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Friday, August 9, 2019

Pakistani army calls Articles 370, 35-A a sham

Pakistani army calls Articles 370, 35-A a sham

New Delhi: As Islamabad continues to protest the Indian Parliament’s decision, by a two-thirds majority, to bifurcate Jammu & Kashmir into two Union Territories, Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh, and scrap Articles 370 and35A of the Constitution that give the state special status and its permanent residents special priviliges, it emerges that the Pakistan Army publicy termed the two articles as a “sham” which Rawalpindi never recognised.
According to an August 6 statement by the Inter Services Public Relations (the media unit of the Pakistani armed forces), “Pakistan never recognised the sham Indian efforts to legalise its occupation of Jammu & Kashmir through Article 370 or Article35A decades ago, efforts which have now been revoked by India itself.”
HT has seen a copy of the statement, which was issued after a Corps Commanders Conference at GHQ, Rawalpindi, presided over by General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the chief of the country’s army staff, soon after India’s decisions regarding Jammu &Kashmir.
India’s diplomatic establishment is flummoxed over Pakistan’s unilateral action to suspend relations on various dimensions with India, and talk of escalating the matter to the United Nations if, indeed, as the statement claims, 370 and 35A were never recognised by Islamabad. “If 370 and 35A are sham according to Gen Bajwa, then what is this reaction all about. We see the unilateral action by the Pakistan government as being used to address the domestic audience, which has been weaned on Kashmir myth for decades,” said a senior Indian government official who asked not to be named.
While Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria will wait for Pakistan’s reconsideration of its action downgrading diplomatic ties before returning to India, Islamabad is making deliberate efforts to project that there is tension along the borders.
Interestingly, the Indian military has reported no forward deployment of troops or fighters by Islamabad on both the international border and the Line of Control (LoC), according to government officials.
UN Rejects Pak appeal: Meanwhile, Calling for “maximum restraint” by all sides, UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres on Thursday indicated the Kashmir issue needs to be resolved bilaterally in keeping with the Shimla Agreement of 1972 and by peaceful means in accordance with the UN charter.
The reference to the Shimla Agreement in this context is rare and significant, according to people familiar with these discussions, as it provides the framework for resolving the dispute bilaterally, which is a rebuff in a way to Pakistan’s attempts to seek UN intervention.
“The Secretary-General has been following the situation in Jammu and Kashmir with concern and makes an appeal for maximum restraint,” a spokesperson for Gutteres said in a statement and added that the position of the United Nations on this region is governed by the world body’s Charter and applicable Security Council resolutions.

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