

On Monday, the government moved a resolution in the Rajya Sabha to repeal Article 370 of the Constitution which accords special status to Jammu and Kashmir. Union minister Amit Shah also moved a bill proposing bifurcation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir division and Ladakh.

Thereafter, Pakistan summoned Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria to the foreign office on Monday and conveyed a "strong demarche on the announcements made and actions taken" by the Government of India over Jammu and Kashmir. The Foreign Office said in a statement that Bisaria was summoned by Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood.

"The foreign secretary conveyed Pakistan's unequivocal rejection of these illegal actions as they are in breach of international law and several UN Security Council resolutions," the statement said. Pakistan's "resolute condemnation of the unlawful actions aimed at further consolidating the illegal occupation" of Jammu and Kashmir was underscored, it added, as reported by PTI.

The foreign secretary also condemned the "preceding pre-meditated steps" such as complete lock-down of Kashmir, deployment of additional troops, the imposition of curfew, the house arrest of Kashmiri leaders and suspension of communication services, among others, it said. Pakistan's consistent opposition to all Indian "attempts to change the demographic structure and final status" of Jammu and Kashmir was emphasized, the statement read.

The foreign secretary called upon India to "halt and reverse its unlawful and destabilizing actions, ensure full compliance with UN Security Council resolutions, and refrain from any further action that could entail serious implications." He reiterated that Pakistan will continue to extend political, diplomatic and moral support to the Kashmiri people's "struggle for the realisation of their inalienable right to self-determination."

On the other hand, special assistant to Imran Khan on information and broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said Pakistan will continue extending "moral, diplomatic and political support" to the Kashmiris. And Pakistan's human rights minister Shireen Mazari termed the Indian move as "completely unacceptable." "International Court of Justice must be approached immediately as well as moving the UNSC and other international forums including human rights organisation," she said.

Maryam Nawaz, Reham Khan hit out at Imran Khan

Meanwhile, Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of erstwhile Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif, slammed Imran Khan alleging that the Pakistani prime minister was "fooled by US President Donald Trump's talks" about meditating in the Kashmir conflict and thus, could not anticipate what India was planning. "You Mr Khan (Imran Khan) failed to anticipate what was coming and were either completely oblivious to the preparations that the Indian government was undertaking or were a part of that," Maryam tweeted.

Referring to Trump's offer to mediate on Kashmir, which was extended during Khan's visit to Washington in July, Maryam said that the people of Pakistan "must be told what commitments were sought" between the two sides. "We the people of Pakistan must be told what commitments were sought by and given to the US by Imran Khan," she said. "Was the offer for mediation a trap that you walked into and gloated over, or you, as usual, had no clue about what was being planned by the enemy?" Maryam added.

Maryam took a critical view of the ruling Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) saying: "Unprecedented situation calls for extraordinary leadership." She added, "At this critical juncture, Pakistan needs exceptional, undisputed & dynamic leadership that has the ability &statesmanship to respond to the aspirations of hundreds of millions of Pakistanis and Kashmiris."

She also announced that she will be holding a rally in Sargodha on Tuesday regarding India's decision to scrap Article 370. "My rally in Sargodha tomorrow is now dedicated to Kashmir," Maryam wrote on Twitter. The rally, Maryam said, "shall not only express solidarity with our Kashmiri brethren" but also address the "revoking of Article 370".

Whereas Imran Khan's ex-wife, Reham, blamed the prime minister's "naivety" during the US trip for letting the matter slip out of Pakistan's hand by allowing "compromises".  "Celebrate the success of the US trip. It was all about compromises and extension approval for all faces present," she tweeted.

She also mocked Khan for believing that the current Indian prime minister was going to take Pakistan in confidence for taking a decision on Kashmir. Before Modi came back to power for a second term in May, Khan had said that it is only him who can solve the Kashmir issue.

Terming Khan a "puppet prime minister" Reham said called it a "huge diplomatic failure" on the Khan-led government's front while labelling the Pakistani prime minister as a 'selected PM' — a term used by his political Opposition.

Reaction of Pakistani media

The Pakistani media also raised strong objections to the Modi government's move to revoke Article 370. From accusing the Indian government of "failing" Kashmir once again, to "robbing" the state of its special status, all major tabloids and broadsheets in Pakistan criticised the move.

One of the most prominent newspapers of the country, The Dawn said, "New Delhi sheds fig leaf, robs held Kashmir of special status". Whereas, The Express Tribune called 5 August as the "darkest day for Kashmir". The front-page headline of the newspaper read: "Darkest Day for Kashmir: Occupation redux".

Another prominent newspaper, Pakistan Today said, "India fails Kashmir again" while Pakistan Observer mentioned, "India revokes occupied Kashmir's special status". The Nation went with the words: "India forcibly revokes IOK special status".

On social media, a Twitter user posted a clip of Pakistani channel wherein the anchor can be heard saying that this move by the Modi goverment is a "slap on the face of Trump"— who had offered to mediate in the Kashmir issue.

Pakistani journalist Taha Siddiqui called out the selective outrage in Pakistan against the situation in Kashmir while ignoring the condition of Balochistan which comes under the Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK). "If the Kashmiris are oppressed by the trend on Twitter, but if any Pakistani speaks of the rights of Pashtuns, Balochs and others, he is a traitor? Wow Pakistanis Wow!" he tweeted.

Pakistani celebs ask UN to interfere

Several prominent personalities of Pakistan including actors and sports celebrities also condemned India's move and urged international organisations such as the United Nations and UNHRC to in intervene to "help the Kashmiri people".

Former Pakistan cricket team captain Shahid Afridi even called upon Trump to mediate in the whole issue.

Actress Mahira Khan called it a grave situation and vowed to stand with the people of Kashmir as she tweeted with the hashtag, 'Kashmir Bleeds':

Meanwhile, the United Nations and the United States have urged both India and Pakistan to exercise restraint and maintain peace and stability in the region. Pakistan is likely to raise the issue at all possible fora, including at the forthcoming session of the UN General Assembly in September. On the other hand, Modi will travel to the US for the UN General Assembly session and address the session on 28 September. He will also meet Trump on the sidelines of the G7 Summit in France later in August.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Aug 06, 2019 21:05:39 IST