ISLAMABAD   -   Pakistan has launched a bid for the missing foreign support on the Kashmir issue after New Delhi merged the disputed territory in the Indian union.

There was no automatic support from any country but Prime Minister Imran Khan took the initiative to contact the friendly countries and seek their  support against India’s unilateral action.

Yesterday, the PM spoke to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman regarding India’s action in Kashmir. “During the call, they discussed the development of the situation in the region and efforts exerted towards it,” an official statement said. “The Crown Prince was also briefed by the Pakistani Prime Minister on the latest developments in Kashmir.”

PM Khan reiterated that Pakistan would continue its diplomatic, moral and political support to the just cause of Kashmiri struggle for their right to self-determination, as enshrined in the United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Prime Minister Imran Khan also spoke to British premier Boris Johnson. PM Khan congratulated him on his new role and also discussed the serious situation in Kashmir and agreed on the importance of maintaining dialogue.

On August 6, PM Khan contacted Malaysian PM Mahathir bin Mohamad and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyib Erdogan. They assured support to Pakistan’s stance.

 CHINA SUPPORTS PAK STANCE

 Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing said Jammu and Kashmir was a disputed territory and there were UN Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements between Pakistan and India.

“The international regime and international norms about the issue should be respected,” he said.

The envoy hoped that Pakistan and India will adopt a responsible way for the sake of peace and stability and the people of Kashmir. He said this will be good for the whole region.

About China’s role on the issue at the UN Security Council, the Chinese Ambassador said China was a permanent member of the UNSC, and we have special responsibility for peace and stability.

He said Pakistan and China were standing together in upholding justice and safeguarding the international norms and international laws. He said peace and stability in this region is the stake for all the members of this region.

The Ambassador said Pakistan and China as well as other regional countries had a shared responsibility in maintaining, safeguarding and promoting peace and stability.

Yao Jing said it was more and more important for the international community to respect international regimes and international norms.

He said the United Nations should have been respected. He said international laws should have been followed. “We do not want to see that some countries are doing business according to their own wills,” he added.

 QURESHI HOLDS CONSULTATIVE MEETING AT FO

 Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi chaired an important consultative meeting which reviewed the prevailing critical environment in occupied Kashmir and the situation emerging after the Indian government’s unconstitutional step regarding Kashmir.

Senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood and Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal, attended the meeting.

The meeting decided to intensify the diplomatic efforts to project the Kashmir issue and expose the Indian designs.

Sources said the PM and the FM are likely to visit friendly countries in the coming days in search of the support to press India.

Yesterday, China supported Pakistan’s stance and opposed India’s unilateral decision to change Kashmir’s status.

Meanwhile yesterday, former Pakistani diplomats and experts called for lowering diplomatic ties with India in response to its illegal annexation of Occupied Kashmir and emphasised that Pakistan government should take credible measures to show its seriousness about Kashmir cause.

Speaking at a roundtable discussion at Islamabad Policy Institute on the ‘Abrogation of Article 370: Implications and Policy Options for Pakistan,’ they said India had no right to annex Kashmir.

Pakistan’s two former High Commissioners to India Ambassador Ashraf Jahangir Qazi and Ambassador Abdul Basit, Former Director General Arms Control and Disarmament Branch of Strategic Plans Division Khalid Banuri, Assistant Professor Quaid-e-Azam University Dr Raja Qaiser Ahmed and Altaf Hussain Wani, Chairman Kashmir Institute of International Relations spoke on the occasion.

Ambassador Abdul Basit said that as Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India he had forewarned in 2014 about the likely abrogation of Article 370 by the BJP-led government. He stressed the need to evolve a political consensus on Kashmir policy and suggested downgrading of Pak-India bilateral relations to the Charge de Affairs level.

Expressing reservations about the 7-member body constituted by Prime Minister Imran Khan to formulate response strategy to Indian actions on Kashmir, Basit said it should have fixed time frame.

Ambassador Ashraf Jahangir Qazi warned against having unrealistic expectations of support from China and US. He cautioned that Washington is likely to side with India on this issue. “The future of Kashmir now depends upon the resistance by Kashmiris,” he added. He worried that Indians can resort to any means to control Kashmir while US economic pressure through FATF would constrain Pakistan’s options against India. 

Former Strategic Plans Division official Khalid Banuri advised that International Court of Justice’s advisory opinion should be sought through United Nations General Assembly. He maintained that Pakistan, at the same time, needed to remain ready to defend itself against possible Indian aggression.

Professor Sajjad Bokhari, Executive Director IPI said the Indian action would destabilise the region and add to the miseries of Kashmiris living in Occupied Valley.

He said New Delhi could ultimately change the demographic character of Jammu and Kashmir in an attempt to alter the fundamental nature of the conflict.

Dr Raja Qaiser said that abrogation of Article 370 was a violation of the Indian constitution and it is unlikely to survive a legal challenge in the Indian Supreme Court. It is also a violation of the 1972 Simla Accord between Pakistan and India and UN Security Council resolutions.

Altaf Hussain Wani shared the sentiments and concerns of the Kashmiri people on this development and said that Kashmiri people will continue their freedom struggle against the Indian occupation but expect Pakistan to increase its support for the cause.

Policy Analyst Syed Mohammed Ali said that Pakistan’s future Kashmir policy must holistically address the concerns of the Kashmiris and Pakistan’s security interests, besides commanding credibility in New Delhi and enjoying acceptability in the international community.