Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s high-stakes meeting with political leaders of Jammu and Kashmir on June 24, Pakistan issued a warning on Saturday, saying that it will oppose any move by India to “divide” or change the demography of Kashmir. In an official statement issued by Pakistan’s foreign office, the country’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that India must refrain from taking any “further illegal steps” in Kashmir after its actions of August 5, 2019.
The statement from Pakistan came on a day when Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited as many as 14 political leaders from Jammu and Kashmir for a high-level meeting in New Delhi next Thursday, which is expected to set the road map for holding assembly elections in the Union territory.
Pakistan, which has a long history of rivalry with India, is determined to oppose the Indian government’s political ambitions in Jammu and Kashmir. Qureshi, the country’s foreign minister, said that Pakistan strongly opposes India’s actions of August 5, 2019, and had spoken at several international conventions, including the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), on the same. True peace in South Asia, he said, can only be peacefully achieved when the Kashmir issue is resolved in accordance with the relevant UNSC resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people.
Pakistan has even apprised the UNSC president and the UN secretary-general over India’s possible moves regarding Kashmir, Shah Mahmood Qureshi said, adding that the country won’t tolerate any potential move by India that seeks to divide and bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir and change the demographic structure of the Union territory.
It is to be noted that relations between India and Pakistan have deteriorated ever since the Narendra Modi-led government abolished Section 370 of the Constitution, thereby ending Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. India also passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, in the parliament, thereby dividing the erstwhile state into two Union territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
For its part, though, India has always maintained that abrogating Section 370 is its internal matter, with which Pakistan ought not to interfere. In international forums, India has highlighted that it is capable of dealing with the dispute involving Kashmir on its own and has, in turn, pressed on Pakistan, pointing out that decent relations with the neighbouring country will only be achieved once Islamabad takes stringent steps to curb the growing menace of terrorism.
(With inputs from PTI)