Pakistan’s response to the abrogation of Article 370 has completely exposed its agenda of religious secessionism in India. Pakistan has in ugly haste expelled Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria, suspended bilateral trade, stopped the Samjhauta Express and decided not to send its High Commissioner-designate to New Delhi. It will observe August 15 as a ‘black day’ and its own Independence Day on August 14 as a day of solidarity with the Kashmiris. All these decisions were taken by Pakistan’s National Security Council chaired by PM Imran Khan and attended by his top cabinet colleagues and the real rulers, the army chief, Gen Qamar Bajwa, and the head of ISI, Lt Gen Faiz Hameed. Earlier, Khan talked about more Pulwamas, which could lead to a conventional war.
The US State Department spokesperson, Morgan Ortagus, has very clearly spelt out the fact about the reorganisation of J&K, saying that it is ‘strictly an internal matter’. Yet, Pakistan has chosen to vitiate the atmosphere, threatening to take the issue to the UN Security Council, irresponsibly talking about a war. India has only reorganised a state of the Indian Union and dropped a controversial clause that many believed highlighted the separateness of one state over the religion of the majority of its inhabitants. Whereas, Pakistan had ceded a portion of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) to China way back in 1963, without any international, bilateral or domestic consultations. In 2010, the late Selig Harrison had written an article in New York Times, claiming that Pakistan has virtually handed over control of Gilgit-Baltistan to China and that PoK has about 7,000-11,000 Chinese troops. This is Pakistan’s track record, yet it talks of war when India makes administrative changes in one of its states.
It is clear that with these actions, Pakistan is addressing Islamist secessionists in the Valley and anti-India terror groups and is desperately trying to keep their morale high. But the war against terror will continue till Pakistan stops funding, arming and nurturing terrorists. Downgrading of diplomatic ties or the flip-flop on the use of airspace will not obviously deter Indian national policy. In fact, this Pakistani reaction only legitimises India’s concerns of Pak-sponsored terrorism.