Attack on Hindu pilgrims a bid to discredit Kashmiri uprising: FO

Updated July 14, 2017

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FO spokesman Nafees Zakaria says a visa request by the mother of convicted Indian 
spy Kulbhushan Jadhav is under consideration.
FO spokesman Nafees Zakaria says a visa request by the mother of convicted Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav is under consideration.

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Thursday pointed the finger of suspicion at Indian authorities in the Amarnath Yatra attack and expressed the fear that it could be a ploy to discredit Kashmiri uprising against occupation.

“Indian agencies have a track record of staging false flag operations. Chattisinghpora massacre of 38 innocent Sikhs in March 2000 is a case in point ... India has for long tried to taint the indigenous Kashmiri movement for self-determination in IoK by equating it with terrorism,” FO spokesman Nafees Zakaria said at the weekly media briefing.

Seven Hindu pilgrims were killed on July 10 in a gun attack while returning from Amarnath. There have been conflicting reports about the circumstances of the attack, which India has blamed on Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Indian authorities further claimed that two of the suspected attackers, including the alleged mastermind Abu-Ismail, were Pakistanis.

Spokesman says India has committed 542 ceasefire violations so far this year

The spokesman condemned the attack and offered condolences to bereaved families and those injured in the attack.

Mr Zakaria recalled the condemnation of Amarnath Yatra attack by the Kashmiri leadership in the occupied valley and doubts being expressed by well-known Indian figures about who might be behind the attack.

“On social media, a number of Indians have highlighted that last time when Yatris were attacked was in August 2000 and at that time also the BJP was in the government. Some have pointed finger at RSS and BJP government, who want to put the blame on innocent Muslims. In this regard, @Sanjivbhatt, @SitaramYechury and @ShielaDixit are some of those who have tweeted on the incident,” he said.

He further recalled the discovery of 3,000 mass graves in 2009 during a probe by international rights activists.

“Their findings in a 112-page report established the fact that Indian occupation forces had been killing local Kashmiris, mostly youth, in fake encounters using false pretext of infiltration from LoC and the bogey of terrorism”.

Volatile LoC

The spokesman said that Indian belligerence was threatening regional peace and security.

One manifestation of Indian belligerence is the spike in ceasefire violations. India, according to the figures shared at the briefing, committed 542 ceasefire violations so far this year in which 18 civilians lost their lives.

Last year India reportedly breached ceasefire 382 times. The number of ceasefire violations had been increasing over the past few years, but the current trend is a break from the pattern.

“The villages and populated areas are being targeted by Indian occupation forces. India has deliberately escalated tension at the LoC and the Working Boundary in order to try to divert the international community’s attention from the grave situation in IoK,” the spokesman said.

Pakistan, he noted, has no desire to escalate the situation and its military had reacted with maximum restraint while responding to the ceasefire violations.

Emphasising the importance of UN Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) in monitoring the breaches, he said it was “paradoxical and farcical that India on the one hand alleges infiltration as an excuse for its ceasefire violations and at the same time prohibits UNMOGIP access”.

Chemical weapons

The FO had last week mentioned its concerns over reports that India might have used chemical munitions in occupied Kashmir against civilians.

Mr Zakaria at this week’s briefing asked international organisations working on the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) to “take note of the reports and investigate”.

Responding to a question, he said, visa request by the mother of convicted Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav was under consideration.

Jadhav has been sentenced to death for his involvement in espionage, subversive activities, terrorism and terrorism financing in Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, July 14th, 2017