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Pakistan urges action on Kashmir ‘before it’s too late’

India intends to take Kashmiri people’s land away by changing the demographic composition of the region by a recent move to scrap the region’s special status, said the Pakistani envoy on Saturday.

In a speech at Asma Kopru International Student Association in Ankara, Turkey on the latest situation in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Turkey Syrus Sajjad Qazi called on the international community to “step in to address this situation before it’s too late — both for the Kashmiris and for the region”.

He claimed that India’s “violations of the Line of Control [a de facto border dividing Kashmir between Pakistan and India], targeting Pakistani civilians have increased in the recent days” after New Delhi removed special status of Jammu and Kashmir last month. 

“Indian leaders are threatening to use nuclear weapons against Pakistan — a threat that helped them win an election only a few months ago,” Qazi added.

Tensions across the Line of Control heightened in recent weeks after the Indian government scrapped the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on Aug. 5.

Since then, the Muslim-majority region has been under a near-complete lockdown as the government has blocked communication and imposed strict restrictions to thwart any rebellion, while political leaders in the region have been detained.

Several rights groups including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have repeatedly called on New Delhi to lift the restrictions and release political detainees.

The Pakistani envoy stated the region is facing “a human tragedy and a travesty of justice that need no introduction”. 

“Millions of Kashmiri men, women and children remain prisoners in their very own homes, on their own land,” he added.

However, Indian authorities have claimed this week that 90% of the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir is free of daytime restrictions.

Qazi said that New Delhi’s actions “blatantly violate” relevant UN Security Council resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir, which “guarantee” that the region’s future would be decided through the “democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the UN auspices”.

“These resolutions warn against any material changes on the ground till the final settlement of the dispute,” he noted.

The “highly provocative path” chosen by India was “an attempt to complete the physical occupation of the Kashmiris,” he said adding that the Aug. 5 decision “will only further strengthen the legitimate Kashmiri struggle against the Indian occupation”.

From 1954 until this Aug. 5, 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.

India and Pakistan both hold Kashmir in parts and claim it in full. China also controls part of the contested region, but it is India and Pakistan who have fought two wars over Kashmir.

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