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‘India has lost Kashmir for all practical purposes’

REPORT-2-ENG-17-10-2020-Pak (1)
Dr Moeed Yousuf

Special Assistant to Pakistan Prime Minister (SAPM) on National Security and Strategic Policy Planning, Dr Moeed Yousuf on Friday said that India was stuck in a difficult position in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) and “unable to figure out what to do”.

In his exclusive interaction with APP, Dr Yousuf said that India’s move to abolish the special status of the IIOJK on August 5, 2019 had expectedly backfired and as a result, New Delhi had lost Kashmir for all practical purposes.

“The future of Kashmir dispute is that India will have to hold plebiscite as per the United Nations resolutions to give Kashmiris their just right to self-determination as there is no other workable solution to the issue,” he said.

“There is a list of things [preconditions] that India will have to do … and come to the table and have a conversation so that both the countries can move forward,” he said, adding that the pre-conditions, set by Pakistan, were the benchmark for any dialogue process with India.

Earlier, this week, Dr Yousaf, in an interview to Indian journalist Karan Thapar, spelled out five pre-conditions for the resumption of “meaningful dialogue" with India to resolve all outstanding issues including the Kashmir dispute.

He said that India would have to accept these conditions “if it is serious to hold” talks on Kashmir. “The first question to any Indian proposal [for talks] is that either it is serious or not and if India could fulfil the pre-requisite,” he added.

“We stand on our principled stance on the 73-years old dispute, and no overnight change could be expected in IIOJK. But, we are aggressively countering the narrative that India trying to sell to the world which is not being accepted now.”

He said the sort of pressure India is under and the negative publicity it has received in western media had not happened for many decades and added that the efforts of Pakistan and the Kashmiri diaspora were bearing fruit.

With regard to the new domicile law in IIOJK, the special assistant to the prime minister categorically stated that the Indian move to give domicile to non-Kashmiri residents was illegal under the UN framework.

“If a plebiscite is held tomorrow, none of them will be considered [for voting] and any plebiscite would be carried out on the position, when there were no forced demographic changes in IIOJK. The UN is responsible for ensuring free and fair plebiscite.”

Responding to a question about threats to the national security, Dr Yousuf said that such issues were based on timelines and vary from short-term to long-term scenarios. “If the question is of present (in the short-term), then India and lack of peace in Afghanistan are national security threats to Pakistan,” he said, adding that in the long-run, climate and security, food and energy and water were the issues, he added.

Dr Yousuf said that India had been using Afghan soil against Pakistan but now Pakistan has managed to improve the situation. “India’s main ambition was to undercut Pakistan which we knew and therefore India seeped into Afghan institutions and started initiating hostile activities against us,” he said.

However, he added: “The Afghan leadership has now come to realise that it is only Pakistan that helped get the Intra-Afghan Peace process to its present shape and would assist in its meaningful conclusion.”

He said that India was still conspiring to harm Pakistan’s peace and security and I have given its proofs a day earlier to the Indian journalist Karan Thapar,” he said, referring to his interview with the Indian journalist.

When asked about issue of firing from Afghan side on Pakistani check posts, the SAPM said the matter was raised at relevant forums and all parties, including the US and interlocutors of peace process were apprised.

“Every conflict is bad,” Dr Yousuf said. “Pakistan does not believe in India’s fake two-front-war narrative and has done nothing to increase pressure on her. It is India who wants to impose war on the region to divert global attention from China-India conflict and her mass human rights abuses in IIOJK.”

However, he warned: “But if they tried to test us, then the response will be even bigger than the one demonstrated last year. Pakistan is a responsible state and will never allow any move to jeopardise regional peace and security.”