Islamabad (Khyber Mail): Dr. Ashraf Wani, a former freedom fighter from IIOJK, expressed skepticism about the timing of the Indian Supreme Court’s verdict on Article 370 A, stating that it appears to be a political move by the BJP to secure an advantage in the upcoming 2024 general election.

The Institute of Regional Studies organized a roundtable discussion featuring panelists from IIOJK, who collectively viewed the decision as a political one rather than a legal or constitutional matter.

Dr. Wani emphasized that the verdict cleverly introduces a new agenda, diverting attention from the freedom movement in IIOJK and shifting the focus to the debate over the revocation or restoration of Article 370 A. Dr. Waleed Rasool, another former freedom fighter, asserted that the removal of Article 370 A was driven by India’s perception of it as a security issue, particularly in the context of the ongoing freedom movement in IIOJK.

Despite the unlawful revocation, Dr. Rasool noted that the people of IIOJK remain steadfast in their movement against Indian rule. He highlighted India’s systematic reduction of the Muslim population in the region, from 87% to 57%, leaving Kashmiris with a slim 7% majority. Saffdar Gardezi mentioned the sense of betrayal among pro-India political leaders in IIOJK who had trusted and supported India.

Altaf Wani expressed concern that the revocation of Article 370 has left no space for Kashmiris, subjecting them to severe suppression, with the Indian state intent on erasing the Kashmiri identity from the region. In this challenging scenario, he suggested that the Kashmiri diaspora can play a crucial role by advocating for the rights of Kashmiri people on the international stage.

Ambassador Nadeem Riyaz concluded the session by echoing Quaid e Azam’s sentiment that Kashmir is the jugular vein of Pakistan, emphasizing Pakistan’s unwavering support for the right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people. Ms. Maryam Mastoor, a research analyst at IRS, moderated the discussion.

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