close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

Pakistan

Web Desk
January 13, 2020

Foreign envoys' IoK visit 'important' but US still 'concerned' about detentions, restrictions: Alice Wells

Pakistan

Web Desk
Mon, Jan 13, 2020
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells. Photo: File 

The in-charge of South and Central Asian affairs at the US State Department, Alice Wells, stated on Saturday that Washington was "closely following" the recent trip of foreign diplomats to Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK) and "remains concerned" regarding the lockdown and restrictions imposed in the valley.

In a message posted on Twitter by the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs at the US Department of State, Wells deemed the trip of foreign envoys to the IoK an "important step" but expressed concerns regarding the detention of Kashmiri leaders and residents.

"Closely following US Ambassador to India and other foreign diplomats’ recent trip to Jammu and Kashmir. Important step. We remain concerned by detention of political leaders and residents, and Internet restrictions. We look forward to a return to normalcy," she wrote on the micro-blogging site.

Wells' South Asia visit

The statement from Wells comes just a few days before she starts a 10-day visit to the region, during which she will travel to Sri Lanka, India, and Pakistan, from January 13-22. 

She is scheduled to arrive in Pakistan on January 19 for a three-day visit, the US state department had previously said.

In Islamabad, she will meet senior Pakistani government officials and members of civil society to discuss issues of bilateral and regional concern. Before arriving in Islamabad, Wells will be in Sri Lanka from January 13-14, during which she will interact with high-ranking officials.

Wells will then travel to India, from January 15-18 to meet senior government officials and to advance the US-India strategic global partnership, according to the US state department. 

Wells had last visited Islamabad in August 2019, barely a few days after the Indian government had rushed through a presidential decree to abolish Article 370 of the Indian Constitution that granted special status to Indian occupied Kashmir, formally integrating the valley into India.

Following the revocation, a military curfew and communications blockade had been enforced in the valley and hundreds of thousands of Indian troops deployed to crush dissent. Several political leaders, including two former chief ministers, and thousands others had been arrested.

Indian Supreme Court labels internet ban as 'unconstitutional'

The Supreme Court of India had ruled on Friday that shutting down internet in occupied Kashmir was unconstitutional in a rebuke for the government to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

An indefinite suspension of the internet is a violation of the telecoms rules of the country, the court said, ordering authorities in occupied Kashmir to review all curbs within seven days.

Foreign diplomats had visited IoK a day before the top court ruling for the first time since August, but some European nations and others declined to go after being refused permission to travel independently.

The trip included meetings with the army, politicians, civil society groups and journalists selected by the security services, two officials familiar with the plans said.

The diplomats were not given access to Omar Abdullah or Mehbooba Mufti, the leaders of the two political parties, currently under detention, that have historically dominated occupied Kashmir.