India behind stock exchange attack, NA told

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AMRITSAR: Vehicles carrying officials of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi and their families arrive near the Wagah border crossing on Tuesday. They were returning to Pakistan after the two neighbours recently decided to slash their diplomatic staff by half.—AFP
AMRITSAR: Vehicles carrying officials of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi and their families arrive near the Wagah border crossing on Tuesday. They were returning to Pakistan after the two neighbours recently decided to slash their diplomatic staff by half.—AFP

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has told the National Assembly that there is little doubt India masterminded and backed the attack on the Pakistan Stock Exchange on Monday.

In his address on Tuesday evening, PM Khan said India wanted to destabilise Pakistan and create “uncertainty” here.

Mr Khan in a letter to the UN secretary general drew his attention to the continued brutalisation of people in Occupied Kashmir.

He said his “cabinet ministers knew about the threats and that the intelligence agencies were on high alert. Our agencies pre-empted at least four major attempts of terrorism and two of them were around Islamabad”.

The prime minister said foiling the attack on the Karachi bourse was a “huge achievement”, which happened because of intelligence agencies. “We were fully prepared ... this was a huge win for us,” said Mr Khan while praising the intelligence agencies.

PM asks UN to stop New Delhi’s attempts to alter occupied Kashmir demography

Earlier in a tweet, Mr Khan said he had approached United Nations Secretary General António Guterres to stop India from altering the occupied Jammu and Kashmir’s demography and said the issuance of Kashmir domiciles to Indian nationals was “unacceptable”. He tweeted: “I have approached UN secretary general and am reaching out to other world leaders. India must be stopped from this unacceptable path that further usurps the legal & internationally guaranteed rights of the Kashmiri people & seriously imperils peace and security in South Asia.”

In another tweet, Mr Khan said Indian attempts to “alter IOJK’s demographic structure including by issuance of domicile certificates to 25,000 Indian nationals are all illegal, in violation of UNSC resolutions and international law, including 4h Geneva Convention.”

In April, India had promulgated a new law that relaxed domicile rules for the Valley and eligibility criteria for employment in the region. The order titled Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (adaptation of state laws) Order 2020, and subsequently-issued Jammu and Kashmir Grant of Domicile Certificate (Procedure), 2020 rendered Indians who have resided in the occupied region for 15 years or have studied there for seven years and appeared in Class 10 and 12 examinations eligible for Valley’s domicile.

Since mid-May, India has reportedly issued around 25,000 domiciles to non-Kashmiris. Although Pakistan has been frequently speaking out against the Indian moves, it came to limelight after a copy of domicile issued to Navin Kumar Choudhary, an Indian bureaucrat hailing from State of Bihar, went viral on social media.

India had revoked Articles 370 and 35-A in August 2019, ending autonomous status of the occupied territory and removing the barrier for Indians to buy and own properties there. These actions and the latest move to relax domicile and employment criteria were seen suspiciously as designed to alter the demography of the Valley. Non-Kashmiris, it is feared, would flood into the region to diminish Muslim majority there.

This could affect the plebiscite in Kashmir, under the auspices of the United Nations, whenever it is held, to determine the choice of Kashmiris with regards to their future status.

These fears looked to have been proven true after reports that India had already issued thousands of domicile certificates in the past few weeks.

The Foreign Office had earlier denounced the issuance of the Valley domiciles to outsiders as “illegal and void”. The FO had then said that the issuance of domiciles had vindicated Pakistan’s stance that Indian government was aiming to change the demographic structure of IOJ&K and turn Kashmiris into a minority in their own land. This, it maintained, has long been part of the RSS-BJP’s ‘Hindutva’ agenda.

Published in Dawn, July 1st, 2020