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Pakistan rejects Indian steps to change IOK’s demography

Top Story

April 3, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday strongly condemned and rejected the latest Indian action aimed at illegally changing the demographic structure of the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK).

Prime Minister Imran Khan termed the new Indian domicile law the latest illegal action to exploit the international focus on COVID-19 pandemic to push forward BJP’s Hindutva supremacist agenda. He described the new Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Order 2020 as a clear violation of the 4th Geneva Convention.

In a series of tweets, the prime minister not only rejected the latest Indian move but also called on the international community to stopIndia’s continuing violations of the UNSC resolutions and international law.

The prime minister wrote, “We stand with the Kashmiris in rejecting this latest Indian attempt to alter the demography of IOK. Pakistan will continue to expose Indian state terrorism& its denial of the Kashmiris right to self determination.”

He pointed out that that the timing of this latest illegal action was particularly reprehensible because it sought to exploit the international focus on COVID-19 pandemic to push forward BJP’s Hindutva supremacist agenda.

The prime minister emphasised that the UN and international community must stop India’s continuing violations of UNSC resolutions and international law.

“We strongly condemn the racist Hindutva supremacist Modi govt's continuing attempts to illegally alter the demography of IOK in violation of all international laws&treaties,” he maintained. The new Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Order 2020, he contended, was a clear violation of the 4th Geneva Convention.

The foreign office also condemned the Indian move. “The so-called ‘Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Order 2020’ is another illegal step by India to settle non-Kashmiris in IOK by changing the domicile laws. This is a clear violation of international law, including the 4th Geneva Convention,” said the Foreign Office.

At this point of time when the world is reeling under the COVID-19, India hopes that it can get away with this new law, but Pakistan is firm that India will not succeed in its nefarious designs to subjugate the Kashmiris against their wishes.

“The latest Indian action, at this moment of global health crisis, is particularly reprehensible as it seeks to take advantage of the international community’s focus on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and further advance BJP’s sinister, ‘Hindutva’ agenda,” pointed out the Foreign Office. It has been 242 days since the lockdown and communication blackout of the people in IOK.

While the world capitals look away Pakistan appealed to the United Nations and the international community to take immediate cognisance of this Indian action, prevent India from changing the demography of the occupied territory, and hold India accountable for its persistent violations of international law.

“This Indian action, a continuation of India’s illegal and unilateral steps since 5 August 2019, also constitutes a violation of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions, bilateral agreements between India and Pakistan, and humanitarian norms,” said the Foreign Office.

It pointed out that the Kashmiris in IOK have outrightly rejected the new law as unacceptable.

“Indeed, the Kashmiris will never accept such blatant usurpation of their fundamental rights and attempts to change their demography and distinct identity,” added the Foreign Office.

Pakistan has been consistently sensitising the international community about the BJP government’s designs for demographic change in IOK to perpetuate India’s illegal occupation of the disputed territory, manifestly against the wishes and aspirations of the Kashmiri people.

“On its part, Pakistan will continue to highlight India’s state terrorism in IOK, and its denial of the fundamental freedoms and inalienable right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people. No matter what its tactics, India will never be able to break the will of the Kashmiri people. Nor will India succeed in its nefarious designs to subjugate the Kashmiris against their wishes,” said the Foreign Office.

In the weekly media briefing, the spokesperson also pointed out to 55 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in IOK so far.

“It is one of the highest risk zones,” she said. In this regard, she pointed out Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had a detailed telephone conversation with Secretary General OIC Dr Yousef A Al-Othaimeen, on this subject in which the foreign minister highlighted that continued restrictions on communication and movement in IOK were preventing unfettered supply of medicines and other essentials, as well as dissemination of information needed to combat the disease. He also highlighted concerns regarding the possibility of spread of COVID-19 among the large number of Kashmiri youth incarcerated by India.

To a query about a large number of Chinese who have been returning to Pakistan working on CPEC projects, the spokesperson said that since the outbreak of COVID-19, Pakistan is in close coordination with the Chinese government. “The Chinese government is following a ‘double-quarantine’ policy for the officials of Chinese companies working on CPEC projects in Pakistan. Those officials travelling to Pakistan spend 14 days in quarantine in China before travelling to Pakistan and after reaching Pakistan, they remain in quarantine for 14 more days. Established medical procedures are also followed during the process,” she explained.

As more and more Pakistanis reach out wishing to return, the spokesperson said that the government is fully aware of the situation faced by our nationals as a result of travel bans imposed in different countries, including Pakistan, following the outbreak of COVID-19.

“PIA has operated special flights to bring back stranded Pakistanis from Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Qatar and Thailand. Plans for repatriation from Istanbul, Kuala Lumpur, Tashkent, Baku, Baghdad, London and Toronto have been finalised, while plans for repatriation of our nationals from other destinations is also under active consideration. As this is a dynamic and evolving situation, these plans will be reviewed regularly”, she explained.

Later, in a telephone call with Foreign Minister Qureshi, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Al Thani described Pakistan’s call for debt restructuring for developing countries as an important and timely initiative and stated that Qatar was supportive of it.

While speaking to the foreign minister, Secretary General Saarc Esala Ruwan Weerakoon appreciated Pakistan’s proposal of health ministers’ video conference.

Qureshi had in the phone call reiterated Pakistan’s readiness to host the Saarc Health Ministers’ Meeting and suggested that due to the prevailing global health emergency a video conference could be organised.