Millennium Post

Agitated Pak

As the unprecedented lockdown continues in Jammu and Kashmir with security personnel designated in the region to check any aggression, public demonstrations in Pakistan came to surface over the abrogation of Article 370. Pakistan was quick to summon a National Security Committee meeting chaired by its prime minister in Islamabad which took some immediate decisions to display their dissent over Indian actions. Not considering it an internal matter of India, Pakistan announced a downscaling of diplomatic ties with India. Suspending the bilateral trade, shutting a corridor of its airspace and expelling the Indian High Commissioner, Pakistan's aggression grew following a neat clearance from Indian Parliament over the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories. In fact, to put their point out on the global scale, Pakistan has vowed to take the matter to the United Nations Security Council for a possible intervention into the situation even as India maintained the abrogation and resulting bifurcation to be an internal matter. Suspending the diplomatic route and calling for international attention has been the general retaliation, however, there is a constant threat of infiltrations by terror outfits supported by Pakistan as under-the-cover measures in wake of the grand upset impinged upon it. As per Indian intelligence reports, threats of infiltrations loom large and it is to this length that security forces are deployed in order to counter any misadventures by Pakistan and terror outfits. The UK and US took cognisance of Pakistan's aggression, urging it to exercise restraint while UAE and Maldives came out in support of the Indian move. For Pakistan, making a move was inevitable since they consider themselves party to anything regarding Kashmir but New Delhi abstained from responding over downgraded bilateral relation between the neighbouring countries. There is nothing in the fray for India to say anyway since there is no ground for Pakistan to argue. Pakistan realises it well that the separatist sentiment which, more often than not, had caused a recurring disturbance in the Valley will now be diminished owing to India's decision and that is indeed a pain point for it. The pro-Pakistan lobby will cease to exist and with tricolour waving high in the Valley, Pakistan's longstanding conflict with India over Kashmir will receive a significant setback. It must also worry Pakistan that the insurgency and militant-training through terror outfits that was orchestrated across the border would be hampered once situation normalises in Kashmir and India takes complete control of the region. India's firm stride into the Valley is obviously threatening for Pakistan which was particularly concerned following the Indian Parliament's clearance of the bill. In fact, so concerned that they had to call an emergency meeting to take note of the developments and plan their response–a response so not needed. But Pakistan's step to downgrade bilateral trade is not something that will hurt Indian interests. Owing to very little trade between the countries, there is practically nothing to lose over Pakistan's decision. Some impact will be endured on cross-LoC trade in Kashmir which the Indian government can compensate now that it has full control over the region. It is a tough spot for Pakistan now that they know Indian grip over Kashmir has grown and perhaps this is the reason why it is pressing hard to internationalise the issue. With Trump having shown interest in mediating the conflict over Kashmir and mending relations with Pakistan for their own interest in Afghanistan, Pakistan sees an opportunity to bring the US to its side on the Kashmir argument. While not letting the Indian move consolidate so easily and hence pressing for some change in the new status quo which India is headed for in Kashmir, Pakistan is forgetting that it has more burning concerns with the Financial Action Task Force. Being in the grey list and hence having to push for narrowing down on terror funding, Pakistan has to avoid getting blacklisted in the October meeting of FATF. Their economy is not in the best shape and their failure to present concrete evidence of terror crackdowns would push them into FATF's black list, thereby isolating them from World trade completely–a situation Pakistan that will adversely impact the country.

While the aggression on display by Pakistan is understood considering their history with Kashmir, now might not be the best time to engineer any sort of cross-border activity. But same is not expected out of them and hence Indian agencies are continuously monitoring movements of the Pakistan Army following several threats issued by Pakistan in the wake of the abrogation. Ceasefire violations along the LoC are usually expected and dubbed as Pakistan's great attempt to keep the issue of Kashmir under the global eye–last week Indian army foiled Pakistan's BAT misadventure. Pakistan must realise that by observing India's independence day as a "Black Day", it is not going to make any dent on proceedings in Kashmir and its best hope is the potential internal aggression caused by the emergency-like situation that India had imposed on J&K prior to the landmark decision. Once India manages to stabilise the region after lifting the curfew, there won't be any breeding ground for terror or separatist ideology left for Pakistan to capitalise. And, this is perhaps what Pakistan fears most.

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