Kashmir issue will be resolved through indigenous struggle, says Aziz

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Islamabad: Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz has said that Pakistan will give a befitting response to any Indian aggression. Winding up debate on Line of Control (LoC) situation in the National Assembly here on Friday, he said we are fully capable to defend our border. He said we will not accept any Indian influence or hegemony under any circumstances. Sartaj said India is heating up the situation on the Line of Control to deflect attention from its atrocities in Occupied Kashmir. He said the India attack on passenger bus and ambulance was the most regrettable incident contrary to all norms and principles. “Pakistan has written letters to the Foreign Ministers of P-5 countries to apprise them about the Indian aggression on the civilians.” “Pakistan has never targeted civilians but the Indian sides is deliberately targeting them to escalate the situation”, the advisor added. He said Pakistan is forcefully raising the Kashmir dispute at all international forums. The advisor said Pakistan will continue to support the Kashmiris right to self-determination which is totally indigenous in nature and led by the Kashmiri youth. He said Pakistan will continue to pursue the policy of peaceful neighborhood. We are ready for dialogue with India on the condition that Kashmir dispute is also included in it. He added that Pakistan “will respond in kind to any Indian violence as we have the capability to defend our borders.” The adviser’s statements come days after Indian troops targeted a passenger bus and ambulance across the Line of Control, and killed three Pakistan Army soldiers and 10 civilians in various incidents of ‘unprovoked’ firing.

Tension between the two countries is again at a peak following an alleged Indian ‘surgical strike’, unrest in Kashmir and the Uri army base attack in September.

Since then there have been repeated outbreaks of cross-border firing in Kashmir, with both sides reporting deaths and injuries including of civilians.

Modi stepped up a drive to isolate Pakistan diplomatically after the Uri army base attack in September in which 19 Indian soldiers were killed. Hours after the attack occurred, Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh termed Pakistan a ‘terrorist state’ and accused Pakistan of involvement.

Shortly after, India decided to suspend Indus Water Commission talks until “Pakistan-sponsored terror” in India ended.

The Uri attack occurred days before Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was set to address the United Nations General Assembly regarding Indian human rights violations in held Kashmir.

Following the attack, India claimed it had conducted a cross-border ‘surgical strike’ against ‘launch pads of terror’ in Azad Jammu and Kashmir — a claim Pakistan has strongly rejected.

Pakistan maintains that India is attempting to divert the world’s attention away from atrocities committed by government forces in India-held Kashmir. In the worst civilian violence to hit the restive region of Indian-held Kashmir since 2010, over 90 Kashmiri civilians have been killed and thousands more injured in Indian-held Kashmir in clashes with security forces after the killing of a prominent Kashmiri separatist leader Burhan Wani, in a military operation on July 8.

Wani, a 22-year-old commander of Kashmir’s largest pro-independence militant group Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), was killed along with two other separatists during a gun battle with Indian government forces.

Wani joined the HM group at the age of just 15, and was viewed as a hero by many in Kashmir.

The state’s former chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted after his death that he had become the “new icon of Kashmir’s disaffected”.

Witnesses said tens of thousands attended his funeral despite a curfew imposed by Indian authorities, chanting independence slogans.

Most have died in clashes between protesters and government forces who have fired tear gas and pellet guns at demonstrators.

Authorities have imposed a curfew across large parts of the region, with schools, shops and many banks closed.

Internet and mobile networks have also been cut off in a bid to prevent protests.