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Web Desk
May 11, 2021

Abbasi supports PM's stance to not hold talks with India till it reverses decision on Kashmir

Web Desk
Tue, May 11, 2021
Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) secretary-general and PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. — File photo

Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) secretary-general and PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi voiced support for Prime Minister Imran Khan's stance on not holding talks with India till it revokes the August 5, 2019, decison of scrapping the special status of India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

The former prime minister, speaking in Geo News' programme "Capital Talk", said "a few days ago Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had said Article 370 is not our problem".

"But today, the prime minister said that we would not negotiate with India till it reverses its decision to scrap Article 370.

"I support the stand taken by Imran Khan on Kashmir today," the PML-N leader said.

PM Imran Khan made the statement during a live Q and A session with the nation.

However, he said the incumbent officials have made the Kashmir issue controversial, as the government makes a U-turn on their statements every other day.

The premier, during the session earlier in the day, had addressed concerns by Kashmiris of Pakistan returning to the negotiating table with India.

He said that unless and until New Delhi reverses its August 5 decision of scrapping Article 370, the government of Pakistan would not hold any dialogue with it.

PML-N flays govt over FM's Article 370 statement

Two days back, the PML-N had lashed out at the government over what it  termed a "historic U-turn" on its stance relating to India's Article 370 move.

"In my opinion, Article 370 does not hold [the same level of] importance," the foreign minister had said during a private interview, a few days ago. "[What is of importance is] Article 35-A. In my opinion, the important part of their constitution of Article 35-A."

The foreign minister had then said that India was using Article 35-A to bring about demographic changes in occupied Kashmir.

When asked whether India had given some assurances to Pakistan on whether it wants to proceed with talks, the foreign minister replied:

"See, [Article] 370 is their internal problem. The people of occupied Kashmir complain [to the Indian government] that you had made some promises to us but have ended up eliminating our identity. So, you see, these are their own frustrations and the matter is also pending before the Supreme Court and the people [of occupied Kashmir] have challenged it as well."

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's spokesperson Mohammad Zubair was not happy over the minister's comments.

"Is this a historic U-turn. FM Shah Mahmood says Pakistan has no issue with India’s decision to do away with article 370. Shah Mahmood says this is India’s internal matter. This means Pakistan has agreed to give up its historical stance that Kashmir is a disputed territory," he tweeted.

The former Sindh governor explained that by revoking Article 370, India had made occupied Kashmir a part of its Union Territory, wondering that if Pakistan accepts it as such, then what happened to its decades-old stance.

What are Articles 370 and 35A?

Article 370 of the Indian Constitution is a "temporary provision" which grants special autonomous status to occupied Kashmir. All the provisions of the constitution which are applicable to other states are not applicable to occupied Kashmir.

According to this article, except for defence, foreign affairs, finance and communications, the Indian Parliament needs the state government's concurrence for applying all other laws. The residents of occupied Kashmir, therefore, live under a separate set of laws as compared to Indian citizens elsewhere in the country, including those related to citizenship, ownership of property, and fundamental rights.

Article 35A which stems from Article 370 was introduced through a Presidential Order in 1954. This article empowers the legislature of occupied Kashmir to define the state’s permanent residents and their special rights and privileges.

Under Article 35A, Indian citizens from other states cannot purchase land or property in occupied Kashmir.