Pakistan PM Imran Khan, along with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi skipped an emergency joint session of both the houses of the Pakistani Parliament on Tuesday, that was held to discuss the future course of action, following the abrogation of Article 370 from Jammu and Kasmir.
His absence led to a fuming ruckus that broke out in the Parliament as the Pakistani Opposition lawmakers objected to Khan's absence from the joint session. However, the reason for his absence from a crucial joint meet is unknown.
Pakistan's National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser briefly adjourned the joint session after Opposition lawmakers disrupted the proceedings in the House, protesting that the day's agenda did not specifically mention Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.
According to the agenda issued on Monday by the National Assembly Secretariat for the joint sitting, the House may discuss the "surge in "unprovoked firing and shelling on civilian population", use of "cluster bombs" by Indian forces in PoK, deployment of additional troops and "atrocities" in Kashmir and recent developments.
According to Pakistani media Dawn, Pakistan President Arif Alvi had called the meeting, and further added the session may pass a resolution to condemn Centre's decision to abrogate Article 370.
So far it is not clear if the meeting would conclude in a day or would continue for another day.
Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa will preside a key meeting of Corps Commanders later in the day to discuss the security situation after the latest developments in Kashmir.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi last week wrote a letter to the UN in which it warned that India was "preparing ground" to withdraw the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, the Foreign Office has said.
The Foreign Office on Monday night issued the text of the letter Qureshi sent on August 1 to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, President of the UN Security Council and President of the UN General Assembly. Qureshi in the letter highlighted the "deteriorating" human rights situation in Kashmir, an alleged violation of ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) and India ending Kashmir's special constitutional status. India is preparing ground to abolish Article 35-A of its Constitution as a first step, followed by the revocation of Article 370," he wrote.
Article 370 of the Indian Constitution is a 'temporary provision' which grants autonomous, special status to the state. Under part XXI of the Constitution that looks at 'Temporary, Transitional and Special provisions,' the state was accorded with the special status under Article 370. All the provisions of the Constitution applicable to other states are not applicable to Jammu and Kashmir.
In 1947, the provision was drafted by Sheikh Abdullah, who was appointed as the Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir by Maharaja Hari Singh and former India PM Jawahar Lala Nehru.
As per the provisions of the article, the Parliament needs the state government's concurrence for applying laws except for defence, foreign affairs, communications and finance. Hence, the residents of the state live under a separate set of laws, including citizenship, ownership of property, and fundamental rights, in comparison to the rest of India.
Under Article 370 provisions, Indians from other states are forbided from purchasing property in Jammu and Kashmir.
However, despite contradictions, the Supreme Court, as well as the High Courts, have maintained that Article 370 is a permanent provision of the Constitution. In a judgement delivered in 2018, the Apex Court had stated that although the article is tagged as 'temporary', it is permanent in nature.
READ| Jammu And Kashmir: Article 35A And Its Significance Explained
Article 35A allows the Jammu and Kashmir legislature to define who are permanent residents of the state. It was inserted through the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954, which was issued by President Rajendra Prasad under Article 370, on the Centre' s advice i.e.by the advice of the cabinet of India's then PM Jawahar Lal Nehru.
As per the J&K Constitution which was adopted in 1956, it defined a permanent resident as someone who was a state subject on May 14, 1955, or who has been a resident of the state for ten years and has lawfully acquired immovable property. A non-state subject cannot buy land or settle permanently in Jammu and Kashmir. It also ensures the permanent resident's special rights and privileges in government jobs, scholarships, aids and acquisition of property. The spirit of the article flows from 1827 and 1832 state subject laws of then Dogra ruler.
Article 370 acted as an obstacle for Jammu and Kashmir's complete integration in India. Removal of Article 370 would take back the special status from the state, allow citizens from across the country to settle and buy land in Jammu and Kashmir and subsume people of the state into the mainstream.
There would be no permission required to set up industry and infrastructure if Article 370 is scrapped. Furthermore, in this case, the RPC will be replaced by the IPC and every amendment of the Constitution will be applicable to the rest of India will automatically apply to Kashmir as well. Along with that jobs and educational institutes would be open to everybody.
The removal of the Article will also allow West Pakistan refugees, Dogras, Bakarwala and Kashmiri Pandits would have an equal stake in the state without any permissions.