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EDITORIAL: As usual India has vainly been trying to create a fake narrative regarding its illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir. It may be recalled that a joint statement issued in Beijing after a meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Xi Jinping included a Chinese assertion that “the Kashmir issue was a dispute left from history, and should be properly and peacefully resolved based on the UN Charter, relevant UN resolutions and bilateral agreements.

”Alluding to New Delhi August 2019 action to bifurcate the disputed region and declare Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh two Union territories, China also reiterated its opposition to any unilateral actions that complicate the situation. Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman took exception to references to illegally Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir IIOJ&K) as well as China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which passes through that territory, to claim that the region as well as Ladakh “have been, are, and will always remain integral and inalienable parts of India.”

Contentious assertions do not change reality. The reality is that the IIOJ&K issue is a legacy of the unfinished agenda of the Partition. Also that it was India which recognising it as dispute had sought the UN intervention, leading to UN Security Council resolutions that call for a referendum for the settlement of the dispute in accordance with the wishes of Kashmiri people. These facts effectively invalidate the claim that Kashmir is an integral part of India. Responding to his Indian counterpart’s unwarranted and preposterous comments, the Foreign Office spokesman in Islamabad averred that “the irrefutable fact remains that India is an occupation force in IIOJ&K in clear violation of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.” And that the unilateral actions of August 5, 2019, aimed at changing the internationally recognised disputed status of IIOJ&K and to alter its demographic structure have been rejected by the Kashmiris and Pakistan. More importantly, while weighing in on the issue a few days ago, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the UN still regards Jammu and Kashmir as a disputed territory and that the dispute needs to be resolved in accordance with UN resolutions. To further affirm UN’s commitment he noted that the UN has a peacekeeping operation there. There could not be a better proof of the disputed status of IIOJ&K than the UN chief’s word on it.

Even Congress leader Rahul Gandhi lambasted, in a Lok Sabha speech, Narendra Modi government’s policy towards IIOJ&K, saying it made “huge strategic mistakes in Jammu and Kashmir and in the country’s foreign policy, bringing China [which is actively pushing its territorial claims over Ladakh] and Pakistan together.” The integral part refrain is not going to help New Delhi stop the Kashmiri people from fighting for freedom from Indian rule. Neither can it prevent Pakistan, as a UN acknowledged party to the dispute, to extend them moral and diplomatic support, nor China from rendering futile the decision to declare Ladakh a Union territory. All this is evidence of Indian rulers’ inability to grasp the reality that has the potential to blow up in their faces.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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