Amb Abdul Basit, Worthy panelists for today Mr Khalid Banuri & Dr Qaiser And participants of today’s discussion
Welcome to Islamabad Policy Institute for a discussion on the latest development on Kashmir where India has revoked the special autonomous status for Occupied Kashmir and divided the region into Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir.
I’m thankful to today’s chair Amb Basit, the panelists, and all the participants for sparing time out of their busy schedules on such a short notice on our request.
IPI is continuing with its tradition of timely debating the emerging issues, undertaking research on those topics, and presenting recommendations to the policy makers. In addition to organizing this discussion today, our researchers yesterday brought out an explainer on the development and they would be producing a report of this event as well.
India’s action of scrapping the autonomous status for Occupied Kashmir on the face of it removes the fig leaf of Kashmir acceding to India. It confirms what Pakistan had long professed that Indian control of Kashmir is an illegal occupation.
However, we need to be mindful of the implications of the move. The Indian action, we believe, would push the region further into instability; add to the miseries of Kashmiris living in Occupied Kashmir; initiate a demographic change in Muslim dominated areas of Occupied Kashmir; and potentially create problems for Pakistan with respect to Azad Kashmir.
As we move ahead, there are several questions as to whether the government failed to anticipate this development. And if it was expecting that to happen, where was our counter-strategy to at least put diplomatic pressure on India to desist it from do so?
Amb Basit and our panelists would further elaborate on these implications.
We at IPI believe that our response should have diplomatic, legal, and political prongs. We must in our message for the outside world focus on the implications of the Indian move for regional peace, if we want the world to get serious about it.
However, at the same time extra emphasis must be placed on the sufferings of Kashmiris because it is only through global attention on their plight that India could be restrained from taking inhuman actions for quelling the uprising in the Valley. We also need to see if Pakistan could do something more to support the Kashmir cause.
Thanks once again!