ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office (FO) on Thursday condemned “fake encounters” by Indian forces in occupied Kashmir and urged the world to hold Delhi accountable for its “illegal actions”.
Speaking at the weekly televised briefing, FO spokesperson Aisha Farooqui, without naming Naikoo, said the internet has again been shut down in the occupied valley after a “local Kashmiri resistance fighter” was slain in an encounter with Indian security forces and pellet guns and live bullets were fired on protesters, causing the death of another “innocent Kashmiri” and wounding of several others.
These Indian actions are highly condemnable, she said.
Riyaz Naikoo, a Kashmiri fighter, was killed by Indian forces in Pulwama district along with one of his associates. He had succeeded Burhan Wani, who was killed in 2016, as the commander of banned Hizbul Mujahideen group. The incident happened after eight security forces personnel were killed in two incidents in Handwara.
Naikoo’s killing sparked protests in various parts of the occupied valley.
The spokesperson said Pakistan strongly condemns the ongoing state terrorism and extrajudicial killings of innocent Kashmiris in so-called “cordon-and-search” operations in occupied Jammu and Kashmir. In an “inhuman practice”, she said, the remains of the fighters were not being returned to their families.
Twenty-nine Kashmiris were killed last month by the occupation forces in the valley, several others lost their lives because of excessive use of force by troops there since the start of May.
She recalled that 277 days have passed since the forcible annexation of the valley last August. The disputed region has endured heightened oppression, inhuman lockdown and military siege since then. The rights abuses, she said, have continued relentlessly despite a surge in Covid-19 cases.
“It is a matter of grave concern that the situation in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir continues to deteriorate due to the brutal military crackdown by Indian occupied forces,” Ms Farooqui said.
She said India needed to realise that resistance in the valley had grown because of “oppression and brutalisation” of Kashmiris. “India cannot break the will of the Kashmir people and suppress their indigenous resistance movement through the use of force,” she added.
Rejecting Indian allegations of “infiltration”, the spokesperson said those were designed to divert attention from grave human rights violations in IOJ&K and to create a pretext for a “false flag” operation. “While sensitising the international community about such a possibility, we have consistently urged India to refrain from any ill-considered and irresponsible move which could have serious implications for peace and security in the region,” she recalled.
Ms Farooqui also said the international community should take note of the worsening rights situation and hold India accountable for its illegal actions, which are imperilling peace and stability in South Asia.“We also urge the world community to work for ensuring the peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the United Nations Security Council resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people,” she further said.
Published in Dawn, May 8th, 2020