Home South Asia India Hold meeting in Srinagar if ‘all is well’: Qureshi challenges Modi

Hold meeting in Srinagar if ‘all is well’: Qureshi challenges Modi

“Why there is a curfew, why there is a media blackout, why no one is sending their children to school, why so many restrictions are in place if everything is fine in Kashmir,” Qureshi said while briefing the heads of diplomatic missions at the Foreign Office.

Qureshi

News Desk |

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has challenged India to hold a meeting in occupied Kashmir if ‘all is well’ in the valley after it was deprived of the special status.

While challenging the ‘all is well’ rhetoric, the foreign minister Qureshi has dared the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to lift curfew and hold a meeting in Srinagar.

“Why there is a curfew, why there is a media blackout, why no one is sending their children to school, why so many restrictions are in place if everything is fine in Kashmir,” The Express Tribune quoted Qureshi as saying while briefing the heads of diplomatic missions at the Foreign Office.

The diplomatic corps based in Islamabad was invited for the second time since India stripped occupied Kashmir of its special status by revoking Article 370. The foreign minister told diplomats that the situation in Kashmir was contrary to the Indian claims, adding that the information gathered by Pakistan has revealed that it was ‘very grave’ in the scenic region.

This means that there will be elections in Jammu and Kashmir but the legislature will be under the President of India who will be represented by a lieutenant governor.

“If everyone is happy with the Indian government’s decision, then why not Modi visits Srinagar and holds official meetings there,” the foreign minister asked, adding the fact India had imposed a clampdown and sent tens of thousands of troops to the disputed territory was enough to prove that people of Kashmir had totally rejected New Delhi’s decision.

Qureshi challenged the Indian narrative that there was no major protest happened in the wake of abrogation of Article 370. In addition, he said that at least half a dozen petitions had already been filed before the Indian Supreme Court challenging the decision of Indian government. This indicates that even people within India are opposing Modi government’s decision on Kashmir.

He briefed the diplomats about Pakistan’s perspective on the brewing tensions with India, the paper said, adding that he told them that Pakistan always wanted to resolve Kashmir and other issues with India through peaceful dialogue. But, he regretted, New Delhi has repeatedly rebuffed Pakistan’s peace overtures. He said war was not an option, adding any nuclear conflagration would be suicidal.

Was Ex-Indian Finance Minister Arrested after he Spoke Against Indian Decision?

The arrest of the former Indian finance minister Palaniappan Chidambaram in connection with a corruption and money laundering case has triggered a debate in political & media circles if it was a political move as he recently spoke against the revocation of Article 370 of Indian Constitution.

Congress party has accused Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government of targeting opposition leaders and termed the action of probe agencies against Chidambaram as “political vendetta”. Since the arrest, the political and media circles have speculated that it was a result of his speeches in the parliament and media talks against the government decision regarding Kashmir.

Read more: Qureshi challenges Modi: Test your popularity with a referendum in Kashmir

The rare action against Chidambaram, who remained finance minister between 2004-2008 and again between 2012-2014, has drawn opposition accusations that the authorities are pursuing a political witch-hunt as the arrest was made in years-old case right after Chidambaram remarked in parliament that the government’s decision on Kashmir was more than sad and “in the constitutional history of India, this [August 5] will be a black day.”

“Momentarily, you think you have scored a victory. Drum beats that you’ll hear on the streets will certainly encourage you to believe that you have scored a signal victory or as one of the honorable members said that you have corrected a so-called injustice of history,” Chidambaram said while speaking in the parliament on August 5. “You are wrong and history will prove you to be wrong and future generations will realize what a great mistake this house is making today,” he said.

While addressing media in Parliament House on the removal of Article 370, Chidambaram said that what the government has done was unprecedented, adding that “even in our wildest dreams we did not think that they would take such a catastrophic step.”

While explaining what mistake the Indian government had made, he said: “they have not simply got rid of Article 370. They have dismembered the state of Jammu & Kashmir.”

“The idea of India as union of states is in great danger” as the government could dismember every state and break it up, he said, adding that “this is the beginning of the disintegration of India if this government continue on this path.”

What did India do?

On August 5, India’s government revoked the special status of occupied Kashmir and rushed through a presidential decree in a bid to fully integrate its only Muslim-majority region with the rest of the country, hours after imposing a major security clampdown in the region.

Indian Home Minister Amit Shah had introduced the presidential order and the bill in Parliament and through the order, India revoked Article 370 of the Indian Constitution thereby ending the special autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir.

The current presidential order replaces the legislative assembly in Article 370 with the governor of Jammu and Kashmir thereby using the governor’s consent as the consent of the state.

Since the law was passed, India turned Kashmir into a giant prison camp as seven million Kashmiris were barricaded in their homes, internet connections were cut and their phones went dead. The curfew and communication lockdown still continue.

Reportedly, the bill further bifurcates the Indian occupied State of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories namely; the Union Territory of J&K and the Union Territory of Ladakh. While the Union Territory of J&K will have a legislature, the Union Territory of Ladakh will be without a legislature.

This means that there will be elections in Jammu and Kashmir but the legislature will be under the President of India who will be represented by a lieutenant governor.

Article 370

As originally envisaged, Article 370 formed the basis of Kashmir’s special and autonomous status and the article has governed the accession and relationship of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir with India under the Indian Constitution. After it was revoked, the pro-India political leaders Mehbooba Mufti, Farooq Abdullah, and others said that revoking Article 370 means a break in the relationship between the state and India.

Read more: Modi is the greatest obstacle in Pak-India dialogue: FM Qureshi

Under the article, the president of India can revoke 370 only on advice from the constituent assembly of Jammu and Kashmir. The constituent assembly was dissolved in 1957 and replaced by the legislative assembly of Jammu and Kashmir, which was dismissed last year after the BJP-PDP [Peoples Democratic Party] alliance.

The current presidential order replaces the legislative assembly in Article 370 with the governor of Jammu and Kashmir thereby using the governor’s consent as the consent of the state.

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