17 | AGO | 2019
Kashmir tensions intensify amid India-Pakistan conflict
People hold signs and shout slogans during a protest after the government scrapped the special status for Kashmir, in New Delhi, India - Photo: Danish Siddiqui/REUTERS

Kashmir tensions intensify amid India-Pakistan conflict

07/08/2019
16:00
Reuters
Islamabad/Muzaffarabad
Asif Shahzad, Abu Arqam Naqash, & Devjyot Ghoshal 6 MIN READ
-A +A
Pakistan said it was considering further diplomatic and military pressure on India after the Hindu-majority nation stripped its portion of contested Kashmir of special status

Pakistan said on Tuesday it was considering further diplomatic and military pressure on India after the Hindu-majority nation stripped its portion of contested Kashmir of special status.

India on Monday dropped a constitutional provision for the state of Jammu and Kashmir, which has long been a flashpoint in ties with neighboring Pakistan, to make its own laws.

Nuclear arch-rivals India and Pakistan both claim Muslim-majority Kashmir in full but rule it in part. They have fought two wars over the territory and came close to a third this year after a car bomb set off by a Pakistan-based militant group killed dozens of Indian paramilitary police.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Tuesday India’s removal of special status for Kashmir, which included prohibiting outsiders from owning property, was an attempt to alter the demographics of the region and was illegal under international law.

“We will fight it at every forum. We’re thinking how we can take it to International Court (of Justice)... to the United Nations Security Council,” Khan said in an address to Pakistan’s parliament.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi wrote to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Tuesday, accusing India of violating Security Council resolutions on Kashmir.

Qureshi is returning early from the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia as a result of the crisis, the foreign ministry said.

India maintains its actions in Kashmir are legal both under domestic and international law.

Earlier on Tuesday, Pakistan’s army chief said the country’s military will “go to any extent” to support people in the region.

“Pakistan Army firmly stands by the Kashmiris in their just struggle to the very end,” said General Qamar Javed Bajwa after meeting with top commanders in Rawalpindi.

We are prepared and shall go to any extent to fulfill our obligations in this regard,” he added, without elaborating further.

In Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir around 45km (28 miles) from the contested border between the neighbors, protests continued for a second day with hundreds of people including children shouting anti-India slogans.

In the Neelum Valley, which sits on the border and has seen heavy shelling between the two countries in recent weeks, there was a shutdown of shops and businesses in protest at India’s decision.

Many people in Kashmir have relatives on both sides of the border, but people on the Pakistani side say they have been unable to contact those in India for several days after New Delhi restricted internet and phone access.
 

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On Wednesday, Pakistan said it would expel India’s ambassador and suspend bilateral trade with its arch-rival.

Neighbors China and Pakistan, which both claim parts of Kashmir, have voiced fierce opposition to India’s removal of a constitutional provision that had allowed the country’s only Muslim-majority state to make its own laws.

Moin-ul-Haq, Pakistan’s newly appointed ambassador to India, has yet to take up his post but will now not move to New Delhi, while Indian Ambassador Ajay Bisaria will be expelled, Islamabad said in a statement on Wednesday.

India accuses Pakistan of training and arming Islamist militants fighting its rule in Kashmir. Islamabad denies the allegation and says it only gives moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri people in their struggle for self-determination.

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