ISLAMABAD – Pakistan on Thursday rejected as “illegal and void” the formal bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories and said the purpose of these “unilateral changes” is to alter its demographic structure.
Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated on Thursday into two union territories — Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh — in accordance with the Indian government’s August 5 announcement revoking the state’s special status under Article 370.
“Changing of status quo in Kashmir is in complete violation of the UN Security Council Resolutions and Bilateral Agreements between India and Pakistan, especially the Shimla Agreement,” the Foreign Office (FO) said in a statement.
It said that Kashmir was an internationally recognised disputed territory and no step by the government of India can change this.
“These changes are illegal and void as per the relevant UNSC Resolutions, and do not prejudice the right to self-determination” of the Kashmiri people, the statement said.
The FO said Pakistan would particularly underline that the measures announced by India on August 5 were forced upon the people of Kashmir by turning the region into a prison by over 900,000 Indian security forces, where people were under illegal detention.
“An iron curtain remains in place on more than 8 million Kashmiri people snapping their communications with the outside world. Curfew remains imposed and movement of people restricted, it said.
The illegal and unilateral changes effected by India are in no way an “internal matter” as the Jammu and Kashmir dispute remains on the agenda of the Security Council, it said.
The FO said the purpose of these illegal changes was neither development of the region nor welfare of the Kashmiri people, as the real motive “was to alter the demographic structure of the Muslim majority state in pursuance of the extremist Hindutva ideology”.
It asked the international community to take notice the transfer of civilian population from outside into Kashmir in violation of the international laws particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Pakistan said that the people of Kashmir will never accept the illegal and forceful and the unilateral actions by India would only further aggravate the human rights situation.
The FO called upon India to “withdraw its military forces from the region, remove draconian laws, restore basic human rights of the people, free all detainees, lift all restrictions on the free movement and communications, allow unimpeded and full access to the UN and other international human rights observers, including independent foreign media”.
“It is imperative that India implements the UN Security Council Resolutions on the right of Kashmiris to self-determination, without further prevarication,” it said.
Pakistan would continue to extend its full moral, political and diplomatic support to the suffering Kashmiris until the realization of the inalienable right to self-determination, in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions, the statement said.