Mumbai: In one classic move from India in nullifying Article 370, abrogating Article 35A and bifurcation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories, Pakistan is left smarting, fretting and fuming at the loss of its only candy that has been stolen right under its nose. In one clever diplomatic move India has not only taken away its only plank, but also has blocked all its avenues at all international forums.
Another reason for India taking such a step is the US moves to pull out from its war on terror in Afghanistan, which would mean “jobless” Taliban at our doorsteps. However, what Pakistan needs to keep in mind is the growing struggle for freedom in Balochistan and Sindh province. Not to speak of the total disconnect of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in North-East of Pakistan which is semi-autonomus and has little affiliation with the rest of Pakistan. It is an area which even the British found hard to clamp down during their colonial rule.
Critics argue that more than Pakistan causing any harm to India, it could be well on the throes of disintegration. Moreover, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has already put Pakistan in the Grey list as it finds it having “structural deficiencies” in its anti-money laundering and combating financing of terrorism. India has already been pressing FATF to put Pakistan in the Black list that will have adverse impact on its economy. Already, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is likely to delay a financial bailout package for Pakistan. Any misadventure on the part of Pakistan at this juncture is bound to hit it hard.
By extending the provisions of the constitution and laws to the whole of Jammu and Kashmir, India in one sweep has brought the areas of Gilgit, Baltistan, Azad Kashmir and Aksai Chin coming under Pakistan Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK) under the purview of the Indian constitution. It is this that has not only raised the hackles of the Pakistani’s, but also of the Chinese, as Pakistan has given Aksai Chin area to China, which is essentially Indian territory under illegal occupation of Pakistan and China. Pakistan has given away roughly about 750 to 2,000 Sq Miles of area in North Kashmir and Ladakh (Aksai Chin) to China on March 2, 1963.
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has literally washed his hands off Pakistan pointing finger at the Simla Agreement of July 2,1972 to solve all bilateral issues with India. United Nations Security Council (UNSC) president Joanna Wronecka too poured cold water on Pakistan’s petition by declining to comment on it. With world powers declining to support Pakistan, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) was quick to rub it in by reminding Pakistan to accept the changed reality and stop meddling into other countries internal matters.
What Pakistan has failed to realize that its own third constitution that it adopted on April 14, 1973 has no mention of Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit, Baltistan and Azad Kashmir. The only territories that find mention in the Pakistan constitution are that of Balochistan (which it annexed by force), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh, Islamabad as federal capital, Federally administered tribal areas (in the north), and “such states and territories as are or may be included in Pakistan, whether by accession or otherwise”. What is equally important to note here is that the current Pakistani constitution does not find any mention of minorities (Hindus, Christians and others) or about their rights and privileges.
To make matters worse only 14 princely states of erstwhile British colonial rule of Swat, Khairpur, Phulra, Dir, Bahawalpur, Chitral, Hunza, Nagar, Amb and Umerkot had acceded to Pakistan in 1947. While the princely dominions of Kharan, Las Bela, Makran and Khanate of Kalat of Balochistan were annexed using force. What is interesting to note here is that the First Constitution which took nine years in the making was adopted on “February 29, 1956” (in a Leap Year), came into effect on March 23, 1956, before being abrogated in the 1958 military led coup supported by General Ayub Khan.
As against Pakistan constitution, the Government of India Act, 1935 and India Independence Act, 1947 clearly demarcate the state’s and regions acceding to India which clearly mentioned J&K. The Indian Constitution that came into effect on November 26, 1950 in its First Schedule has Jammu and Kashmir mentioned in the list of State’s in the Indian Union.
Even its argument of UNSC resolution 48 of April 21, 1948 holds no water as India has termed it irrelevant in the present context given the fact that Pakistan has violated its condition of cessation of all hostilities, by going to war with India four times in the past. Moreover, the outdated UNSC resolution had called for Pakistan to withdraw all its regular troops and tribesmen back into its territory from the international borders and vacate from POJK before a plebiscite could be held. The Government of India has consistently maintained that J&K is an inseparable and integral part of India. Moreover, the Simla Agreement signed by Pakistan clearly rules out third party mediation either by the UN or any other country.
Contrary to the provisions of the August 1948 resolution of United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) that stated that Pakistan shall not consolidate territories occupied by it and that its troops would have to be completely withdrawn. Pakistan continues to illegally occupy Gilgit, Baltistan and Azad Kashmir even today. What the revocation of Article 35A and bringing J&K under the Indian constitution has done is that it has now painted Pakistan and China as the occupying force, and puts pressure on Pakistan to handover the occupied territory back to India.
V K Krishna Menon during his address at the UNSC on January 23, 1957 while speaking on the plebiscite issue had argued that the offer not accepted cannot be held for long, if it is not accepted at the time it was made. M C Chagla, Indias representative to the UN on February 5, 1964 had rejected the offer of plebiscite. Furthermore, Prime Minister of India, late Indira Gandhi had on March 31, 1966 at New York had quite quite categorically remarked “any plebiscite today would by definition amount to questioning the integrity of India”.