Afghan and Kashmir issues interlinked, says Qureshi | Pakistan Today

Afghan and Kashmir issues interlinked, says Qureshi

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Wednesday warned the world against isolating the situation in Afghanistan from that on the Indian front, saying both issues are interlinked.

He said this while addressing a press conference with Kashmir Committee Chairman Syed Fakhar Imam in the federal capital. The foreign minister said that the fifth meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Jammu and Kashmir was held on Wednesday to examine the situation in light of the US President Donald Trump’s offer of mediating the Kashmir dispute.

Qureshi said that Trump’s offer has given Pakistan a ray of hope in the backdrop of efforts to draw international attention to the human rights abuses in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), particularly the detailed international reports which highlight the humanitarian crisis in the disputed territory.

The foreign minister further said that it is important to realise that the situation in Afghanistan cannot be isolated from the situation on Indian border. He said that while Pakistan Army has been deployed on the Afghan border to secure the region and funds have been allocated in the budget to ensure the development of areas near the Afghan border, it is important to understand that the situation on the eastern border can have an impact on that as well.

“You are well aware of the human rights violations in IOK how it has been turned into the world’s most militarised zone, and how there is an excessive use of state power there. And how with the Pulwama incident India attempted to show us aggression and how we defended ourselves is also plain for all to see. Furthermore, it is known how they tried to play the ‘Pakistan card’ in their elections knowing full well that the situation is worsening in occupied Kashmir. Neither are they willing to undertake bilateral talks, nor are they receptive to a third party facilitation,” he said.

The foreign minister said that it is being speculated that India is planning to deploy more forces to the militarised zone and there is talk of a demographic change being sought by India’s ruling party.

It is worth mentioning here that BJP had attempted to artificially change Kashmir’s demography by repealing Articles 35-A and 370 of the Indian constitution. Article 370 provides an autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir and Article 35-A prevents settlements or the acquisition of immovable property by non-Kashmiris in the occupied territory. Petitions are pending in the Indian supreme court to nullify Articles 370 and 35-A and thus bring Kashmir on a par with states by stripping it of its “special status”.

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