In a historic development yesterday, Union Home Minister moved a resolution in the Rajya Sabha to cease the operation of Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir. This provision had been a matter of controversy as it provided special status to the state of Jammu & Kashmir. Clause 3 of Article 370 empowers the President to declare the special status granted to the state of Jammu & Kashmir inoperative at any time. The Presidential Order under this provision has rendered Article 370 inoperative in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. Amit Shah brought another resolution for bifurcation of the state of Jammu & Kashmir into separate Union Territories of Ladakh (without legislature) and Jammu & Kashmir (with legislature).
It was very much within India’s territorial sovereignty and integrity to take such a step. Kashmir is an integral part of India and as such the Government of India and the national legislature have an unhindered right to treat it like any other region of India. India had given a temporary special status to Kashmir which has now been revoked. The fact that status was temporary makes it clear that it had to be removed one day. India has also carved out new states out of existing ones in the past and this is what has been done in the case of Kashmir this time around. As such this move not hit by the illegality of any sort. However, it does not come as a surprise that the Pakistani media was not able to fathom this issue. Mainstream Pakistani media outlets have come out criticising this move and reporting it as a murky and suspicious development.
The Express Tribune, a Pakistani daily, carried a report about this development. It reported how Pakistan has protested against this move. It read, “Pakistan on Monday strongly condemned and ‘rejected’ Indian government’s decision to revoke Article 370 and scrap the special status for disputed Kashmir through a presidential decree hours after imposing a major security clampdown in the region.” According to Express Tribune, Pakistan’s Foreign Office released a press statement reading, “The Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir is an internationally recognised disputed territory.”
Pakistani media channel, Geo TV also covered this issue. This media outlet also sought to criticise India over the entire development and reported how Pakistan President Dr Arif Alvi immediately summoned a joint Parliament session after the Indian government “rushed through” a presidential decree to abolish Article 370. This media outlet even used the term “Indian-occupied Kashmir”, a term which has been extensively used by Pakistan in an unsuccessful attempt to create a dispute out of Kashmir and to wrongfully claim that India has illegally occupied Kashmir. Geo TV also stated how the opposition politicians protested against the move. It specifically mentioned the Congress and stated, “the Congress describing the decision” as a “catastrophic step”.
Dawn, a major Pakistani media outlet covered the issue exhaustively and published several reports about it. It stated, “India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stripped Kashmiris of the special autonomy they had for seven decades through a rushed presidential order on Monday.” Dawn also used the imaginary term, “Indian-occupied Kashmir” and described the decision as a “rushed presidential order”. Another Dawn report stated, “Indian Punjab’s Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has termed the revocation of Article 370 as “totally unconstitutional”, criticising the manner in which New Delhi acted.” Dawn quoted him as saying, “The Constitution of India has been rewritten without following any legal provisions. Such a historic decision should not have been taken and pushed through in this arbitrary manner.”
It is, therefore clear that Pakistani media establishment has been acting on this issue as mere propaganda machinery. Instead of reporting how the Pakistani Army unprofessionally and mercilessly rejected the dead bodies of its own troops, the Pakistani media outlets are more interested in poking their noses in India’s internal matters.