“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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