On August 5 last year, the Indian government made a historic decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. The move, coupled with the bifurcation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union territories, meant the complete integration of the erstwhile state into the Indian territory. However, the momentous decision left the neighbouring country of Pakistan, rattled. They have decided to observe the 5th August as ‘black day’, and has part of that, they have decided to rename one highway in Islamabad as Srinagar.
The Pakistan government had been selling the false dream of annexing Jammu and Kashmir with their country for the past 70 years to its public. It had to pacify the agitated and disenchanted home crowd by putting up a brave face after Article 370 was revoked. Since Pakistan could not afford military escalation, it was thus forced to indulge in ‘symbolism’.
On the eve of the first-year-anniversary of Jammu and Kashmir’s complete integration into India on August 5, the Pakistani government has decided to take yet another symbolic action. On Friday, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi stated, “Our focus is on Srinagar. We are therefore changing the name of the Kashmir Highway to Srinagar Highway from August 5. This will be the road to our destination in (real) Srinagar.” Besides, Qureshi stated that the government will take international journalists, parliamentarians to the Line of Control and talk to the supposed ‘victims’ of India’s brutality. He said that Pakistanis around the world will stand in solidarity with the people of J & K and expose India’s supposed atrocities in the Valley.
Symbolic vengeance by Pakistan in UN falls flat
This is not the first time when Pakistan decided to respond symbolically. Since, August last year, Pakistan and China tried to rake up the Kashmir issue twice in United Nations Security Council (UNSC). However, the members, led by the United States and France thwarted the issue stating that India and Pakistan should resolve it bilaterally. Syed Akbaruddin, former India’s representative to UN, had said, “We are happy that neither the alarming scenario painted by the representatives of Pakistan nor any of the baseless allegations made repeatedly by various representatives of Pakistan in UN fora were found to be credible. Pakistan’s tactics of using false credences to distract from addressing the malice that afflicts it has run its course today.”