ISLAMABAD: Pakistan summoned Indian Charge d’ Affaires Gaurav Ahlu­walia to the Foreign Office for the second consecutive day on Sunday and conveyed it categorically rejects Indian attempts, including the recent briefing by the Indian national security adviser (NSA), seeking to portray a totally false impression of normalcy in India-held Kashmir.

According to a statement issued by the Foreign Office, Pakistan’s message was delivered to Mr Ahluwalia by Director General South Asia and Saarc, and FO spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal.

Mr Ahluwalia had earlier been summoned on Saturday to formally register a protest over the ongoing violations of the Line of Control by India.

Asks Delhi to comply with international obligations

The statement says that most recently, India attempted to pass off a false and fabricated story, including during an Indian army presser on Sept 4, blaming the deaths of some Kashmiris in India-held Kashmir on “Pakistani militants”.

It says that Indian NSA Ajit Doval has also been trying to justify increasingly frequent reports of Kashmiri casualties by blaming them unsuccessfully on Pakistan.

“In a farcical attempt to twist the truth, Indian army tried to portray two Pakistanis, Mohammad Nazeem and Khalil Ahmed, who had inadvertently crossed the LoC near Hajipir on August 21 as ‘militants’, it says, adding: “This was despite the fact that the incident was discussed during the weekly military hotline contact between both sides on August 27 when Indian authorities acknowledged that they were inadvertent crossers and informed Pakistan that routine formalities are taking place after which they will be returned.”

Such devious tactics reflect Indian desperation and attempts to shift international attention from the humanitarian nightmare in held Kashmir, it says.

Pakistan has 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 held Kashmir.

Instead of indulging in fabricated stories, 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 Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission and international media to visit held Kashmir to distinguish facts from fiction.

The FO statement says that held Kashmir 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 aimed at altering the internationally recognised disputed status of Indian occupied Kashmir and changing its demographic structure to preempt the results of a UN plebiscite.

“Despite Indian claims, curfew continues,” it says, adding that “Kashmiri leaders, especially the Hurriyat leadership, remain under house arrest/imprisoned.”

It says that international media and credible human rights organisations continue to highlight the humanitarian nightmare (which has only intensified after more than five weeks) including arbitrary arrests of innocent Kashmiris, kidnapping of hundreds of young boys by Indian occupation forces to coerce their parents into submission, communication blockade (suspension of landlines, mobile phones and internet services) and restrictions/curbs on freedom of media.

“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,” says the FO statement.

Contrary to Indian claims, it says, the use of pellet guns continues to be used against the 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 occupied Kashmir, inhumanly cutting off more than eight million Kashmiris from the rest of the world, since August 5, prompting 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 to visit occupied valley.

“The government of India is exerting a completely authoritarian and dictatorial control over all the information coming out of occupied Kashmir, 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,” says the FO statement.

Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2019