Panic has not only gripped the Kashmir valley but Rawalpindi also (headquarters of Pakistan Army) after India deployed additional 25,000 soldiers in the Kashmir valley in addition to the 10,000 security forces.
Earlier, Delhi dispatched about 10,000 soldiers to the valley which the officials termed as a move to strengthen the counter-insurgency operation in Kashmir and maintaining overall security.
Rumours are spreading in the Kashmir Valley that India could be heading towards a complete abrogation of Article 35-A. Some have even speculated that the matter could be a part of PM Narendra Modi’s Independence Day address at the Red Fort.
Former CM – Omar Abdullah who met PM Modi recently had earlier asked the Centre to wait for the verdict of the Supreme Court (SC) where a bunch of petitions challenging Article 35A and Article 370 are pending. “Why should you hurry? We will respect the decision of the Supreme Court as we have always done,” Omar Abdullah said.
Omar Abdullah further stated that the bureaucrats were spreading rumours asking people to store rations, medicines, fuel for automobiles, etc because a long haul of uncertainty was in the offering.
How is Pakistan Responding?
Any demographic change in Kashmir would not be accepted, said Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. According to media reports, the Minister said India was neither ready for bilateral talks nor for third party mediation. Qureshi said, “Kashmir is a disputed territory and any demographic changes in Kashmir will not be acceptable to Pakistan as well as Kashmiri people.”
According to experts talking to EurAsian Times, Islamabad is closely monitoring the Indian moves in Jammu and Kashmir. If India goes ahead to scrap Article 35-A, massive turmoil is expected in Kashmir and Pakistan Army would be under tremendous pressure to respond to so-called Indian brutality in the region and save the innocent Kashmiri people. However, this Pakistan Army would be handicapped without their ‘covert’ assets – the militant groups who would be under intense scrutiny due to FATF guidelines.
Furore in India Over Trump’s Remarks
At a joint news conference with Prime Minister Imran at the White House on July 22, President Trump said he was willing to mediate between India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue if the two neighbours asked him to do so.
“If I can help, I would love to be a mediator. If I can do anything to help, let me know,” Trump had said while responding to a question from a Pakistani journalist.
“I was with Prime Minister Modi two weeks ago and we talked about this subject [Kashmir]. And he, actually, said, would you like to be a mediator or arbitrator? I said, where? [Modi said] Kashmir,” Trump explained.
The statement caused a political storm in India where opposition parties called Modi’s reported request to the US president an act of treason and asked him to explain why he made such a move.
The Indian government denied ever asking Trump to mediate on Kashmir, adding that India retains its traditional position that it will not accept any third-party mediation on its disputes with Pakistan.
On July 24, President Trump’s Chief Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow rejected the suggestion that his boss had “made up” the claim that the Indian PM had asked him to mediate on Kashmir. “The president does not make anything up. That’s a very rude question in my opinion,” he told a reporter at a White House briefing.
At Wednesday’s State Department briefing, the senior US official backed Trump’s offer but said a follow-up would depend on the steps that Pakistan now takes to eradicate terrorism from the region.
The visit, the official said, was a chance for the prime minister to discuss how his government would bring his vision about and for both sides to confer on how the US could support Pakistan in this endeavour.