India has unilaterally stripped Occupied Kashmir of its semi-autonomous status it held for more than a half century. Fascist Narendra Modi’s presidential decree has revoked article 370 of Indian constitution which guaranteed some autonomy to the state. This revocation means Indians can now buy territory and settle in Indian-Occupied Kashmir (IOK). In a subsequent move, Indian legislature passed ‘Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act 2019’ which revoked article 35A of its constitution and divided IOK into two union territories, namely Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. Now, the state would be under direct control of New Delhi which earlier held sway over defence, foreign affairs and communications. The changes adopted by Indian ultra-nationalist regime are meant to annex illegally occupied Kashmir and to change its demography. However, the Indian abrogation of the said articles not only contravenes its own constitution but also violate various bilateral agreements between the two arch-rivals, the unanimously adopted UNSC resolutions, and above all international law. Furthermore, the unilateral moves have evoked serious response from Pakistan and threatened the regional and global peace by neglecting the Kashmiri freedom and abusing their basic rights.

Much has already been written on the latest development by renowned national and international writers. Nevertheless, this article is an endeavour to explain how the recent annulment of articles 370 and 35A of Indian constitution violates aforementioned bindings. Moreover, while analysing the Indian adventurism, Pakistan’s diplomatic disappointment and consequences of Indian expedition on regional and global strategic environment, the article enlists Pakistan’s possible options in that regard.

First, how the abrogation of the articles 370 and 35A violates Indian constitution is a matter of great importance. It is so because any such amendment in the Indian constitution required consent of Jammu and Kashmir Assembly. However, it is not even taken into consideration by the Hindutva Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) led government. Instead, immediately before the moves were carried out, the Indian government deployed more than 35000 troops in the IOK, not only arrested prominent elected members of the assembly, but also its Premier and other leaders of the freedom movement. Furthermore, Indian unchecked brutality and oppression to subjugate the Kashmiris clearly manifest its aggressive hegemonic ambitions as well as government’s violation of its own constitution that cherish so called values of a democratic and secular state.

Secondly, the annulment of those articles is an abrogation of bilateral agreements, particularly Simla Agreement, which was bilaterally signed on July 2, 1972, wherein both the states agreed upon that “neither side shall unilaterally alter the situation” of any of the problem until its peaceful settlement. Article 2(b) of the Simla Agreement reads:

“……..Pending the final settlement of any of the problem between the two countries, neither side shall unilaterally alter the situation and both shall prevent the organization, assistance or encouragement of any acts detrimental to the maintenance of peaceful and harmonious relations.”

However, Hindutva ideologue led government consciously repealed the Simla Agreement and aggressively manoeuvred to alter the special status of an internationally recognised disputed region, IOK. This led to the breach of UNSC resolutions and international law. As far as UNSC resolutions are concerned, all the resolutions passed by the council recognised Kashmir as a disputed territory. Furthermore, UNSC resolution 47 devised a clear mechanism for the peaceful resolution of conflict which illustrates, “accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India or Pakistan should be decided through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite”. The other resolutions also recognised the right to self-determination of the Kashmiris. It is worthwhile to mention here that it was the Indian government that first took the matter to UNSC and the Council passed the aforementioned resolution. Therefore, the recent Indian endeavour of annexation of the territory breaches the propositions of the Council resolutions.

As regards international law, it can undoubtedly be argued that the self-determination is a legal norm of international law, not to mention, some international law jurists even consider it a customary international law. Also, self-determination is mentioned in the U.N Charter of 1945, though in a limited manner. The other relevant instruments adopted in this regard include: Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Territories and Peoples, the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and last but not the least, General Assembly Resolution 1541. Nevertheless, by neglecting the self-determination to the people of Kashmir Indian ultra-nationalist government has tarnished the established norms, if not the customs, of international law.

Now, I delve into the belligerent enterprise of BJP government and its repercussions on regional and global strategic landscape and options at Pakistan’s disposal. Fascist Modi government is enthusiastic to change the demography of the region, as in post-annexation Kashmir any Indian citizen may buy territory in the region and settle there. Which would lead to settlement on the pattern of Israeli settlements in Gaza. This might make the valley Gaza of the sub-continent. The Kashmiri struggle for freedom will upsurge and intensify, as the Indian unilateral move has already united different factions in Kashmir, and continued Indian suppression and subjugation might force the peaceful freedom fighters to adopt violent means for achieving their fundamental rights. Also, in the days to come Kashmir may witness grotesque and bloody ethnic cleansing and massacre of the Muslims by the Indian forces, in other words Indian state terrorism in the held-Kashmir. The worst case scenario will have immediate implications for Pakistan, for example, influx of refugees from the valley, and a constant threat of Indian incursion into Azad Kashmir. Therefore, Pakistan will have to provide full-fledged support to Kashmiris in their struggle against repressive Indian regime. This may also involve international community. Ultimately, already volatile region might face a nuclear conflagration. Undoubtedly, any such untoward incident would disrupt not only regional but also global peace.

Therefore, international community should intervene at the earliest to preempt any such incident. It is no exaggeration that the immediate response of international community was unsatisfactory. Subsequently, Pakistan has activated its diplomatic channels to change international discourse on the recent state of affairs. It has also downgraded its diplomatic engagement with India, expelled Indian High Commissioner from Islamabad, suspended bilateral trade, and took the matter into UNSC that has called its session for the said purpose on August 16, 2019. Now, it is extreme responsibility of the great powers and other stakeholders to get the issue resolved peacefully.

Premier Imran Khan should know that only internal unity would ensure Pakistan’s victory in this scuffle. Therefore, it is his responsibility to engage opposition parties in a consultative dialogue to better find out policy options at Pakistan’s disposal and chalk out a befitting response to Indian belligerence. All parties conference headed by the Prime Minister would serve the best purpose. Moreover, delegations comprised of members of the both houses of parliament must immediately be sent to different countries, particularly permanent members of UNSC, with the task to change international perception on Kashmir, lobby against the Indian oppression and subjugation of Kashmiris and highlight Indian aggressive and hegemonic ambitions. These delegations should make international community aware of the vulnerability of global peace and prosperity in case the situation persists for a long time.