Most Pakistanis have been brought up believing that Kashmir is the ‘unfinished business of Partition’ and that one day all of Kashmir will become part of Pakistan. The massive defense expenditure, the exalted status of our defense forces and the continued perception of India as an existential threat to Pakistan are centered on the issue of Kashmir.
India has just upended all of this by repealing Article 370 of the Indian Constitution that granted Jammu and Kashmir (and Ladakh) a semi-autonomous status. As of August 5, 2019, the original state of Jammu and Kashmir has been bifurcated into two Union Territories: Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
Pakistan’s immediate reaction was that of surprise. On social media, Pakistani hypernatioanlists like Zaid Hamid went ballistic
Many Pakistani analysts changed their twitter profile picture to that of Yasin Malik, former head of the outfit Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF)
The government of Pakistan took 24 hours to respond: Chief of Army staff General Bajwa issued a statement saying that “his troops are prepared to “go to any extent” to help Kashmiris after the Indian government revoked Article 370 which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir. “Pakistan Army firmly stands by the Kashmiris in their just struggle to the very end. We are prepared and shall go to any extent to fulfil our obligations…,” Gen Bajwa told the army commanders.”
On August 6, Prime Minister Imran Khan constituted a “a seven-member committee to make recommendations to formulate Islamabad’s legal, political and diplomatic response to the change in the status of occupied Kashmir by the Indian government. The foreign minister, attorney general of Pakistan, foreign secretary, director general of Inter-Services Intelligence, director general military operations, director general Inter-Services Public Relations and Ahmer Bilal Soofi, Special Envoy to Prime Minister, have been appointed as members of the committee.”
Finally on Wednesday August 7th the National Security Committee (NSC) “resolved to downgrade Pakistan’s diplomatic relations with New Delhi and suspend all bilateral trade. Key decisions taken were: Downgrading of diplomatic relations, Suspension of bilateral trade, Review of bilateral arrangements, Matter to be taken to United Nations and August 14 to be observed in solidarity with Kashmiris. The meeting attended by the top civilian and military leadership also decided to recall Pakistan’s ambassador from New Delhi and expel the Indian envoy. “Our ambassadors will no longer be in New Delhi and their counterparts here will also be sent back,” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told ARY News. The hours-long meeting was attended by the ministers for foreign affairs, defence, interior, education, human rights, Kashmir affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan and law; finance adviser; chairman of joint chiefs of staff committee, chief of army staff, chief of air staff, vice chief of naval staff, special assistant to the prime minister on information, director general Inter-Services Intelligence, director general Inter-Services Public Relations, secretary foreign affairs and other senior officers.”