Pakistan says it will exercise all possible options to counter ‘illegal steps’ taken by India in IoK
Pakistan on Monday said that it would "exercise all possible options to counter the illegal steps" taken by India regarding Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK).
The comments came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government introduced plans to weaken the special rights of residents in occupied Kashmir, amid heavy deployment of security forces and suspension of phone and internet services in the valley.
In a press release, the Foreign Office (FO) strongly condemned and rejected the move by the Indian government, stressing that IoK was internationally recognised as a disputed territory.
"No unilateral step by the Government of India can change this disputed status, as enshrined in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions," read the statement. "The decision will never be acceptable to the people of IoK and Pakistan."
"As the party to this international dispute, Pakistan will exercise all possible options to counter the illegal steps," the statement read while reaffirming Pakistan's commitment to the Kashmiri cause.
A meeting of the Parliamentary Committee of Kashmir will be held at the Parliament House at 2pm today.
According to Radio Pakistan, the meeting, chaired by committee chairman Syed Fakhar Imam, will discuss the situation in IoK and the use of cluster bombs on civilians by Indian forces.
'A dangerous game being played'
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, while speaking to DawnNewsTV, said that if the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government of India felt that their policies were effective, they would not have imposed governor's rule or conducted politics through presidential orders.
"If they have turned IoK and Ladhak into union territories, it is evident that they have lost hope [...] Kashmiris that used to support them earlier are also in jail or under house arrest.
"Today, India has once again revived and internationalised the Kashmir issue. This will not solve the problem, rather it will escalate it," he warned.
"They will never be able to repress the issue.
"Time will show what a dangerous game has been played."
Qureshi said that the entire international community needed to condemn the Indian move.
Joint session of parliament
Opposition leaders on Monday called for a joint session of parliament to be scheduled in light of the developments.
In a post shared on Twitter, Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said: "Atrocities in IoK unabated. Extremist Indian government's intentions clear. President must immediately summon joint session of parliament in wake of Indian aggression in IoK."
Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif strongly condemned the Indian government's "attempt to revoke Article 370" as he called for a joint session of parliament. He said that after reviewing the situation, a comprehensive strategy should be formulated.
The PML-N president added that Pakistan should also immediately call for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.
"This is a matter of Pakistan's national interest, all of Pakistan is united. The time has come for Pakistan's political and military leadership to take collective decisions — Pakistan is united for the Kashmiri cause," he said.
At a press conference in Lahore, he said "butcher" Modi had carried out the massacre of thousands of Muslims in Gujrat state in 2002, and so it was "childish" to expect him to resolve the Kashmir conflict after being elected.
"Today is a test case for the international community," he said, adding that Pakistan expected the world to support the Kashmiris to have their special status restored.
The opposition leader said the situation was also a test for US President Donald Trump to prove that his offer for mediation in Kashmir was not on account of some "personal agenda" but that he was serious about it.
"Otherwise we will be forced to believe that this was President Trump's gimmick to pull American troops out of Afghanistan," he said.
'India cannot alter IoK status'
Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari said it was not enough to condemn India's move which was "against all international norms and[caption id="attachment_29701" align="alignnone" width="800"] Demonstrators hold signs and chant slogans as they march in solidarity with the people of Kashmir, during a rally in Karachi, Pakistan August 5, 2019. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro[/caption]