No final decision yet on moving ICJ on Kashmir — Pakistan foreign office 

No final decision yet on moving ICJ on Kashmir — Pakistan foreign office 
In this file photo, judges are seen at the International Court of Justice before the issue of a verdict in the case of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav who was sentenced to death by Pakistan in 2017, in The Hague, Netherlands July 17, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 21 August 2019

No final decision yet on moving ICJ on Kashmir — Pakistan foreign office 

No final decision yet on moving ICJ on Kashmir — Pakistan foreign office 
  • Chairman senate committee on Kashmir says going to ICJ one of several options being considered
  • International law experts advise caution on moving ICJ against India, suggest going to UN General Assembly instead

KARACHI: Pakistan foreign office spokesman Dr. Muhammad Faisal on Wednesday rejected reports that Pakistan had decided to take its dispute with India over Kashmir to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), saying the option was still under consideration and no final decision had been reached so far. 
On Tuesday, Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said in an interview to a private news channel that Islamabad would take the Kashmir dispute with India to the ICJ following the New Delhi’s government’s decision on August 5 to revoke the special status of Kashmir in a bid to fully integrate its only Muslim-majority region with the rest of the country, the most far-reaching move on the troubled Himalayan territory in nearly seven decades.
“No final decision has been taken [with regards to moving the ICJ],” Faisal told reporters after a meeting with the Senate’s standing committee on Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan. “The media will be apprised once a decision is being taken to this regard.”
Sajid Mir, the chairperson of the Senate’s standing committee on Kashmir, told Arab News that Pakistan was considering moving the ICJ as one among several options and no decision on the matter has been made so far. He said the foreign office spokesman had briefed senators during Wednesday’s meeting that several options were under consideration.
“Going to ICJ is one of them, but it’s still under deliberation and no final decision has been taken,” Mir said, adding that Faisal had also apprised senators about the situation in Indian-administered Kashmir.
“Around a million people are under house arrest in Kashmir where the curfew has entered its 16th day,” Mir said. “There are reports that around 4,000 Kashmiri people have been detained by occupation forces due to fear of a strong reaction,” adding that Pakistan would “raise the issue at the [United Nations] Human Rights Council.”
In the run-up to August 5, some political leaders in Kashmir had warned that any attempt to repeal of the constitution’s Article 370 and change Kashmir’s special status could trigger major unrest as it would amount to aggression against the region’s people.
Anticipating unrest, authorities immediately moved to launch a clampdown in the state of Jammu and Kashmir by suspending telephone and Internet services and putting some leaders under house arrest.
The decision to revoke Kashmir’s special status means the revocation of a bar on property purchases by people from outside the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir and also that state government jobs and some college spots will no longer be reserved for state residents.
The Muslim-majority Himalayan region of Kashmir has been at the heart of more than 70 years of animosity, since the partition of the British colony of India into the separate countries of Muslim Pakistan and majority Hindu India.
The scenic mountain region is divided between India, which rules the populous Kashmir Valley and the Hindu-dominated region around Jammu city; Pakistan, which controls a wedge of territory in the west; and China, which holds a thinly populated high-altitude area in the north.
International law experts have urged Pakistan to exercise caution prior to taking a decision to move the ICJ and instead suggest that Pakistan approach the UN General Assembly or a specialized agency of the UN and ask them to refer the matter to the ICJ. Any decision by the ICJ would be an advisory opinion only. 
“Although an Advisory Opinion will not be binding, it will support Pakistan’s position that Kashmir is an international issue and is likely to put pressure on India to act in accordance with the previous resolutions of the UNSC,” international law expert and barrister Taimur Malik said.