Pakistan on Thursday rejected the “void” and “illegal” bifurcation of India-occupied Kashmir into two union territories, saying that “no step by the government of India” can change the internationally recognised fact that it is a disputed territory.
The Indian government had on August 5 repealed Article 370 of its constitution, stripping occupied Kashmir of its special status. The orders went into effect today, dividing up occupied Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories; one Jammu and Kashmir, and the other the Buddhist-dominated high altitude region of Ladakh.
In a statement released by the Foreign Office, Pakistan termed the move a “complete violation of the UN Security Council Resolutions and bilateral agreements between India and Pakistan, especially the Simla Agreement”.
The statement underlined that India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir is an internationally recognised disputed territory. “No step by the government of India can change this. These changes are illegal and void as per the relevant UNSC Resolutions, and do not prejudice the right to self-determination of the people of occupied Jammu & Kashmir.”
Pakistan particularly highlighted that the August 5 measures announced by India “were forced upon” the people of India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir “through the barrel of a gun”. The FO statement said that the region has been turned into a prison with the deployment of over 900,000 Indian security forces.
The statement further observed that many people including political leaders, civil society members, women, and children “remain under illegal detention”.
“An iron curtain remains in place on more than 8 million Kashmiri people snapping their communications with the outside world,” said the statement.
“Curfew remains imposed and movement of people restricted. Many people, especially women and children, are being continuously abused and tortured by Indian occupation forces,” it added.
Pakistan rejected the narrative that the changes are India’s “internal matter” and termed them as “illegal and unilateral” as the dispute “remains on the agenda of the Security Council”.
The FO, in its statement, said that the purpose of these changes “is neither development of the region nor welfare of the Kashmiri people”.
“The real motive is to alter the demographic structure of the Muslim majority state in pursuance of the extremist ‘Hindutva’ ideology.”
Pakistan called upon the international community to “take notice that the transfer of civilian population from outside into India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir is in grave violation of the international laws particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention”.
The statement laid emphasis on the fact that this forceful occupation by India will never be accepted by the people of occupied Jammu and Kashmir. India’s unilateral actions “would only further aggravate the human rights situation in the region and threaten to destabilize the peace, security, and stability of the South Asian region as well as the world”.
Pakistan called on India to “stop brutalizing the innocent Kashmiris under its illegal occupation for the last seven decades”.
“India should immediately withdraw its military forces from the region, remove draconian laws, restore basic human rights of the people, free all detainees, lift all restrictions on the free movement and communications, allow unimpeded and full access to the UN and other international human rights observers, including independent foreign media,” urged the Foreign Office.
“It is imperative that India implements the UN Security Council Resolutions on the right of Kashmiris to self-determination, without further prevarication.”
The statement also asserted Pakistan’s resolve to continue to “extend its full moral, political and diplomatic support to the suffering Kashmiri brothers and sisters” until their right to self-determination in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions is realized.