ISLAMABAD: Authorities in Pakistan rejected a unanimous ruling by the Indian Supreme Court on Monday to uphold the 2019 decision by the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to revoke the special status of Indian-controlled Kashmir, describing the judges’ decision as a “travesty of justice.”
In response to more than a dozen petitions challenging the government’s actions, five judges sitting on the court’s constitutional bench said the region’s special status had been a “temporary provision” and removing it was constitutionally valid.
Indian-controlled Kashmir, the only Muslim-majority region in the country, has been at the heart of more than 75 years of hostility with neighboring Pakistan since the partition of India in 1947, when British colonial rule ended. India and Pakistan each rule parts of Kashmir but claim it in full.
The UN Security Council adopted several resolutions in 1948 and the 1950s relating to the dispute, including one calling for a referendum to determine the future of the region.
“Pakistan categorically rejects the judgment announced by the Supreme Court of India,” Pakistani Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani said, noting that the area it relates to is an internationally recognized disputed territory that has remained on the agenda of the Security Council for more than seven decades.
“India has no right to make unilateral decisions on the status of this disputed territory against the will of the Kashmiri people and Pakistan … India cannot abdicate its international obligations on the pretext of domestic legislation and judicial verdict.”
The judicial endorsement of the “unilateral and illegal” actions by Indian authorities in August 2019 to revoke Kashmir’s special status is a “travesty of justice based on distorted historical and legal arguments,” he added.
Pakistani authorities will convene a meeting of all stakeholders and political leaders to decide how best to respond to the development, said Jilani.
“We will write to the United Nations secretary-general, the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) secretary-general, and the European Union Parliament to appraise them of the futility of this decision,” he added.
“We are in the process of interacting with all the stakeholders and we will consider all options after consulting with the relevant stakeholders.”
The dispute over Kashmir sparked two of three wars between India and Pakistan in the years after independence, the first in 1947-48 and the second in 1965. The third, in 1971, was largely related to Bangladesh’s attempts to gain independence from Pakistan.