All Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was placed under house arrest on Saturday a day ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Jammu and Kashmir. The development comes days after the new Pakistan government under Prime Minister Imran Khan reached out to the Hurriyat.
Mirwaiz, who tweeted of his arrest, said “panic buttons” were being pressed by the “authoritarian state”. He said, “Ahead of @narendramodi visit, panic buttons pressed by the authoritarian state and control tightened as searches and CASO conducted even in Lal Chowk! Today morning I was put under #HouseArrest !”
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had telephoned Mirwaiz last Tuesday to brief him on “the efforts of the government of Pakistan to highlight the gross human rights violations” in J&K. India had summoned Pakistan’s envoy over this unusual move saying that such actions are a “direct interference” in India’s internal affairs.
PM Modi is in Kashmir on Sunday, February 3. Separatist leaders have called for a complete shutdown in protest of his visit.
Mirwaiz told The Indian Express that Qureshi spoke of involving world capitals in highlighting the Kashmir issue. “He said, ‘We are very concerned about what is happening in Jammu and Kashmir’. The most important thing he said was that Prime Minister Imran Khan tried his best to reach out to the government of India but unfortunately there was no response… they will reach out to the next government after the elections.”
Pakistan, meanwhile, said it “categorically rejects the objections” by India. In a statement, its Foreign Ministry said, “This is not anything new,” reported news agency PTI.