WORLD

Pakistan rejects Kashmir normalcy reports

Indian policemen sit on a barricade during restrictions in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. (AP Photo)

Pakistan has summoned the Indian charge d' affairs and rejected the Indian government's claim of "normalcy" in Jammu and Kashmir.

In a statement on Sunday, the Foreign Ministry said Islamabad categorically rejected Indian attempts to portray normalcy in Indian occupied Kashmir.

"Dr. Mohammad Faisal, director general (South Asia & SAARC), summoned the Indian Charge d' Affairs today and conveyed that Pakistan categorically rejects Indian attempts, including the recent briefing by the Indian National Security Advisor, seeking to portray a totally false impression of normalcy in Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir," the statement said.

Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir continues to be the largest prison in the world with the heaviest deployment of Indian occupation forces since the coercive, unilateral and illegal Indian actions of Aug. 5, aimed at altering the internationally recognized disputed status of Indian occupied Kashmir and changing its demographic structure to preempt the results of a UN plebiscite, while despite Indian claims, curfew continues, the statement read.

On Saturday, the Indian National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval said that the presence of Indian army in Kashmir valley was only limited to counter-terrorism, and police and central forces are there for handling public order.

''I am 'fully convinced' that a majority of Kashmiris support the revoking of special status of Jammu and Kashmir and affirmed that restrictions in the state are aimed at preventing Pakistan from creating more mischief through proxies and terrorists,'' said Press Trust of India (PTI) quoting Ajit Doval.

Doval said that restrictions have anyway been eased progressively, and only 10 of the 199 police districts in Kashmir, Jammu and Laddakh now still have prohibitory orders, while land-line telephones have been restored fully in all three areas.

According to PTI, Doval said, "If anybody is interested in restoring normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir, it is India."

However, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry pointed out that Kashmiri leaders still remain imprisoned or under house arrest with communication blocked and restrictions on media still persist.

Shops also remain closed and people are unable to offer Friday prayers in mosques while there are credible reports of shortage of food items, including baby food and essential medicine.

Islamabad also accused New Delhi of exerting a authoritarian and dictatorial control over all information coming out of Kashmir and distorting truth and twisting facts in a desperate attempt to promote its own narrative against the ground realities.

''Most recently, India attempted to pass off a false and fabricated story, including during an Indian army presser on 4 September 2019 blaming deaths of some Kashmiris in IOJ&K on 'Pakistani militants''', the ministry said.

The ministry also termed Indian reports that portrayed two farmers who had inadvertently crossed the border in August as terrorist as a "farcical attempt".

On Aug. 21, two young Kashmiri farmers identified Mohammad Nazeem 21 and Khalil Ahmad 30, had inadvertently crossed the Line of Control (LoC), a de facto border divides Kashmir valley between Pakistan and India, while they were out for cutting grass, Pakistan clarified.

Pakistan urged India to comply with international obligations and immediately cease its atrocities against innocent Kashmiris, lift the communication blockade and allow international fact finding missions and media to Kashmir.

Jammu and Kashmir has been facing a communication blackout since Aug. 5 when New Delhi stripped the disputed region of special provisions guaranteed by the Indian Constitution.

Tension between the two South Asian nuclear neighbors mounted in recent weeks after Indian government scrapped the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on Aug. 5.

From 1954 until Aug. 5, 2019, Jammu and Kashmir had special provisions under which it enacted its own laws. The provisions also protected the region's citizenship law, which barred outsiders from settling in and owning land in the territory.

Kashmiri leaders fear this is a deliberate move by the Indian government to change the demography of the Muslim-majority state, which is claimed by India and Pakistan in full and held by both in parts.

The two South Asian nuclear powers have fought two wars over Kashmir in 1947 and 1965.

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