“Revocation or Article 370 by the Indian Government; Implications, Challenges and Way Forward”

The Centre for Pakistan and Gulf Studies Islamabad (CPGS) organized a Round Table Conference at Islamabad on 09th August 2019, in the wake of the Indian constitutional abrogation and military aggression in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK).

5th August 2019, India’s ruling right wing nationalist, Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP),launched a calculated assault on the special constitutional status of Indian-Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, bifurcated the State into two ‘Union Territories: first Jammu -Kashmir with a legislature, and second a separate Ladakh but without a legislature.

India undertook the move unilaterally through a Presidential order, bypassing stipulated constitutional procedures. It is aimed at effectively stripping the Kashmiri people of their identity and bringing an end to the legal status of J&K as registered in the UN documentation.
The Hindu hardliner BJP’s intention to revoke Article 370 of the Indian Constitution was enshrined in its election manifesto back in 2014. The initial plan was famously referred to as ‘Mission 44’. The only difference was that previously New Delhi was trying to achieve this controversial act through constitutional means. However, it failed owing to BJP and its ally’s failure to secure 44 out of 87 seats in J&K Legislature, and the subsequent Kashmiri uprising post Burhan Wani’s martyrdom in 2016.

It is no secret that the main intention behind this Indian move is to suppress the Kashmir dispute in the international arena, by changing the demographics within the Kashmir valley, along the lines of what Israel has done in the West Bank, with the Palestinians. Over time, the aim is to convert the Muslim majority into minority. According to Dawn newspaper, the total population of the IOK is 12.5 million with 68 percent Muslims, 28 percent Hindus and less than one percent Buddhists. Whereas, within the state, Muslims make up the majority in Kashmir with 94 percent of population, and in Jammu Hindus have majority with around 63 percent population and Muslims being 33 percent.

Article 370 allowed limited control to the Indian Central Government in Kashmir, but now it can exercise and control all the state affairs, redraw electoral constituencies, and shift the power center to the Hindu-majority area of Jammu. However, the Indian designs will have devastating consequences in the state and further impair the fragile strategic balance of the region.

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SCO Expansion: Exploring Future Scenarios

“Shifting Strategic Landscape of South Asia: The Role of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation”

Pakistan enjoys cordial relations with all members of the SCO (except perhaps India). Geographic contiguity as well as shared cultural and historical bond have added depth and
dimension to the relations;

Pakistan has high stakes in the security, stability and prosperity of the region.Consequently, Pakistan supports the principles, purposes, objective and the activities of the SCO, of which it was an observer even before it became a formal member.

Over the past seventy years, Pakistan has been trying to promote peace in the region and beyond, but its efforts have not been reciprocated by some regional countries, particularly India;

Pakistan and Russia have a long history of bilateral relations, but unfortunately, both nations thus far, have not been able to achieve the full potential of to this relationship. Nonetheless, Pakistan has supported Russia’s membership in the Organization of Islamic
conference (OIC), and Russia is supportive of Pakistan’s membership of the NSG in principle.

There are ample possibilities for great relations between Pakistan and Russia in the future. Pakistan and Russia have a tremendous potential to improve their bilateral relations and lay down a stronger basis of economic and defense cooperation. The SCO provides an additional forum to develop and strengthen the interstate relationship

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Mainstreaming Extremist Religious Organizations in Pakistan: Challenge or Opportunity?

“Mainstreaming Extremist Religious Organizations in Pakistan: Challenge or Opportunity?”

The event is being organized in light of a series of recent events that have highlighted the attempted entry of known and generally acknowledged extremist religious entities – most prominently the ‘Tehreek-e-Labbaik ya Rasool Allah’, which is now politically known as the ‘Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan’, and Jamaat-ud-Dawa’s ‘Milli Muslim League’ – into the mainstream political arena, and the potential consequences of such moves.

The argument often put forward for the mainstreaming of such entities is to encourage a move away from radical or violent activities by creating space and giving these organizations a voice within regulated power structures. However, what we have witnessed instead are situations where the government finds itself a hostage of the demands and ideas of these parties, most recently at the Faizabad ‘dharna’ that held the twin cities hostage for over 20 days, and resulted in the resignation of a Federal Minister on the basis of pressure from a fringe element, whose position and values become validated by allowing their formal entry into the political arena.

The purpose of the Roundtable will be to discuss the impact of the use of ‘street power’ to threaten state institutions and challenge its jurisdiction/authority, the resultant emboldening of other fringe elements, and the impact on the political, legal and socio-economic aspects of public life at large. We hope to encourage an open, candid and productive discussion, aimed at better understanding and devising possible policy recommendations/ways forward for tackling these challenges.

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