No matter how ill-conceived New Delhi’s recent move to alter Jammu and Kashmir’s constitutional status earlier this month, it is wholly clear in light of historical, political and legal circumstances informing the situation in Kashmir that Pakistan has no locus in the regard.
As the Narendra Modi government has reiterated numerous times, the issue is an entirely “internal” matter. This was also acknowledged first by Russia, and now by the US — two permanent members of the UN SC.
After India and Pakistan emerged from Partition as separate countries, the latter signed the Standstill Agreement with Maharaja Hari Singh of J&K at the latter’s request. Under this, Pakistan was to make no move to alter J&K’s status. This directly signalled Karachi, then Pakistan’s capital, acknowledging that J&K was outside its jurisdiction. Nothing has happened since then to change this. As such, the announcement on Tuesday that Pakistan had decided “in principle” to go the International Court of Justice on Kashmir is laughable. Besides, the ICJ’s jurisdiction in India’s “internal” matter is non-existent. This places a question mark over the admissibility of Islamabad’s proposed plea. Evidently, Pakistan’s only purpose is anti-India propaganda in order to appease its own citizens and, no less important, to boost the morale of the tiny pro-Pakistan segment in the Valley that has existed since 1947.
The ICJ should have no difficulty seeing through the game even if Islamabad chooses to invoke human rights. If human rights can be invoked by all and sundry, Pakistan should start with other parts of the world where Muslims live, such as China and the Arab region....