Pakistan PM Imran Khan Repeats Jammu And Kashmir Rhetoric
(This was originally posted in Republic World by Koushik Narayanan)
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan went back to parroting the Jammu & Kashmir rhetoric and claimed that his country would resume talks with India if Article 370 was restored. In a live question and answers session with the public, Pakistan PM Imran Khan reportedly said that the country’s ties with India could not be mended without the restoration of Article 370 as it would amount to ‘turning the back’ on Kashmiris. Imran Khan harked back to his rhetorical narrative by asserting that his government will not talk to India unless it reverses the steps taken on August 5, 2019, including the abrogation of Article 370 and revocation of statehood.
Thaw in bilateral ties between India and Pakistan
During his maiden visit to Sri Lanka on February 24, Pakistan PM Imran Khan called for resolving differences with India via dialogue. Claiming that he had unsuccessfully attempted to diffuse tensions in the bilateral relationship after assuming power in 2018, he emphasised the need to improve trading ties with India. In a joint statement issued a day later, the Director Generals of Military Operations of both countries agreed to strictly observe all agreements and stop firing from February 25.
Softening the brash tone further, Imran Khan told participants at the recently held Islamabad Security Dialogue that India can benefit from more trade and connectivity to Central Asia if both nations resolve their issues. Speaking at the same event, Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa maintained that it is time to bury the past and move forward. However, there was a setback when the Pakistan Cabinet rejected the proposal of the Economic Coordination Committee to import sugar, cotton and yarn from India.
Article 370 abrogation & formation of PAGD
A Presidential notification combined with requisite legislation passed by both the House of Parliament in August 2019 led to Article 370 becoming virtually redundant. This implied that the special status of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) was scrapped. Furthermore, the region was bifurcated into the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh. Thereafter, restrictions on the movement of people and communication were imposed in the state, which was gradually lifted over the months.
After leaders such as former Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti were released post months of detention, 6 political parties joined hands to form the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration in August 2020. The principle aim of this alliance is to strive for the restoration of Articles 370 and 35A and statehood. Subsequently, PAGD emerged as the single-largest party in the first-ever District Development Council polls in J&K by bagging 110 seats.