Polls in Kashmir are ‘Sham’, says Pakistan

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Islamabad: In what could well worsen ties between the two neighbouring nations, Pakistan on Sunday issued a statement condemning what it called the ‘brutal killing’ of eight people during poll violence in Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan further dubbed the incident as a ‘sham’. The remarks were made in a statement issued by the Pakistani Foreign Office.

 

The by-poll for Srinagar Lok Sabha seat saw a dismal voter turnout of 7.14 per cent. This is the lowest in 30 years. The streets of Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal districts, saw mobs stone pelting polling booths and also throwing petrol bombs. A polling station was also set ablaze by miscreants. Separatists have called for a bandh on Monday and Tuesday.

 

The statement by Pakistan further read: “Mr Sartaj Aziz strongly condemned the brutal killing of 8 youths, including a 12th grade student” by Indian forces (Sunday) when they opened fire on “peaceful demonstrators” protesting against the “sham Indian parliamentary elections”. It added that the “abysmally low” voter turnout, was a “tangible indication” that Hurriyat leadership and the people of Jammu and Kashmir have categorically rejected the “sham elections”. Further, it alleged that India “continues to deny

fundamental human rights” to the people of Kashmir.

 

The Foreign Office said the elections cannot be an alternative to the right to self-determination promised to the people of Jammu and Kashmir under the numerous UNSC resolutions.

 

In a move that is likely to see a strong reaction from India, the statement by Pakistan said: “We call upon the international community to urge India to put an immediate end to the ongoing bloodshed of innocent Kashmiris and behave as a responsible member of the international community by honouring its commitments to hold a transparent, free and fair plebiscite under the auspices of the UN in accordance with the UNSC resolutions to ascertain the wishes of the Kashmiri people.”

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