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On the Brink of War? Pakistani Army Vows To Support ‘Kashmir Population’ Against India

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On the Brink of War? Pakistani Army Vows To Support 'Kashmir Population' Against India

Indian soldiers on the street in Srinagar, circa August 6, 2019. Click to see full-size image

Tensions between Pakistan and India have been developing, since on August 5th India revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, in a unilateral move.

On August 6th, the Pakistan Army Corps Commanders Conference sent a message to India over the Kashmir dispute.

On the Brink of War? Pakistani Army Vows To Support 'Kashmir Population' Against India

Image by Deutsche Welle. Click to see full-size

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa reaffirmed Pakistan’s support of the population in Kashmir and said that the country was prepared to go to “any extent to fulfill its obligations.”

According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), General Bajwa presided over the conference at the General Headquarters and there was only one point on the agenda – the “Indian-occupied Kashmir.”

The forum fully supported the government’s rejection of Indian actions regarding Kashmir. Pakistan never recognised the sham Indian efforts to legalise its occupation of Jammu & Kashmir through article 370 or 35-A link ago; efforts which have now been revoked by India itself,” the ISPR statement read.

“Pakistan Army firmly stands by the Kashmiris in their just struggle to the very end. We are prepared and shall go to any extent to fulfill our obligations in this regard,” the ISPR quoted General Bajwa as saying.

Local media in Pakistan reportedly claimed that it was planning to close its airspace to all Indian flights as the tensions escalate.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said that Pakistan would never let India annex Kashmir and would go to any lengths to counter the illegal constitutional steps taken there.

He gave a policy statement in the joint session of parliament; he said the revocation of articles 370 and 35A by the Indian government would intensify the freedom struggle. He said all heads of states would be apprised of the issue besides sensitizing the international media to the human rights violations in the Indian Held Kashmir (IHK).

He said that if India does try to suppress the Kashmiris, there would be a reaction against them and Pakistan would be blamed.

Khan said the two nuclear states could not afford war but if India attempted any misadventure, it would get a befitting response. “We will fight until last drop of our blood like Tipu Sultan.”

He said that in the case of war there would be no victor.

“Is the world prepared for this? We appeal to the world that a country is violating laws and there will be serious consequences if the world does not intervene,” he said.

Imran recalled that there was no loss of lives when Indian jets crossed the Line of Control (LoC). “Had there been any causality on our side on February 26, our PAF jets would also have locked targets on their side too causing causalities.

“After India’s February 26 misadventure, we had a meeting at 3am where the army and air chiefs were also present and it was decided that India would be given a token response,” he continued.

Khan said that he spoke to US President Donald Trump on the Kashmir issue when he visited the US in July.

“During my meeting with the US President Trump, I sought his mediation for resolution of Kashmir issue, as it had made the people of the region hostage for decades, but the Modi government further worsened the situation. Even in their domestic politics, the BJP government has cornered the opposition parties and tarnished India’s image of being a secular state,” Imran said.

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry has also said it “strongly condemns” India’s decision and “will exercise all possible options to counter the illegal steps.” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has also taken the issue to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, to win over their backing for Islamabad’s stance.

Meanwhile, pro-India banners appeared in Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital.

On the Brink of War? Pakistani Army Vows To Support 'Kashmir Population' Against India

Click to see full-size image

The police registered a case against unknown persons after taking down the banners which carried a message of Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut. The caption on the top read: Maha-Bharat A Step Forward.

This translates to, “Today we took Jammu and Kashmir, tomorrow we will take Balochistan and PoK. I am sure Prime Minister Modi will make the dream of undivided India come true.”

On the Indian side, not much has been undertaken since the move was made, Kashmir is under a curfew and a sort of state of emergency, with soldiers patrolling the streets in Kashmir’s capital – Srinagar. Associated Press reported, citing anonymous sources, that there were sporadic protests despite the curfew and several people were admitted to hospital with gunshot wounds. It could be fearmongering, but Pakistani officials claim that India would cleanse the region of Muslims by suppression and other actions, which is quite a serious accusation.

China, too, expressed a position on the situation, since the Indian government announced the region of Ladakh as Union Territory. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that China opposed this move as it was encroaching on Chinese territory.

“China is always opposed to India’s inclusion of the Chinese territory in the western sector of the China-India boundary into its administrative jurisdiction. This firm and consistent position remains unchanged. Recently India has continued to undermine China’s territorial sovereignty by unilaterally changing its domestic law. Such practice is unacceptable and will not come into force. We urge India to exercise prudence in words and deeds concerning the boundary question, strictly abide by relevant agreements concluded between the two sides and avoid taking any move that may further complicate the boundary question.”

On the Jammu and Kashmir issue, Chunying said that China was seriously concerned regarding the situation and urged Pakistan and India to “exercise restraint and act prudently.”

“China is seriously concerned about the current situation in Jammu Kashmir. China’s position on the Kashmir issue is clear and consistent. It is also an international consensus that the Kashmir issue is an issue left from the past between India and Pakistan. The relevant sides need to exercise restraint and act prudently. In particular, they should refrain from taking actions that will unilaterally change the status quo and escalate tensions. We call on both India and Pakistan to peacefully resolve the relevant disputes through dialogue and consultation and safeguard peace and stability in the region.”

And China’s concerns are quite justified, India’s move is not specifically unprecedented since Israel did a similar move with the Golan Heights and the US recognized it as Israeli territory, but that took years.

There is a grorwing possibility of a local-scale conflict, which would unlikely turn “nuclear.” US President Donald Trump in late July offered to mediate the conflict, but India rejected his call. That is mostly due to Trump showing “affection” towards Khan on several occasions in the past year. Regardless, his offer is ample proof that a large-scale conflict between two of the most heavily armed countries on the globe would be an unwanted development.

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