Islamabad - Pakistan Thursday expressed its concern over Indian plans to establish new Hindu settlements in occupied Kashmir. “Any effort to create special and dedicated townships, zones or any other step to alter the demographic composition of Jammu and Kashmir is in violation of UN Security Council resolutions,” Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam told weekly press briefing.

The spokesperson said that the Jammu and Kashmir was a disputed territory as the UN Security Council resolutions had pronounced very clearly on the status of the Jammu and Kashmir.

She was of the view that pending the final settlement through plebiscite, the two countries had administrative responsibilities in the disputed territory.

“But there is a very clear direction that there cannot be any demographic change and there cannot be any step which would alter the makeup of the state of Jammu and Kashmir,” she said, adding that “We have already seen how the people of Jammu and Kashmir are resisting the possibility of such measures”.    

Answering a question about the fate of Pakistani seamen who survived after a Panamian vessel, MV Aymen, proceeding to Pipavav, India, for ship-breaking on 2 April, sank off the coast, and since then they have been in Indian city of Gujarat.

“Our High Commission has approached the Indian government for ensuring security and well being as well as early repatriation of our seamen to Pakistan,” the spokesperson said adding, “We have also learnt that the Pakistani seamen have been kept at a police station, and denied access to proper lodging, if true, this is a matter of serious concern”.   Ten Pakistani and five Yemeni seamen survived, and have since been in Gujarat, India.

On Yemeni conflict, Tasnim Aslam said Pakistan had always been ready to play positive and constructive role for the peaceful resolution of the issue. She said Pakistan was already in contact with all Muslim countries on the matter. It is likely that the OIC will have a meeting on the issue in coming days.

When asked to comment on changes in Saudi cabinet, she said it was the internal matter of that country. She said Pakistan does not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.

About relations with Afghanistan, the spokesperson said both Pakistan and Afghanistan had good relations which were getting better.

“Both countries are making efforts to improve border management. For this purpose, the two are in close contact with each other.”

She pointed out that the agreements Pakistan recently signed with China will change the outlook of the region.

“We can take full benefit of these projects only if our neighbourhood particularly Afghanistan is peaceful. Therefore Pakistan attaches special significance to peace and stability in Afghanistan and supporting national reconciliation process there,” she said.

Answering another question about the climate change challenges in South Asia and SAARC role to tackle them, the spokesperson underlined the need for greater collaboration amongst SAARC countries to fight the issue.

About response from the regional countries to the devastating earthquake in Nepal, the spokesperson said Pakistan was amongst the first countries to dispatch relief goods and teams, adding that Pakistani relief teams there were working day and night to help Nepalese people in this hour of trial.

Reuters adds: The divided Himalayan region is claimed by both Hindu-majority India and Islamic Pakistan and the nuclear-armed neighbours have gone to war two times over the territory since independence in 1947. Pakistan has long pressed for the implementation of decades-old UN resolutions calling for a ballot for the region to decide its future. India says the United Nations has no role in Kashmir.

India’s nationalist government said in early April it planned to resettle tens of thousands of Hindus in three new townships in its part of Held Kashmir. Pakistan’s foreign ministry spokeswoman said that was unacceptable.

Between 200,000 and 300,000 Hindus are estimated to have fled Held Kashmir after an armed revolt against New Delhi’s rule erupted in 1989. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party has long vowed to return them to their homes.

Kashmiri leaders say the plan for townships for Hindus is an Israel-style policy of creating settlements in occupied territory.

About 100,000 people have been killed in the freedom movement in Indian Held Kashmir.

Pakistan denies the accusation, saying it only gives moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri people facing rights abuses at the hands of the Indian army.

The nuclear-armed neighbours occasionally hold rounds of talks aimed at improving relations but there has been no sign of any compromise on Kashmir.