Pakistan denounces bids to reduce Muslims into minority in IIOJ&K

August 20, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday, while rejecting the deliberate Indian attempts of pre-poll rigging and overt manipulation in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir, called upon the...

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday, while rejecting the deliberate Indian attempts of pre-poll rigging and overt manipulation in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir, called upon the international community to take immediate cognizance of the blatant Indian attempts at effecting illegal demographic changes in the IIOJK and to hold India to account.

It pointed out that the move reeks of a blatant attempt to undermine the disputed status of Jammu and Kashmir and the sinister design of turning the Muslim majority in IIOJK into a minority.

“The latest announcement of permitting even temporary residents in the occupied territory, including outside workforce and security personnel, to register as “voters” is a clear manifestation of the treacherous Indian design to influence the outcome of ‘so-called’ elections in the IIOJK”, said a spokesman at the Foreign Office.

In the background is announcement by the local Election Commission in IIOJK that around 2.5 million voters who will vote for the first time will be registered but they are non-natives. “Yet another big fraud being inflicted upon the people of Indian Occupied Kashmir,” remarked Jalil Abbas Jilani, former foreign secretary.

Even Indians like Ashok Swain, Professor of Peace and Conflict Research tweeted, “To win the election in Kashmir, they are bringing in 2.5 million non-local voters to vote for them. When you fail to buy them, or when you fail to win hearts and minds, the new formula is you import the voters!”

The spokesman pointed out that Pakistan reiterates its complete rejection of India’s entire litany of steps aimed at turning the Muslim majority in IIOJK into a minority -- including the formulation of the so-called ‘delimitation’ commission and its baseless report, the issuance of fake Kashmiri domiciles to millions of outsiders, and changes in the property laws.

Later at the weekly media briefing, he added: “Despite its reprehensible measures that have followed the illegal and unilateral actions of 5 August 2019, India will not be able to break the will of the Kashmiri people or to mislead the world community”.

In this regard, Pakistan cautioned India and insisted it must desist from all actions in the IIOJK that violate the international law, the UN Charter, and the 4th Geneva Convention.

“India must also release all political prisoners detained on trumped-up charges, halt human rights violations in the IIOJK, lift the brutal military siege, and let the Kashmiris exercise their legitimate right to self-determination as stipulated in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions,” demanded the spokesman.

He pointed out that it was time for the international community to bring its moral force to bear with the Hindutva inspired BJP government of India today and to call for immediate halt of reprehensible state-backed violence, and to play its due role in ensuring a just and peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people.

Commenting on Pak-US relations, the spokesman underlined that both countries are moving forward with this relationship. “We want to broaden and diversify it. Various dialogue and mechanisms of exchange are already there. There is mutual understanding at both ends that this is an important relationship. We need to strengthen this and I think there is this understanding also that whenever Pakistan and the US cooperate as they have cooperated in the past it has been very beneficial for both countries and for the region. We continue to discuss the situation in Afghanistan also”.

The spokesman said it was time to move on from the Cybergate episode and Pakistan has been consistent on this. “The kind of activities that are taking place, there are very intense, regular interactions and at various levels. Various interactions that the foreign ministers have had, the recent visit of CENTOM chief, the kind of assistance that is there from the US in various fields. Don’t forget the support that we received in the past two years for the COVID response - that was very important,” he added.

In this regard he pointed out that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the political leadership recognise that, and there is similar recognition at the other end in Washington, which recognises that this is an important relationship, which has to be built on the basis of trust, mutual interest and mutual benefit.

“We will continue to do that,” he added. When asked about reports that Pakistan is providing ammunition and tanks via British Royal Air Force and there is an air bridge established between Pakistan and Romania for that purpose, the spokesman responded, “I am not here to comment or respond to what I refer to as open source content and unverified information. So I have no comment on that”.

As the US announcement made recently that it was not ready to release any funds to Afghanistan, Pakistan’s position remained that Afghan assets abroad should be de-frozen and allowed to be utilised for the benefit of the Afghan people.

“Some steps were initially taken by the US administration in that regard and we welcomed that. I think we would welcome any further steps that the administration would take in that regard. We, in fact, encourage that. I think there is a situation in Afghanistan that needs to be addressed with some sense of urgency”, he said.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto will be touring Berlin, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo from August 21-27. “These visits manifest continuing intense engagement and diplomacy by Pakistan,” said the spokesman without giving any details.

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