Pakistan misusing Kashmir for its political agenda, say EU experts
'It is clear that Pakistan has issues with India because Pakistan is not a secular democratic state with the same kind of diverse constitution and diverse ethnicity which India has', they said
European experts have lambasted Pakistan for misusing Kashmir for its political agenda over the decades, and backed the Indian government's move to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution.
The discussion in this regard took place at an event titled "Weaponising Kashmir: Misused Kashmir for its political agenda", held on the sidelines of the 43rd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva on Monday.
Brian Toll, a former director at European Commission said that Pakistan has been involved with Jammu and Kashmir since the partition in 1947, which has helped tribes people and non-residents of J-K to find their place there and follow the agenda set largely by Islamabad.
He said, "It is clear that Pakistan has issues with India because Pakistan is not a secular democratic state with the same kind of diverse constitution and diverse ethnicity which India has and India is feeling proud of having".
"India is doing its best to make sure the minorities are well represented. For example, India has had Muslim Presidents, it has had a Muslim head of the Supreme Court. Pakistan is very reluctant to extend the same courtesies to its minorities and to its ethnicities. What it is doing is to create an issue in Jammu and Kashmir to extend the boundaries of Pakistan itself and its influence and partly is to do with keeping attention on areas outside Pakistan itself," he said.
"Pakistan's economy is in a very difficult situation. They are very dependent on loans from Saudi Arabia. They are very dependent on developments on the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is China. And what they are trying to is to make sure is that is the focus of world attention and not the issue with Pakistan itself," he added.
Brian supported the recent initiative by New Delhi to abrogate Article 370 and 35(A) of the Constitution that accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
"What India has done is to say, well let's all work together, let's look how we can improve education, particularly secondary education, let's make it more skills-based and let's have the Indian part of Jammu and Kashmir brought up to the same standards as rest of India with high levels of employment with high degrees of education and with more hope for people who live there. It's a brave intention, I hope it works," he said.
Paulo Casaca, Executive Director of a Brussels based South Asia Democratic Forum said, "The key of the matter is for Pakistan to acknowledge that since 1947 it has been occupying an unlawfully big part of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir and it should sort out the issue directly, bilaterally with India".
He added, "It should fulfill the first condition proposed by the United Nations (on Kashmir) and it is not in the interest of no one in Pakistan or in India to continue attrition war that has been developed for decades by Pakistan".
"It is very important that some of the gestures taken by Pakistan are genuine gestures or are just cosmetic. I do think that the international community should be very attentive and should ask for substantive changes of policy from Pakistan", said Paulo.