Effort to change status of held Kashmir

Daily Times

EDITORIAL

Effort to change status of held Kashmir

AUGUST 1, 2019

On the one hand India has shown utter disregard to ceasefire agreements along the Line of Control (LoC) and, on the other, it is going to deploy another 10,000 troops in Indian-held Kashmir, the occupied territory under a continuous military shadow for decades. The Foreign Office has duly expressed its concerns regarding New Delhi’s plan to change the constitutional status of the disputed territory by carrying out delimitation. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has rightly reminded the neighbouring state that it is “gradually eroding” the “biggest CBM (confidence building measure)” between the two countries through continued violation of the ceasefire agreement on the LoC. The continued increase in cross-LoC shooting and the military build-up by India only expose Delhi’s tactics of bullying neighbours by using muscle and suppressing any voice seeking the implementation of the UN resolutions on Kashmir. In the last two days in Katha Chogalli village in Neelum Vally, a minor boy was killed and 11 people were injured by Indian shelling. In addition to the local population, the administration also had to evacuate 50 Chinese nationals to Muzaffarabad, who were working on a dam project along the confluence of Neelum and Jhelum rivers. This way, a third party can also now testify about the truth of the shelling across the LoC.

The Foreign Office summoned the Indian deputy high commissioner, as expected, to protest the unprovoked ceasefire violations. “The Indian occupation forces along the LoC and Working Boundary have continuously been targeting civilian populated areas with heavy mortars and automatic weapons, which still continues. This unprecedented escalation in ceasefire violations by India is continuing from the year 2017 when the Indian forces committed 1,970 ceasefire violations,” says a handout issued by the Foreign Office.

The recent escalation in Indian shelling is a failed bid to water down the diplomatic efforts of Prime Minister Imran Khan in his recent tour to the US. Time and again, India has rejected third party intervention in the issue. Though the US president offered to mediate or arbitrate between India and Pakistan on the issue of Kashmir, India has rejected it with its usual mantra that no outside interference is acceptable to it. Now, it has resorted to renewing the shelling spree so that the world’s attention is not focused on its efforts to change the status of the occupied territory. Pakistan must use all of its channels to resist any move to revoke the constitutional status of held Kashmir. Article 370 of the Indian Constitution gives special status to occupied Kashmir. This status must be toggled as per the wishes of Kashmiris only. *