ISLAMABAD: Demanding the withdrawal of Indian forces from occupied Kashmir, Pakistan on Saturday vowed to fight for the disputed territory “till the last soldier and bullet”.
“Pakistan is fully ready to counter the evil designs of India with its highly professional armed forces, all other institutions and a spirited nation,” said Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mehmood Qureshi at a news conference after a meeting of the Special Committee on Kashmir.
Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major General Asif Ghafoor, who was accompanying Qureshi, said the country’s armed forces would fight till the last soldier and bullet for Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK).
“India should forget about Azad Jammu and Kashmir and talk about bringing an end to its illegal occupation [of IOK],” the military spokesman added.
The ISPR DG reiterated that the Pakistan Army was ready to defend the country against any Indian misadventure.
The foreign minister said the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) finally deliberating on the issue of Kashmir after a long period of five decades was a major development, especially considering that “India tried its best to prevent the meeting from taking place”.
“You cannot even imagine the significance of yesterday’s [Friday] historic meeting. Even if a single power [permanent member of the UNSC] had opposed it, the meeting wouldn’t have taken place. It’s a major diplomatic victory for Pakistan,” Qureshi added.
The minister said because of Pakistan’s efforts to highlight the situation in occupied Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of New Delhi stripping the disputed territory of its semi-autonomous status and imposing a curfew and communications blockade there since August 4, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the UNSC had both responded positively to Islamabad’s call for the issue to be taken up.
“The highest forum of the world [the UN] has reaffirmed its commitments to its eleven resolutions over Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir,” he maintained. “By deliberating on the matter, the UNSC has clearly rejected the Indian point of view and endorsed Pakistan’s stance as indicated in its August 13 letter,” he added.
The minister said the Special Committee on Kashmir in its meeting held earlier had decided to set up a Kashmir cell in the Foreign Office to give impetus to the ongoing efforts and pursue a focused approach on the matter.
Besides, he added, Kashmir desks would also be set up at Pakistani embassies all over the world to keep other countries abreast with the situation in occupied Kashmir.
Qureshi said the committee would chalk out an action plan for diplomatic, political and legal strategies to counter India’s move. “This plan would be presented before the cabinet for approval,” he added.
The possibility of moving the International Court of Justice is also under consideration and the matter has been discussed with the law ministry and the attorney general for Pakistan.
“This [Kashmir issue] is a long fight that we have to fight at every front,” Qureshi said.
The minister pointed out that the committee on Kashmir comprised representatives of all parties concerned, including opposition members. “A message of unity has been sent across the world on the issue of occupied Kashmir.”
Qureshi again warned the international community that India could carry out a false flag operation near the Line of Control (LoC) to divert the world’s attention from its illegal actions and human rights violations in occupied Kashmir.
The minister noted that voices were being raised even within India against the revoking of occupied Kashmir’s special status. “Around 200 prominent people [in India] have filed a petition demanding that the move be undone.”
To a query, Qureshi said Pakistan did not recognise Article 370 of the Indian constitution.
“What we are concerned about is the Indian government’s attempt to forcibly change the demography of occupied valley by scrapping this article and violate of the rights of its people,” he remarked.
“Today’s India is not that of [Jawaharlal] Nehru but that of [Indian Prime Minister Narendra] Modi and there is a clear difference between the two,” he added.
“Modi has buried Nehru’s India. India’s strategy now revolves around a doctrine and the three characters imposing it are Modi, Indian Interior Minister Amit Shah and Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.”
Replying to a question, Qureshi said the international media was supporting Kashmiris after a long time and raising questions about India’s recent actions.
To a query about the Indian defence minister Rajnath Singh hinting at using nuclear weapons, Qureshi said a person was likely to utter such words when they were not in their right mind.
The ISPR DG linked the issue of Kashmir with Pakistan’s security and asked world leaders to take a note of the irresponsible statement made by the Indian defence minister.
On Friday, the Indian minister hurled an indirect threat of nuclear conflict, showing Modi’s growing frustration at his ill-conceived move to strip occupied Kashmir of its autonomy.
The ISPR DG said tensions would escalate in the occupied valley as soon as the curfew was relaxed there.
“Pakistan is a responsible state but India has always threatened us. Responsible states do not make statements like that of Rajnath Singh,” he added.
The military spokesperson rejected the Indian propaganda that Pakistan was supporting infiltration into occupied Kashmir and said the occupying forces had turned the valley into a prison.
“India is resorting to this propaganda to carry out a false flag operation. Pakistan’s armed forces are ready to give a befitting response to any act of misadventure by India in the wake of the UNSC meeting.”
The ISPR DG also thanked the nation for showing unity on social media on the issue of Kashmir.