Masood calls for a strategy to deal with India after political ascendancy of BJP

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ISLAMABAD:  AJK President, Sardar Masood Khan has asked national security experts and policy makers to come up with a strategy to deal with India for peace and security in the region in the wake of Bharatiya Janata Party’s re-election to take up its second stint in the power.

“We need to go back to the drawing board to take note of all the variables and constants that are there and come up with a strategy to safeguard the interest of our country,” the President said while addressing a conference titled “Enduring Rivalry-Post Indian Election Scenario in Occupied Kashmir”.

The conference Organized by Center for Global and Strategic Studies (CGSS) was also addressed by Major General (r) Syed Khalid Amir Jaffery HI (M), President CGSS, former ambassador Abdul Basit, former federal Minister of Law, Justice, Parliamentary Affairs and Human Rights, Ahmer Bilal Soofi and Prof. Dr. Muhammad Khan. 

“There should be a strategy to respond to all these developments that take place in the region in addition to inventorying our own problems at home,” AJK President said. The strategy, he emphasized should aim to make Pakistan secure and defining its policy viz-a-viz India at the same time.

Terming Jammu and Kashmir dispute as the root cause of the tensions and confrontation between India and Pakistan, Khan said our political and diplomatic strategy on Kashmir should hinge on an economically, strategically and politically strong Pakistan. “If Pakistan is not strong, we would lose the struggle for Kashmir,” he cautioned.

Highlighting the agenda of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party viz-a-viz Pakistan, people of Kashmir and the Muslims citizens of India, Masood Khan said Narendra Modi in his recently concluded elections rallies spearheaded anti-Muslim campaign calling Muslims in India subversive, Pakistan as an arch enemy and Kashmiris struggling for freedom as traitors.

The BJP’s 2019 manifesto has also declared intent to abrogate Article 370 and Article 35 A to snatch the symbolic autonomy given to the state, he said. Masood Khan observed that Article 35 A has substance in regard to permanent residence in the state, employment, acquisition of immovable prosperity, settlement and scholarships.  The purpose obviously is to radically alter the demographic composition of the region of its distinct Muslim and Kashmiri character, he pointed out.

Summarising his long speech, Sardar Masood said that in the coming years, he said, the room for bilateral diplomacy on Kashmir will shrink. India would first not agree to bilateral dialogue and when it would for sporadically for fleeting periods, it would use it to blur focus on Kashmir and gain more time for consolidating its rule in Kashmir.

“Kashmir is first and foremost an international issue and therefore it must be kept alive in multilateral forums, world parliaments and civil society organizations and should remain on the multilateral agenda,” he concluded.