Junaid Qureshi, Director of the European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS)
Junaid Qureshi, Director of the European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS)

EFSAS deliberates on legal implications of CPEC on J-K

ANI | Updated: Dec 19, 2018 23:10 IST

Louvain [Germany], Dec 19 (ANI): A two-day conference titled 'The Chinese Way, The New Normal?' held in Germany's Louvain brought together researchers, academicians and practitioners in the field of Asian studies, who deliberated upon China's geopolitical and socio-economic rise in the world and regional politics, its New Silk Road Initiative and the issues and challenges related to its expansionist strategic actions.
The conference was held at The University of Louvain, a leading European University in research and innovation in political sciences on December 17 and 18.
Junaid Qureshi, Director of the European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS), was invited as a key-note speaker during a panel discussion on the 'Belt and Road Initiative in Context'. He examined the legal implications of the building of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) with regard to Jammu and Kashmir and, thus in turn, Gilgit-Baltistan, through which the corridor passes.
Qureshi first gave a historical analysis of the genesis of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, emphasising the fact that the region of Gilgit-Baltistan is an integral part of Jammu and Kashmir and neither Pakistan nor China have any legal right or claim over it.
"While administratively controlled by Pakistan since the First Kashmir War, Gilgit-Baltistan has never been formally and legally integrated into the country and does not participate in the constitutional political affairs as subsequent Pakistani administrations have argued that Islamabad cannot officially integrate Gilgit-Baltistan into Pakistan in line with its claimed, yet not practised, position that a referendum should be carried out across the whole of the region. Any such step would prejudice its international obligations with regard to the Jammu and Kashmir conflict," he elaborated.
Qureshi argued that notwithstanding legal and international constraints, it has become imperative from China's perspective that Gilgit-Baltistan has a political status within Pakistan in order to legitimise and consolidate its stakes in the CPEC.
He added that Beijing continues to maintain that the Kashmir issue is a legacy issue between Pakistan and India and that it should be properly handled by the two countries through dialogue and consultation.
"In total disregard for international norms and practices, Beijing has signed the CPEC with one of the parties to the dispute involving territory that forms part of the dispute. In any case, if a project facilitates a third country's entry into territory long disputed between two other countries, it cannot remain just be advertised as an economic and social development venture and must necessarily take into consideration the political aspects involved as such entry is bound to further complicate the dispute and impede its resolution," Qureshi elucidated.
The EFSAS Director pointed out that China and Pakistan's relationship has an embedded enduring imbalance as Islamabad is in Beijing's debt, which will only deepen further.
Qureshi also stressed that the investments on behalf of China towards Pakistan are of "such colossal magnitude and respectively the obligations of Pakistan towards China are so unbearably high, that Pakistan will soon find itself in a situation, just like Sri Lanka, where the only possible solution for overcoming this issue is through its transfer of power, independence and sovereignty to Beijing."
He went on to say that the people of Gilgit-Baltistan and the rest of Jammu and Kashmir would, in return, ask: 'Why their land should function as collateral and its future be mortgaged to defray Pakistan's illegal and reckless adventurism?'
The symposium was organised by the University of Louvain's Center for the Study of Crises and International Conflicts, the Genesys Network and the University Chair Baillet Latour.
A variety of speakers participated in the event, among which were representatives of the Royal Institute for International Relations in Brussels, the French Institute of Geopolitics, the Department of International Security at the US Air Force Air War College, the East Asia Security Centre of the Bond University, Australia and many others.
The conference was attended by researchers, scholars, practitioners, policy advisors and students from all over the world. It was followed by a vibrant question and answer session during which the audience and speakers engaged in a discussion pertaining to China's rise in international relations and its strategic geopolitical expansionist designs. (ANI)