Pakistan strongly rejects Indian defence minister’s “gratuitous” remarks on Kashmir

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ISLAMABAD, Oct 28 (APP): Pakistan on Friday rejected and strongly condemned the “highly irresponsible, provocative and gratuitous” remarks made by the Indian defence minister at a public event on Kashmir Black Day in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

The Foreign Office spokesperson said that the Indian defence minister’s statement that “India had begun development work in IIOJK that would not stop till it reaches Gilgit-Baltistan” was utterly absurd and ludicrous.

He said the Indian minister’s “delusional” remarks were farcical on the one hand and reflective of India’s characteristic hostility towards Pakistan on the other.

“The so-called ‘development work’ in IIOJK is a mere eyewash, while the amateurish attempt to distort the well-established historical facts about the Jammu and Kashmir dispute is pathetic,” he remarked.

The spokesperson reminded the Indian government that the ground realities in IIOJK and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) were diametrically different.

“While AJK is free, open and accessible to the world, India has forcibly occupied IIOJK for the last seventy-five years and manages it as a vast prison. And yet, instead of granting IIOJK the right to self-determination, India continues to eye Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan to nurture its ‘expansionist mindset’,” he commented.

Calling it a “well-documented fact”, the spokesperson said that over 900,000 Indian occupation forces had been committing egregious human rights violations against innocent Kashmiris in IIOJK including extra-judicial killings, custodial deaths, torture and arbitrary detentions.

There are also frequent instances of using people, including innocent children, as human shield and imposing collective punishment by demolishing homes, he added.

The spokesperson said ever since India’s illegal and unilateral actions of August 5, 2019, Indian occupation forces had extra-judicially killed more than 690 innocent Kashmiris. In a flagrant violation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions, international law, and the 4th Geneva Convention, India has been also seeking to change the demographic structure of the occupied territory.

He said India needed a reminder that Jammu and Kashmir remained an internationally recognized dispute on the agenda of the United Nations since 1948.

He said the irrefutable fact was that India was an occupation force in IIOJK in clear violation of the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions. India’s baseless claims over IIOJK can neither change the facts of history nor its legal status. Therefore, BJP leadership is advised to desist from making preposterous claims.

“Pakistan has consistently called upon the international community to shoulder its responsibility with regards to IIOJK. India must be held responsible for its nefarious scheme of altering the demography of IIOJK, as well as for its brutal repression of the innocent Kashmiris,” the spokesperson said.

He said the only resolution to the Jammu and Kashmir dispute was to ensure that the Kashmiris were able to exercise their right of self-determination through the democratic method of holding a UN-mandated free and impartial plebiscite as espoused in the relevant UNSC resolutions, and as per the wishes of the Kashmiri people.