Pakistan rejects Indian Supreme Court decision on Jammu, Kashmir status

Pakistan has firmly rejected the Indian Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Article 370, granting special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

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Pakistan’s interim foreign minister, Jalil Abbas Jelani, declared the Supreme Court ruling invalid on Monday, stating that India lacked the authority to unilaterally alter the status of occupied Kashmir.

Interim Foreign Minister Jelani made his comments hours after India’s Supreme Court endorsed the government’s 2019 annexation of the disputed territory. Addressing a news conference in Islamabad on Monday, he said, “Pakistan does not acknowledge the supremacy of the Indian Constitution over Jammu and Kashmir. Any process subservient to the Indian Constitution carries no legal significance.”

Jelani went on to say, “The Indian Supreme Court’s verdict fails to recognize the internationally disputed nature of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. It further fails to cater to the aspirations of the Kashmiri people, who have already rejected India’s illegal and unilateral actions of August 5, 2019. The judgment is yet another manifestation of the pliant judiciary under India’s ruling dispensation.”

Indian police officers take cover during clashes with Kashmiri demonstrators during a protest against the killing of Zakir Rashid Bhat also known as Zakir Musa, the leader of an al Qaeda affiliated militant group in Kashmir, in Srinagar May 24, 2019. (credit: REUTERS)

Emphasizing that Jammu and Kashmir is an internationally recognized dispute, Jelani said it “remains on the agenda of the UN Security Council for over seven decades.”

Earlier that Monday, the Indian Supreme Court upheld the decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special constitutional status (Article 370), a move initiated in 2019 by the government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “Article 370 of the Indian Constitution had conferred upon Jammu and Kashmir exceptional powers and a semi-autonomous status, a decision that was duly approved by the Indian Parliament.

Additionally, the Supreme Court set September 30, 2024, as the deadline for conducting general elections in the region. The chief justice of India, D.Y. Chandrachud, led the five-member special bench. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed great satisfaction with the Supreme Court’s rulings.

Narendra Modi reacts to the ruling

Modi wrote on his X account, “The Court, in its profound wisdom, has fortified the very essence of unity that we, as Indians, hold dear and cherish above all else.”

“The verdict is not just a legal judgment; it is a beacon of hope, a promise of a brighter future, and a testament to our collective resolve to build a stronger, more united India,” the post continued.

Meanwhile, Mehbooba Mufti, former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir and leader of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), labeled the Supreme Court’s ruling a “failure of the ideology of India.” She said in a video message, “I want to tell the people of Jammu and Kashmir not to lose hope. Today’s decision of the Supreme Court is just a stopgap, not a destination. The opponents want us to give up, but we won’t let that happen.”

“The decision also represents the downfall of Mahatma Gandhi’s India, which the people of Jammu and Kashmir accepted while denying Pakistan,” Mufti added.

Protests in the streets of Jammu and Kashmir against the Modi government’s decision escalated into violence. The Modi government has enforced long-term curfews in the region, with hundreds of army personnel deployed. Many among the hundreds of leaders and common people who were detained remain incarcerated.

Pakistan condemned the Modi government’s action as well and announced both a suspension of trade and a reduction in diplomatic ties with India.

The longstanding and complex dispute between Pakistan and India over the Jammu and Kashmir region traces its roots back to the partition of British India in 1947. The matter continues to be a hot spot, fueling sporadic hostilities and tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbors. The Kashmir dispute has led to three major wars between the two countries.

The region is divided between China, which occupies sparsely inhabited high-altitude terrain in the north; Pakistan, which controls a wedge of territory in the west; and India, which governs the heavily populated Kashmir Valley and the Hindu-dominated region of Jammu.

Mushaal Hussein Mullick, an Islamabad-based human rights activist currently serving as a special adviser to the prime minister of Pakistan on human rights and women’s empowerment, told The Media Line: “India is once again demonstrating its disdain for the people of Kashmir. Neither the Indian administration nor the fanatic army nor the judiciary have provided the Kashmiris with justice. The law of the jungle applies in India.”

Mullick is married to a Kashmiri separatist leader, Yasin Malik, the commander of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, who is currently serving a life imprisonment sentence in India. She added that “the ruling of the Indian Supreme Court contradicts both UN resolutions and the Geneva Convention.”

According to Mullick, “India is aggressively turning Jammu and Kashmir, an area with a plurality of Muslims, into a Hindu colony under the pretense of repealing Article 370.”

Additionally, she emphasized the “ongoing abuses of force, arbitrary and illegal detentions, political persecution, travel restrictions, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, and the use of rape as a weapon,” asserting these actions undermine the dignity of residents in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

Rohit Sharma, a prominent New Delhi-based political analyst, challenged Pakistan’s “right to reject” the Indian Supreme Court’s judgment. “This decision is rightly seen as an internal matter of India. Pakistan has no role in it,” Sharma stated to The Media Line.

“The Indian Supreme Court’s affirmation of the decision to revoke the special constitutional status in Jammu and Kashmir is a significant milestone in the country’s quest for unity and equality. The revocation of Article 370 represents a commitment to a more uniform and integrated India,” Sharma added.

Noting that Kashmir has been the subject of dispute between the two nuclear neighbors for about seven decades, Sharma lamented that “unfortunately, whenever both countries show some intentions to resolve this dispute, some unusual incidents take place, which ultimately harm the efforts. It means that there are some hidden powers which do not want to solve the dispute.”

Karachi-based defense and security analyst Adeeb Uz Zaman Safvi, a retired Pakistan Navy captain and US Naval War College alumnus, told The Media Line, “ It is a bitter reality that Pakistan’s rejection means nothing to either India or even to the international community. A strong democratic federal government in Islamabad is necessary to exert pressure on New Delhi for the resolution of the Jammu-Kashmir dispute.”

“While it is true that a robust federal government can potentially enhance a country’s ability to pursue its foreign policy objectives,” asserted Safvi, “the resolution of complex and sensitive issues, such as the Kashmir dispute, requires a nuanced and diplomatic approach.”

According to Safvi, “Efforts to address the Kashmir issue would ideally involve dialogue, diplomacy, and mutual understanding between India and Pakistan, rather than relying solely on exerting pressure.”

Dr. Azeem Khalid, assistant professor of international relations at COMSAT University in Islamabad, told to The Media Line, “The abrogation of Article 370 is a watershed moment in the complex tapestry of South Asian history. This contested decision by the Indian Supreme Court has not only altered the longstanding constitutional arrangement with the region of Jammu and Kashmir but also potentially set the stage for heightened tensions between India and Pakistan, both nuclear-armed states.”

Khalid noted that “the resistance in Kashmir, which has been a simmering cauldron of discontent and aspirations for over a century, is likely to enter a new phase post the abrogation of Article 370.”

“The decision favoring abrogation thus adds another layer to this intricate judicial and political scenario, potentially redefining the future course of the Kashmiri struggle and its impact on regional stability,” Khalid concluded.

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