Pakistan PM says India planning military action in Azad Kashmir

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Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses Kashmir's Legislative Assembly on the occasion of Pakistan's Independence Day, in Muzaffarabad, capital of Azad Kashmir, Wednesday, August 14, 2019. (Photo Credit: Reuters)
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Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses Kashmir's Legislative Assembly on the occasion of Pakistan's Independence Day, in Muzaffarabad, capital of Azad Kashmir, Wednesday, August 14, 2019. (Photo Credit: PID)
Updated 15 August 2019
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Pakistan PM says India planning military action in Azad Kashmir

  • “Strategic blunder” by Indian PM to revoke special status of Jammu and Kashmir, impose lockdown, Khan says
  • Warns Modi will pay “heavy price” for his actions against Kashmiris, Pakistan army “fully aware” of Indian plans

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Wednesday India was planning military action in Azad Kashmir, referring to the portion of the Himalayan region administered by Pakistan, adding that the international community and multilateral organizations like the United Nations would be responsible for any Indian misadventures in Pakistan. 
India revoked the special status of its portion of Kashmir on August 5 and moved to quell widespread unrest by shutting down communications and clamping down on freedom of movement. Islamabad has retaliated by suspending bilateral trade and all public transport links with India, as well as expelling New Delhi’s top envoy to Islamabad.
On Wednesday as Pakistan celebrated its 73rd Independence Day, Khan traveled to Muzaffarabad, the capital of Azad Kashmir, in his first visit to the region since becoming Pakistan’s leader in 2018. 
Khan said India planned more extensive action against Pakistan than in February this year when its fighter jets struck inside Pakistan, following a dramatic escalation in tensions.
“They have made a more horrendous plan to divert world attention from their move-in Kashmir, they plan action in Azad Kashmir,” Khan said in his speech to parliament in Muzaffarabad. “The Pakistani army is fully aware that they (India) have made a plan of taking action in Azad Kashmir.”
The PM added that the international community would be responsible for any misadventure against Pakistan by India as Islamabad had repeatedly brought the matter to its notice: “It is now their [international community and United Nations] trial … over a billion Muslims of the world are looking toward the UN for the right to self-determination of Kashmiris and plebiscite in the territory.”
India rules the populous Kashmir Valley and the Hindu-dominated region around Jammu city, while Pakistan controls Azad Kashmir, a wedge of territory in the west. China holds a thinly populated high-altitude area in the north.
India and Pakistan have fought three wars over Kashmir since gaining independence from colonial power Great Britain in 1947, They came close to another one in February after a deadly attack on Indian police by a Pakistan-based militant group resulted in airstrikes by both countries. Pakistan denies state complicity in the attack and has since launched a widespread crackdown against violent and banned organizations within its borders. 
India’s revocation of special status for Jammu and Kashmir blocks the state’s right to frame its own laws and allows non-residents to buy property there. Modi’s government argues that the old laws prohibiting people from outside Kashmir from buying property, settling there and taking up government jobs had hindered its development.
Restrictions were lifted in five districts of Jammu and nine districts of Kashmir on Monday, India’s home ministry said, adding that security would be heightened for both countries’ Independence Day celebrations and Muslim Friday prayers.
In Islamabad, posters urged residents to express solidarity with Kashmiris and roadside vendors sold Azad Kashmir flags as well as the Pakistan flag commonly displayed on August 14.
Khan called India’s decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and impose a subsequent lockdown on the Kashmiri people a “strategic blunder.”
“Narendra Modi has made a strategic blunder,” the PM said. “He has played his final card, and Modi will now have to pay a heavy price for it. Modi has internationalized the Kashmir issue [through his actions], and now the world’s eyes are on it,” Khan added, vowing to become “an ambassador for Kashmir to raise the voice [of the oppressed].”
Khan also repeated earlier comments comparing the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological parent of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, to the German Nazi Party.
“We are faced with a terrifying ideology – the Hindu nationalist RSS party’s ideology, which Modi has been a member of from childhood,” Khan said. “In this ideology, like Hitler’s Nazi Party, they [BJP] believe in the racial superiority of Hindus and believe in taking revenge from Muslims who ruled them for 600 years.”
“The time has come that we will now teach you [India] a lesson,” Khan said. “Don’t remain in an illusion … you have played your last card and Kashmir will now move toward freedom.”
Representatives of India’s armed forces and its foreign ministry have not responded to Khan’s remarks.


Jammu and Kashmir: A disputed state under siege 

Updated 22 August 2019
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Jammu and Kashmir: A disputed state under siege 

  • New Delhi fears protests if communication is restored and presence of troops scaled down in Kashmir
  • There is widespread anger and resentment among the people of the disputed region

SRINAGAR: It’s been more than two weeks since Indian administered Kashmir has been facing a security lockdown and prohibitory order. 
Markets in major parts of the Muslim majority region of Jammu and Kashmir are shut amid a communication blackout. 
Kashmiris have been barred from using any form of technology to communicate and denied even a basic phone call.
New Delhi’s decision on August 5 to abrogate two articles of the Indian constitution, Article 370 and 35-A, that gave the disputed state a special autonomous status under the Indian union has brought the Kashmir valley to a standstill.
The Modi administration has imposed strict prohibitor orders, reinforcing parliamentary troops to man each and every nook and corner of the valley.
The administration governing the Kashmiri districts relaxed the prohibitory order on August 19, allowing schools to reopen. It also restored some telephone landlines.
However, protests in some parts of Srinagar and Kashmiri towns forced the government to reimpose the communication ban. 
The schools remain empty days after reopening. 
People are gripped in fear. Uncertainty looms. Reports suggest that grieved communities have resorted to civil disobedience by keeping markets shuttered down and not sending their children to school.
There is widespread anger and resentment among the people. Majority of the Kashmiris feel let down by the government’s decision to strike down the special status passing a rush decree to annex their state without holding a plebiscite.
They say that their identity has been attacked and it’s not possible to live under abject humiliation.
Modi’s government fears large scale protests and resistance if communication is fully restored and the presence of troops is scaled down. 
If violence erupts, New Delhi fears that it stands to lose its political narrative domestically and internationally.
Jammu and Kashmir remains on edge. A disputed state divided between, India and Pakistan but fully claimed by both is under siege on New Delhi’s orders which has violated the UN charter.
It remains to be seen how long the Indian paramilitary forces will be able to contain the growing anger and angst among the local populace of the Muslim-majority region under Indian rule.