G20 Summit in Srinagar: A Political Move to Legitimize India’s Control over Kashmir?
The Kashmir conflict has been a longstanding issue between India and Pakistan, and our stance on the issue is very clear. Pakistan believes that Kashmir is a disputed territory and the people of the region have the right to self-determination. Pakistan has been calling for a plebiscite in Kashmir for decades, allowing the people of the region to decide their future. India’s revocation of Article 370, which gave Kashmir special autonomy, and the subsequent lockdown and communication blackout have led to the humanitarian crisis in the region, and Pakistan has been raising this issue at every international forum, including the United Nations General Assembly and the Human Rights Council. Pakistan remains committed to resolving the Kashmir conflict peacefully and urges the international community to play its role in addressing the issue. But unfortunately, the situation in the held territory continues to be serious and it is the army that rules the roost in Kashmir. Conditions on the ground portrayed even a grimmer picture of the region where uncertainty, chaos, and lawlessness reign supreme.
Amidst all the chaos, India, which holds the presidency of the G-20, has scheduled a meeting of the working group of the G-20 summit in Srinagar, Kashmir on 22-24 May 2023. The announcement of the G20 summit being held in Kashmir has sparked controversy and outrage in Pakistan. Pakistan sees India’s decision to host the summit in Srinagar, the largest city in Indian-occupied Kashmir, as a political move to legitimize its control over the disputed region. Pakistan, which claims sovereignty over the entire region, believes that India is manipulating the World by portraying a false image of normalcy in Kashmir.
The G20 is a prestigious global forum that brings together leaders from the World’s largest economies which hold 80 percent of the World’s GDP, to discuss and coordinate on international economic and financial issues. The Summit’s host country gets to showcase its economic progress and cultural heritage to the World. By hosting the G20 summit in Srinagar, India is sending the message that everything is normal in the region, and the people of Kashmir are satisfied with their policies, so the international community should recognize its control over Kashmir.
Pakistan, however, sees this move as an attempt to undermine its legitimate claims over the disputed region. Pakistan’s Ministers have raised the concern with the World leaders and urged them to play their role in resolving the conflict. Pakistan’s Foreign Office has issued a statement saying that hosting the G20 Summit in Kashmir would be a violation of UN Security Council resolutions on the region. Pakistan has also expressed concerns that India might use the summit as a propaganda tool to portray a false image of normalcy in the region.
As an individual who hails from Pakistan, I also find India’s decision to host the G20 summit in Srinagar, Kashmir, deeply concerning. It feels like India is using the G20 summit to promote its political motives. By doing this, India is trying to show the world that things are normal in the Indian illegally occupied Kashmir and the World should now accept Kashmir as a part of India. It is very disheartening to see India using this summit to portray a false image of normalcy in the region. I fear that India might use the G20 summit to manipulate the World’s opinion and downplay the seriousness of the Kashmir issue
So Pakistan’s stance on the G20 summit in Kashmir is clear. Pakistan sees India’s move as an attempt to legitimize its control over the disputed region and manipulate the World’s opinion. Pakistan has been calling for a peaceful resolution to the Kashmir conflict, and the international community should play its role in addressing the issue. The G20 summit should not be used as a platform to promote political agendas but rather to focus on the global economic and financial crisis.
The writer Aleena Zafar, is a Research Officer at YFK- International Kashmir Lobby Group
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