The federal cabinet on Monday decided to send special envoys to selected countries in an effort to apprise the world about the brutalities and human rights abuses committed by Indian forces in held Kashmir.
The decision was taken in a special meeting of the federal cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbas, where the premier reviewed the situation arising from the recent Indian brutality and killings in India-held Kashmir.
In 2016, the PML-N government had sent 22 special envoys to various countries to plead the case of Kashmir. A statement issued by the PM House at the time had stated that the special envoys will have "the strength of Pakistani people, prayers from the Kashmiri people across the Line of Control, mandate of the parliament and support from the government".
The recent decision to send special envoys comes following the death of 20 people in held Kashmir over the weekend in some of the fiercest clashes this year in the region.
The federal cabinet also passed a resolution condemning the brutal and indiscriminate use of force by Indian forces that resulted in the death of Kashmiris in Shopian and Anantnag in held Kashmir, read a statement issue by the PM House.
The cabinet announced that April 6 will be observed as Kashmir Solidarity Day.
During the meeting, the cabinet reiterated the premier's request to the UN Secretary-General to appoint a Special Envoy for Jammu and Kashmir with a mandate flowing from the unimplemented UN Security Council resolutions.
Minister for Defence Khawaja Muhammad Asif also briefed the cabinet on the situation in held Kashmir and discussed Pakistan's efforts to garner the support of the international community for the Kashmir cause.
Meanwhile, General Qamar Javed Bajwa has reportedly said that Indian "atrocities in occupied Kashmir can never suppress a just indigenous political struggle of Kashmiris" for their right to self-determination.
Strike and fierce clashes
IHK saw security clampdown and a strike sponsored by separatists fighting against Indian rule after twenty people were killed in some of the fiercest clashes this year in the region on Sunday.
Besides, 13 Kashmiris described by Indian authorities as militants and three Indian soldiers died in several clashes south of Srinagar.
Another four Kashmiris were killed and scores of others injured when police opened fire on thousands of demonstrators who poured onto the streets, throwing stones and chanting slogans against Indian occupation.
Troops had used tear gas and pellet guns to disperse the crowd, and later opened fire. Most of the injured sustained pellet wounds, but six had gunshot wounds, said S.P. Vaid, the director general of police in India-held Kashmir.
Local residents have put the number of injured at over 50.
Thousands of Kashmiris hit the streets, raising anti-India slogans and demanding an end to Indian rule over the region as troops launched “anti-militant” operations in three southern villages.
By the time authorities handed over the bodies of some of the suspected militants to their families, tens of thousands had gathered to attend their funerals while shouting slogans like “Go India, go back” and “We want freedom”.
Vaid said the army received information on Saturday night about suspected militants hiding in an area near Dragad village in Shopian district, about 50km south of Srinagar.
In Dragad, seven bodies of suspected militants were recovered, including ‘top commanders’. “They were killed in a gun battle,” Vaid said, adding that the owner of the house in which they were trapped was also killed.
While eight of the dead were identified as local cadres of the area’s largest militant group, Hizbul Mujahideen, troops were still clearing off the rubble of a destroyed house at a third gun battle site where bodies of three suspected militants lay, Vaid said.
The area residents said soldiers had blasted several civilian homes with explosives while fighting the suspected militants.
Another suspected militant was killed in Dialgam village in Anantnag district, while one was arrested, Vaid said.
Two Indian soldiers and one civilian were killed in another gun battle in Kachdoora village, where a battle with a separate group of four to five suspected militants was ongoing, Vaid had said.
Foreign Office spokesman Dr Faisal had said that "this mindless killing spree had exposed, yet again, the ugly, inhuman face of the state-terrorism that India had been perpetrating against the Kashmiris for decades".
India and Pakistan each administer parts of Kashmir, but both claim the territory in its entirety. Rebels have been fighting against Indian rule since 1989. They demand that Kashmir be united either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.