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“Every political party committed to ensure PoK returns to India”: EAM Jaishankar

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar (Photo: ANI)

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday said that every political party in the country is “committed to ensure that PoK, which is a part of India, returns to India,” and that “the PoK issue has come to the front of people’s thinking” after revocation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, which was considered a difficult decision.

Interacting with students at the Gargi College here, the minister said that people assumed Article 370 could not be changed as the politics of the day had driven it deeply into the public consciousness.

Article 370, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, was abrogated by the BJP-led government in August 2019.

“Take even (Article) 370, people just assume 370 cannot be changed and this is something we have to accept because the politics of the day have driven it very deeply into public consciousness. Now we see, once we change it then the entire ground situation changes,” Jaishankar said.

“All I can say with respect to PoK (is) that there is a parliament resolution, every political party of this country is committed to ensure PoK, which is a part of India, returns to India. This actually is our national commitment but I do want to say one thing. I didn’t use to get people ask us about this ten years ago, or even five years ago. It is when we have put 370 to rest, now people understand, yes PoK is also important,” he added.

Jaishankar said the first prerequisite for something happening is first it must be in your thoughts.

“What has happened today is that because we have finally taken the right decision on 370, in the minds of our own people today, the PoK issue has come to the front of their thinking. As they say, the first prerequisite for something happening is first it must be in your thoughts. once it is in your thoughts, the rest will certainly happen at some point,” he said.

Meanwhile, in the wake of the deteriorating economic situation in Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir, political and human rights organizations have invoked a long march and called for a sit-in on May 11 to raise the issues faced by the locals in Muzaffarabad in PoJK.

The United Kashmir People’s National Party (UKPNP) and Joint Awami Action Committee (JAAC), in a joint statement released earlier, announced that the march will raise issues like skyrocketing inflation, severe unemployment, revocation of subsidies on wheat and flour, unjustified load shedding, exploitation of PoJK’s natural resources and special and unjust privileges being given to the civil bureaucracy in PoJK.

Stressing that people have not received their wages and pensions, Amjad Ayub Mirza, a PoJK activist said, “And now to sabotage the sit-in, the Pakistani administration has ordered the puppet PM of PoK Chaudhry Anwarul Haq to issue a request for the deployment of Punjab province police and frontal corps in PoJK.