08/09/2019, 17.43
PAKISTAN – INDIA
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Justice and peace 'deeply concerned' by the cancellation of Jammu and Kashmir’s autonomy

by Shafique Khokhar

For Mgr Arshad, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan, India's move will create "many problems for peace in South Asia" and the world. UN chief urges "maximum restraint". Calls are made to defuse the crisis.

Lahore (AsiaNews) - The National Commission for Justice and Peace-Pakistan (NCJP) has issued a statement expressing “its deep concern over the recent developments in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir.”

Three days ago, Indian authorities cut off much of region, which is disputed by both India and Pakistan, and cancelled its autonomy, even though it is guaranteed by Art 370 of the Indian Constitution. To curb unrest, New Delhi has sent tens of thousands of additional troops to the only Indian state with a Muslim majority.

Under Art 370, Jammu and Kashmir enjoyed a special status in terms of education, land ownership, and work. For the NCJP, the “decision by the Indian Government to revoke Art 370 of the Constitution is simply unacceptable. [. . .] [C]hanging occupied Kashmir's autonomous status [. . .] is a unilateral and illegal move”.

For Mgr Joseph Arshard, archbishop of Islamabad and president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan, "this move can greatly disturb the peace in South Asia" and the world.

In Pakistan, although the government said that it does not want another war with India, the military has not accepted the fait accompli and will remain vigilant.

So far, the situation in Indian Kashmir has remained calm, experts say. However, hundreds of people have bee detained, a curfew is in place in many places, communications have been cut off, and the Indian military has increased its already massive presence.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was worried about the restrictions imposed by India on Jammu-Kashmir, and urged the two countries to show “maximum restraint”.

NCJP national director Fr Emmanuel Yousaf (Mani) said he would like to see the UN mediate between Delhi and Islamabad to defuse the crisis through the Security Council and its Human Rights Council.

China too has an interest in the crisis, since Pakistan is one of its major partners in its New Silk Road project, with a major road running right through Pakistani-controlled Kashmir.

Meanwhile, in many Pakistani cities, rallies are being held against India and in support of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

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