–FO spokesperson says disputed valley has turned into world’s largest prison
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Sunday rejected India’s attempts to portray a totally false impression of normalcy in occupied Kashmir and said that the disputed valley continued to be the largest prison in the world with the heaviest deployment of military forces.
In a statement, the Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson rejected the claims made by the Indian national security Adviser Ajit Doval in his recent briefing and said that despite Indian claims of normalcy, there was curfew in the region.
“Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) continues to be the largest prison in the world with the heaviest deployment of Indian occupation forces since the coercive, unilateral and illegal Indian actions of August 5, 2019 aimed at altering the internationally recognised disputed status of IOK and changing its demographic structure to preempt the results of a UN plebiscite,” the spokesperson said.
He said that the Kashmiri leaders, especially Hurriyat leadership remained under house arrest or imprisoned. The international media and credible human rights organisations continued to highlight the humanitarian nightmare including arbitrary arrests of innocent Kashmiris, kidnapping of hundreds of young boys by Indian occupation forces to coerce their parents into submission, he added.
The FO spokesperson also said that media had also been highlighting the communication blockade (suspension of landlines, mobile phones and internet services) and restrictions on freedom of media in the valley.
“Shops remain closed, Kashmiris are unable to offer Friday prayers in mosques and there are credible reports of shortage of food items, including baby food and essential medicines,” he said.
Contrary to Indian claims, he said that the use of pellet guns continued in a brutal assault by Indian occupation forces against innocent Kashmiris.
“India has failed to justify why Kashmiris are unable to get in touch with their loved ones through the iron curtain forced by India on IOK, inhumanly cutting off more than 8 million Kashmiris from the rest of the world, since August 5, 2019,” he said.
Such Indian actions had prompted the international community and international human rights organisations, including Amnesty International to question Indian assertions of “normalcy”, including the denial of permission to the Indian opposition leaders themselves to visit IOK, he added.
The FO spokesperson further said, “The Government of India is exerting a completely authoritarian and dictatorial control over all information coming out of IOK, distorting truth and twisting facts in a desperate attempt to promote its own narrative, which is in total contrast to the ground realities, as consistently corroborated by reports in the international media,” the spokesperson said.
Most recently, he said, India had attempted to pass off a false and fabricated story, including during an Indian army presser on September 4, 2019, wherein it blamed the deaths of some Kashmiris in IOK on “Pakistani militants.”
The Indian NSA has also been trying to justify increasingly frequent reports of Kashmiri casualties by blaming them unsuccessfully on Pakistan.
He said that in a farcical attempt to twist truth, Indian army tried to portray two Pakistanis, Mohammad Nazeem and Khalil Ahmed, who had inadvertently crossed the LoC near Hajipir on August 21, 2019 as “militants.” This was despite the fact that the incident was discussed during the weekly military hotline contact between both sides on August 27, 2019 when Indian authorities acknowledged that they were inadvertent crossers and informed Pakistan that routine formalities were taking place after which they would be returned.
“Such devious tactics reflect Indian desperation and attempts to shift international attention from the humanitarian nightmare in IOK,” he commented.
The spokesperson said that Pakistan had consistently sensitised the international community about the danger of a false flag operation by India to shift attention and apportion blame to Pakistan for its indefensible actions in IOK.
Instead of indulging in fabricated stories, he said, India should comply with international obligations and immediately cease its atrocities against innocent Kashmiris, lift the communication blockade and allow international fact finding missions, including the OHCHR and the OIC IPHRC and international media to visit IOK to distinguish facts from fiction.