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Kashmir Back in Headlines as Pakistan Promises Action

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday threatened to wake a lightly sleeping giant after promising to award provincial status to part of the heavily disputed Kashmir region. Khan’s plans to apply some form of Pakistani law to a sliver of the war-torn land drew an immediate – and expected – condemnation from neighboring India, which claims the entire area for itself and has fought two deadly wars and dozens of skirmishes over it with Pakistan since the partition of 1947. New Delhi’s Foreign Ministry spokesman rejected Islamabad’s announcement, calling it “an attempt to bring material changes to a part of Indian territory under its illegal and forcible occupation.” Pakistan’s latest move is widely seen as retaliation for last year’s aggressive Indian actions in Kashmir, when nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi revoked some of the territory’s privileges, sent in hundreds of troops and blocked any press coverage in the region for weeks. Khan’s Sunday promise, which was not given a timeframe and still needs to pass muster in parliament, would strengthen Pakistan’s only land link to China and enable it to enjoy Beijing’s mammoth Belt and Road infrastructure project.