Policy Brief

War to Lawfare – Spotlighting the India-Pakistan Conflict

by: Professor Sikander Ahmed Shah and Professor Uzair J. Kayani

Lawfare, or the use of legal fora and devices for military and diplomatic advantage, has become a critical component of South Asia’s dynamic conflict landscape. In the context of the India-Pakistan conflict, this policy brief examines India’s efforts to instrumentalise a policy of “lawfare” designed to support military action against Pakistan, supporting state-sponsored terrorism, ratcheting up armed oppression of Kashmiri civilians, and pushing for Islamabad’s diplomatic isolation. Meanwhile, Pakistan, with a virtually nonexistent international law team, continues to remain politically passive, reacting to strategic “issue-framing” by India. As of this writing, the brutal murder of bus passengers travelling along the Makran coast by Baloch separatists has thrown this shortcoming into sharp relief. This brief underscores the urgent need for Pakistan to update and employ the forums it uses to highlight these acts as state-sponsored terrorism.1 Both the UN and the OIC must be utilised effectively to spotlight Indian activities in Balochistan. Legal arguments should be built and deployed as soon as possible. It concludes with some recommendations that will enable Pakistan to become more proactive in using legal devices to counter India when necessary.