ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Tuesday rejected as “delusional” an Indian minister’s claim of integrating Azad Kashmir into India by 2024.
“Pakistan rejects the utterly delusional and provocative remarks made by a BJP minister hoping for the ‘integration’ of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) in India under the incumbent Indian government,” FO spokesman Asim Iftikhar said in a statement.
While speaking at a public event in Maharashtra’s Thane district on Saturday, Union Minister of State for Panchayati Raj Kapil Patil had said that Azad Kashmir would be integrated into India by 2024.
“Hope PoK (Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir) is integrated in India by 2024 as these things can be done only by PM (Narendra) Modi. For this we’ll have to come out of (the mindset for) potato, onions, pulses,” Patil had said while suggesting that Modi was in office for greater strategic goals and not dealing with inflation.
The FO spokesman said Indian politicians habitually dragged Pakistan into their domestic politics for diverting public attention from major issues and stoking hyper-nationalism and ultimately making electoral gains.
“They would be well-advised to desist from indulging in absurd fantasies and to actually take cognisance of the grave situation on ground in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.
Mr Iftikhar recalled that following the Indian government’s extreme repression after annexation of Occupied Jammu and Kashmir on Aug 5, 2019, the Kashmiris’ resistance to Indian occupation has continued to strengthen.
“The BJP ministers would do well to remind themselves that Jammu and Kashmir is an internationally recognised dispute on the agenda of the UN Security Council whose numerous resolutions stipulate that the final disposition of the State of Jammu and Kashmir will be made in accordance with the will of the people expressed through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of the United Nations,” he added.
The spokesman urged India to vacate the occupied territories and face accountability for the human rights excesses committed by its troops in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir instead of “entertaining any notions of aggrandisement”.
Published in Dawn, February 2nd, 2022