Pakistan on Monday condemned and rejected the Indian government revoking Article 370 of the Constitution which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and vowed to exercise "all possible options" to counter India's "illegal" and "unilateral" step.
Home Minister Amit Shah announced the decision in the Rajya Sabha under which the Indian government revoked Article 370 which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and proposed that the state be bifurcated into two union territories, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. The decision to take away Jammu and Kashmir's special status and treat it like any other state in the country is aimed at the ending the decades old separatist movement.
Reacting sharply to the Indian government's announcement, Prime Minister Imran Khan termed the move to revoke Article 370 as "illegal" and said it will "further deteriorate" relations between the nuclear-capable neighbours. Pakistan Foreign Office summoned Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria and conveyed a "strong demarche on the announcements made and actions taken" by the Government of India over Jammu and Kashmir. "The Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood conveyed Pakistan's unequivocal rejection of these illegal actions as they are in breach of international law and several UN Security Council resolutions," the FO said in a statement.
Earlier, the Foreign Office 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 said. Pakistan strongly condemns and rejects the announcements made by the Indian Government regarding Jammu and Kashmir, it said. "As the party to this international dispute, Pakistan will exercise all possible options to counter the illegal steps," the FO said.
Pakistan reaffirms its abiding commitment to the Kashmir cause and its political, diplomatic and moral support to the people of Jammu and Kashmir for realisation of their inalienable right to self-determination, the statement said. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, now on a visit to Saudi Arabia for Haj pilgrimage, 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. The situation in Kashmir was more serious than before, Qureshi said. "We will consult our legal experts...," he said.
Qureshi said that India by changing status of Kashmir violated its commitment made in the United Nations on the Kashmir issue. Talking to a private news channel, 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. "There are several resolutions of the United Nations Security Council on this and they have accepted this as a disputed territory… Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee had accepted this as a disputed territory," he said.
The foreign minister stressed that Pakistan would continue to support the Kashmiri people and history would prove India's decision wrong. Meanwhile, Pakistan President Arif Alvi has 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. Separately, Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa will hold a meeting of the Corps Commanders and discuss the security situation, state-run Pakistan Television reported.
India's move on Jammu and Kashmir 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. 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 condemned the move. "President must immediately summon Joint session of Parliament in wake of Indian aggression" in Kashmir, he tweeted.
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. Pakistan on Sunday 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.