Pakistan muddies water further

Islamabad: Pakistan said on Sunday that any attempt to scarp Article 35 A of the Indian Constitution, which provides special status to Jammu and Kashmir, is aimed at bringing about demographic changes and claimed that it was a violation of the international law.

India’s Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a bunch of petitions challenging Article 35A’s validity. Article 35A, which was incorporated in the Constitution by a 1954 Presidential Order, accords special rights and privileges to the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir and bars people from outside the state from acquiring any immovable property in the State.

It also denies property rights to a woman who marries a person from outside the State. Pakistan Foreign Office said it understands the Supreme Court of India is due to deliberate shortly on the petitions calling for scrapping of Article 35A of the Constitution. “Pakistan condemns any such attempts as these are clearly aimed at bringing about demographic changes in Jammu and Kashmir,” it said in a statement.

The Foreign Office (FO) said any such move would be a blatant violation of the international law and the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions, which prohibit introducing material changes to the disputed territory. With the hearing on the constitutional validity of Article 35A is likely this week, the Jammu and Kashmir government is yet to decide on its stand. It is the first time that a hearing will be held on the provision when the state is under Governor’s rule.

Advocate General of Jammu and Kashmir D.C. Raina told IANS on Sunday they would discuss the position and finalise the stand in a day or two. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi claimed on Sunday that India is creating “war frenzy.” Addressing the media following a consultative meeting in the wake of the Pulwama attack, Qureshi also said that Pakistan was trying to defuse tensions and has written to the UN, seeking the world body’s intervention.

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