New Delhi: Just hours after the Government of India took the historic decision of abrogating Articles 370 and 35 A in the state of Jammu and Kashmir on Monday, it's estranged neighbor Pakistan expressed concern over the security of its citizens, living in the Valley, while terming the Narendra Modi government's decision as illegal.
Over the situation arising in the terror-affected state, in the aftermath of the decision, which got the President's approval on Sunday, Pakistani Armed Forces Spokesperson Asif Ghafoor said his country has all the necessary security provisions in place, to ensure the protection of its people in Kashmir.
"Pakistan has all its safeguards in place. Pakistan shall take all necessary measures and continue to stand firmly with the just cause of oppressed people of Jammu and Kashmir, to get their right to self-determination, as per the UNSC resolutions," Sputnik quoted Mr. Ghafoor as saying.
Since 1947, the territory of Jammu and Kashmir has held a special status under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which gave it it's own Constitution and decision-making rights in all areas, except for Defence, Foreign Affairs and Communications.
On Sunday, Article 370 was revoked by President Ram Nath Kovind, while on Monday, the Upper House of Parliament voted 125-61, with one absentee, to approve the constitutional amendment.
The Bill will be tabled in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, where it is expected to pass easily, with BJP enjoying a comfortable majority in the Lower House.
The government plans to split the state into two Union Territories. While Jammu and Kashmir will have its own legislature, Ladakh will become a Union Territory, without legislature. Both of them will now come under the direct control of the Central government.
Shortly after announcing the decision on Jammu and Kashmir, New Delhi sent additional 8,000 troops to the valley, in addition to a contingent of more than 35,000 already deployed there.
Earlier on Monday, Pakistan had said that it would "exercise all possible options to counter the illegal steps" taken by India regarding Kashmir.
In a statement, the Pakistan Foreign Office (FO) strongly condemned and rejected the move by the Indian government, stressing that Kashmir was internationally recognized as a disputed territory.
"No unilateral step by the Government of India can change this disputed status, as enshrined in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.
"The decision will never be acceptable to the people of Kashmir and Pakistan."
"As the party to this international dispute, Pakistan will exercise all possible options to counter the illegal steps," The Dawn reported, quoting a statement by the Pakistan FO.