Pakistan rejects Indian statement terming crisis in occupied Kashmir an internal affair

ISLAMABAD, Aug 08 (INP): Pakistan on Thursday rejected India’s statement terming the deteriorating situation in occupied Kashmir its “internal affair”, days after the Indian government revoked the special status granted to the disputed valley sparking concerns of human rights violations.

During the Foreign Office’s weekly press briefing Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal responded to the Indian Ministry of External Affairs’ statement that “the recent developments pertaining to Article 370 are entirely the internal affair of India.”

“Pakistan categorically rejects India’s [statement] that Kashmir is an internal matter,” Dr Faisal said, as he reaffirmed that Pakistan will continue its political, diplomatic and moral support to Kashmiris in achieving their right to self-determination.

“Pakistan rejects the unilateral action by India to change the status of occupied Kashmir,” he added, as he called upon the international community to take notice of the atrocities against innocent civilians in occupied Kashmir.

India earlier today hit back at Pakistan´s downgrading of diplomatic ties over its actions on occupied Kashmir, saying its decision to strip the region of its autonomy was an “internal affair”.

The diplomatic spat came as media reports said more than 500 people were rounded up in the latest crackdown in Indian-occupied Kashmir, which remains under a strict curfew. At least six people were reported to be martyred and 100 others injured as Indian troops in occupied Kashmir opened fire on protesters.

The Foreign Office spokesperson further noted that Kashmir has been on the agenda of the UNSC and remains a disputed territory. “Its final resolution has to be made under a UN-administered free and fair plebiscite to ascertain the wishes of the Kashmiri people,” he said.

Answering a question by a reporter, he said the Kartarpur initiative will continue notwithstanding the latest developments. Pakistan respects all religions and would continue the project, he added.

In response to another question on the US delegation’s visit to Pakistan, the Foreign Office spokesperson said the Foreign Secretary received the US delegation which included US Assistant Secretary of State Alice Wells and Treasury Department Deputy Assistant Secretary Scott Rembrandt.

The discussions focused on the prevailing situation in Indian-occupied Kashmir, Pak-US relationship, Afghan peace and reconciliation process, and implementation of the National Action Plan and FATF instructions, he informed.

The spokesperson told the media that Pakistan is always ready for negotiations and dialogue for peaceful resolution of issues.

India, however, has always shied away from negotiations, he added.

To another question, FO spokesperson dismissed media reports over the release of banned Jamaat ud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed.
In response to India media reports pertaining to the release of Hafiz Saeed, the Foreign Office spokesperson categorically said, “Hafeez Saeed has not been released.”