Pakistan on Sunday said it was dedicating its Independence Day to Kashmir’s “freedom” and vowed to extend diplomatic, political and moral support to its people, provoking strong remonstrance from India, which contended the “only outstanding issue” was to liberate parts of the state under “illegal occupation of Islamabad”.
Rebuffing Pakistan’s proposal of sending supplies to the restive state, India also said it along with other coutnries in the region have already received enough of “trademark exports” from that country, including terrorism and infiltrators.
As several cities and towns in the Valley remained under curfew, Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit sought to fish in the troubled waters when he told a gathering that,”As far as Jammu and Kashmir is concerned, we are dedicating this year’s Independence Day to the freedom of Kashmir. And we firmly believe that the sacrifices made by the people of Jammu and Kashmir will not go in vain.
“The ongoing unrest should be ended. Pakistan will continue to extend its full diplomatic, political and moral support to the valiant people of Jammu and Kashmir till they get their right to self determination,” Basit told a function at the Pakistan High Commission organised to celebrate his country’s Independence day.
Basit said no matter “how much” force is used, the political aspirations of people of Jammu and Kashmir cannot be suppressed, and that the “freedom movement” will reach its logical conclusion.
Basit’s comments came on a day when Pakistani forces violated the ceasefire along the LoC in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir.
With ties between the two countries under severe strain, both the government and BJP reacted strongly to Basit’s remarks, with Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s office Jitendra Singh contending that the “only outstanding issue is how to liberate parts of J&K which is under illegal occupation of Islamabad.”
Singh said, “Our stand is very clear in the context of J&K issue. If at all there is any outstanding issue with Pakistan it is how to liberate the part of J&K which remains under illegal occupation of Islamabad after 60-65 years of Indpendence and make it a part of J&K and part of the Indian Union.
“Whatever goes on in Islamabad and on behalf of Pakistani authorities is a reflection of confusion and frustration they suffer from,” he said.
BJP attributed the Pakistani envoy’s “provocative” remarks on Kashmir to its “frustration” after Prime Minister Narendra Modi targeted it over atrocities against people in PoK and Balochistan.
“Pakistan is speaking out of frustration after Modi showed it the mirror over the atrocities being carried out by its army against people in Pak-occupied-Kashmir and Balochistan.
“India is exposing Pakistan at international level and has made it clear that talks will be now about the repression of people in PoK and how they can get rid of this,” BJP national secretary Shrikant Sharma said.
India also reacted sharply to a note verbale from Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry on Friday proposing to send supplies to Jammu and Kashmir. External Affairs Ministry “completely and categorically” rejected the communication from Pakistan.
“A communication was apparently delivered to our High Commission in Islamabad on August 12. I can only characterise its contents that propose sending supplies to the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir as absurd,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.
“India and others in the region have already received enough of Pakistan’s trademark exports — international terrorism, cross-border infiltrators, weapons, narcotics and fake currency,” he said.
In Islamabad, President Mamnoon Hussain, while addressing a gathering at a flag hoisting ceremony, also raised the Kashmir issue, saying the country will continue to support Kashmiris in their bid for the right to self-determination.
India and Pakistan have been engaged in a war of words over Pakistan and its Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s statements on the situation in Kashmir which has been witnessing unrest following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.
Wani was hailed as a martyr by Pakistan, which has also tried to internationalise the Kashmir issue while India has been maintaining that Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in the Valley at the root of the turbulence.
In his speech, Basit also sought to internationalise the Kashmir issue, saying nobody can “belittle” or wish away the “legitimate struggle” of the Kashmiri people and it was incumbent upon the international community to ensure implementation of the relevant UN resolutions to settle the dispute.