The governor of India's tiny western state of Goa, Satya Pal Malik, has warned Pakistan to desist from its "antics", or else it would lose its side of Kashmir. Addressing a function in his native village in Uttar Pradesh, he revealed the revocation of Article 370, that granted special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir was a difficult task.
Malik was governor of Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, when New Delhi decided to revoke article 370 and strip the former state of its special status, turning it into two federally-administered territories in August 2019.
“Now the people there (Jammu and Kashmir) feel safe. The removal of Article 370 has shocked the neighbouring country. If Pakistan does not desist from its antics, it may have to lose Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK) too," said Malik.
The region of Kashmir is a bone of contention between India and Pakistan as both countries rule it in parts but claim it in full and New Delhi has multiple times accused Islamabad of violating the ceasefire without provocation at the Line of Control (LoC), the de-facto border between the two countries.
Malik felt that Islamabad was stunned by the developmental initiatives taken by New Delhi in the Kashmir region, following the abrogation of Article 370.
Malik's comments came on a day when Pakistan raked up the issue of Jammu and Kashmir during an interaction between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and leaders of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) on Sunday (15 March) to combat COVID-19 in the region.
Modi, during a videoconferencing with SAARC leaders, suggested several joint initiatives like a COVID-19 Emergency Fund, and a Rapid Response Team of specialists. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan gave the conference a miss, but instead deputed his junior minister for Health Zafar Mirza.
Mirza in his intervention said, “It is a matter of concern that COVID-19 has been reported from Jammu and Kashmir and in view of a health emergency, it is imperative that all lockdown in the territory must be lifted immediately”.