New Delhi: Pakistan, which has been trying hard to highlight Jammu and Kashmir’s disputed status at international fora since India scrapped the state’s special status, scored a self-goal describing it as an "Indian state"—something New Delhi has been stressing on.
In doing so, Islamabad inadvertently bolstered India’s argument that changes made in its Constitution are an internal matter and not for other countries including Pakistan to comment on.
The faux pas was committed by Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi while speaking to reporters after making a special address at the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday.
"India is trying to give an impression to the world that life has returned to normalcy. If the life has returned to normalcy, then I say, why don't they allow you, the international media, why don't they allow the international organisations, the NGOs, civil society organisations to go into the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir and see for themselves what the reality is," Qureshi was heard asking reporters in television clips during an interaction.
Pakistan usually refers to Jammu and Kashmir in its official communication as “India Occupied Kashmir" in a bid to keep alive the region’s disputed status. Rarely, it also uses the formulation “Indian administered Kashmir."
The crux of New Delhi’s argument since the revocation of Article 370 on 5-6 August has been that Kashmir is a state of India and therefore any changes made to its status is an internal matter. New Delhi has also made it clear to the international community that any talks with Pakistan on Kashmir will be a bilateral process.
Earlier in his speech, Qureshi demanded an international investigation, urging the world rights body not to remain "indifferent" over India's move on Kashmir.
Last month, New Delhi scrapped special privileges of Jammu and Kashmir and divided the state into two Union territories. To prevent a backlash, the Centre deployed thousands of additional troops and imposed restrictions on phones and internet lines and detained top political leaders, including former chief ministers.