Ever since the Modi-led Indian government abrogated Article 370 of its constitution to deprive the people of Occupied Kashmir of their rights, Pakistan has reacted strongly across every possible forum.
The revoked constitutional provisions allowed Kashmiri people special rights to have their own legislative assembly, separate constitution, and flag. Before this change, Kashmir was an independent state under Indian administration (as per the article). Non-Kashmiris were not allowed to marry Kashmiri people, or buy properties there – all to protect the ethnicity of the Kashmiris.
However, Modi, with one presidential decree, has deprived Kashmiris of their right to exist independently. The Hindu extremist Indian government is on the verge of launching the worst ethnic cleansing in the occupied valley to change the demographics of the Muslim-majority state.
What is Pakistan’s Response?
Just like the majority of Kashmiris, Pakistan had never recognized the Article 370. For Pakistan, Kashmir is a disputed territory between the two countries which needs to be settled as per the United Nations’ resolutions.
In the first 72 hours of the constitutional coup in Kashmir, here is what the government of Pakistan has done so far:
Engaging the World Leaders
Pakistan’s immediate response to India’s move on Kashmir was to take the international leadership into confidence and inform them of the possible outcomes if the situation between the two neighbors prevailed.
In his parliament address on Tuesday, Prime Minister Imran Khan said:
“This will be a war that no one will win, and the implications will be global…. I want to make it clear that we will fight this at every forum.”
PM Khan established contact with his counterparts in Malaysia, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. He spoke to Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, engaged with the top officials of the US, China, and Iran as well.
On the diplomatic front, Pakistan approached, International Court of Justice (ICJ), United Nations and Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). As a result, all of the mentioned bodies have condemned India’s move and have demanded the country to take it back.
Announced Full Support for Kashmiris
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Bajwa called an urgent Corps Commanders’ meeting which decided to continue full support for the Kashmir cause. The military leadership weighed in support for the parliament’s rejection of the Indian move and vowed to go to any extent to fulfill its obligations in this regard.
After long deliberation, Pakistan has decided to suspend bilateral trade with India. According to a report, the trade volume between the neighboring countries is around $2.15 billion. The move may hurt India significantly as its total exports to Pakistan are worth $1.8 billion.
Indo-Afghan Link Access Blocked
Since the trade agreement between Pakistan and Afghanistan is bilateral and not trilateral, Pakistan has ruled out any possibility of allowing Afghanistan to use its link routes through Wagah border for transportation of Indian goods.
Prime Minister’s Adviser to Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood was very clear about it. He said:
We have asked Afghanistan for not linking trade access through Wagah border and they agreed to it because the transit trade was a bilateral issue and it was not a trilateral thing to bring any other into it.
Downgrading Diplomatic Ties
Another significant move from Pakistan was to expel Indian High Commissioner, Ajay Bisaria, and recall its envoy from India. It remained unclear whether the consulates will remain functional.
Railway Route Suspended
After partially closing its airspace for Indian flights, Pakistan has now decided to suspend the only train that connected the two countries. The Minister for Railways, Sheikh Rasheed has announced to close Samjhota Express, running bi-weekly, between Pakistan and India.
“We will use its coaches in the especial trains run on Eid-al-Adha,” the minister said.
Take Up the Matter with UN
In a bid to fight the battle at every possible front, the government has also decided to take the matter to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). The UNSC Resolutions allowed Kashmiris to chose their fate and ordered both Pakistan and India to withdraw their forces from the region and let the locals run the administration and make laws. While the Pakistan-administered Azad Kashmir has its autonomous assembly and laws, India is still occupied on the other part of Kashmir valley.
The Situation in IOK
For the third consecutive day, the valley of Kashmir is under complete communication and media blackout. Hundreds of thousands of Indian soldiers are marching across the streets of the valley.
The educational institutions have been shut down until further notice; markets are closed, tourists evacuated, and all the local leadership is in jails or under house-arrest. All this has been done to control the situation in the valley. Only the time will tell how long this forceful integration will last.