ISLAMABAD   -   Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi yesterday said that the world should not remain silent on the Kashmir bloodshed as this could haunt the regional peace.

Speaking at a seminar on ‘Pakistan-India Relations and Resurgence of Freedom Struggle in Occupied Kashmir’ here, the FM regretted the world community’s indifference towards the growing plight of the Kashmiri people.

Qureshi paid tributes to the people of Occupied Kashmir who were continuing their freedom struggle 

despite the raging Indian violence and atrocities.

Tensions between Pakistan and India have been high since the killing of a Kashmiri freedom fighter, Burhan Wani, in July 2016.

An attack on Indian forces in September 2016 - that killed 19 soldiers in Uri area of held Kashmir - further heightened the tensions. India also claimed it had carried a “surgical strike” to avenge the Uri attack. Pakistan rejected the Indian assertion.

And then came the Pulwama bombing in February this year, and Indian knee-jerk reaction over that attack led to escalation of hostilities.

Qureshi said Pakistan had given a befitting response to India after the recent aggression in the wake of the Pulwama incident.

He urged the need for national consensus on issue of security and said it was under this spirit that he wrote letters to parliamentary leaders of different political parties and personally contacted the leaders of Pakistan Peoples' Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.

The FM maintained that the response of the opposition parties on these issues was ‘not negative’ but they ‘hesitated’ to act promptly on such issues of national importance.

Expressing her views, Mishal Malik, the wife of Hurriyet leader Yasin Malik, said draconian laws were prevailing in the held valley. She said hospitals were being bombed and babies were dying due to shortage of vaccines.

Mishal Malik said human rights abuses were being carried out on daily basis in the Occupied Kashmir. She said global pressure was required to be excreted on India to put an end to the sufferings of the innocent Kashmiri people.

 Counselor access to Indian spy

Pakistan meanwhile is considering a request from India to provide counselor access to the convicted Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav and four other prisoners under custody. The prisoners include Jadhav, Mohammad Javed, Abdul Hakim, Mohammad Ismael and others. Senior officials at the foreign ministry told The Nation that Pakistan had not refused the request ‘so far.’ “We are considering the request and will let them (India) know (about our decision) soon. Such access to a convicted spy (Kulbhushan Jadhav) seems strange. We have already given concessions to him,” said one official citing Jadhav’s meeting with his family in December 2017.

India has also demanded the release of 10 prisoners who have completed their sentence. A note has also been sent for repatriation of 385 Indian fishermen.

The International Court of Justice had reserved the verdict in Jadhav case in February 2019, who was apprehended by the Pakistani authorities for espionage and was sentenced to death by a military court in April 2017.

 Indian diplomat summoned over ceasefire violations

Director General South Asia Dr Mohammed Faisal yesterday summoned the Indian Deputy High Commissioner Gaurav Ahluwalia and condemned the unprovoked ceasefire violations by the Indian occupation forces along the Line of Control on April 1 and 2.

A foreign ministry statement said on April 1, four civilians - namely Muhammad Yousaf, Muhammad Shahzad, Akbar Jaan and Kousar Parveen - were injured in Nezapir, Rakhchikri, Hotspring and Jandrot, Sectors along the LoC.

On April 2, one civilian Muhammad Attique, an eighteen years old boy and a resident of Jugal Pal, were killed and three women - namely Fareeda Begum, Azmat Begum and Rehmat Bibi – were injured in Kotkottera and Khuiratta Sectors along LoC.

On the same day, “Indian troops intentionally targeted civilians travelling in a civil bus in Bagsar Sector. This is not only in clear violation of existing arrangement but also unethical and immoral. The Indian forces along the Line of Control and the Working boundary are continuously targeting civilian populated areas with heavy weapons. This unprecedented escalation in ceasefire violations by India is continuing from the year 2017 when the Indian forces committed 1970 ceasefire violations,” said the foreign ministry statement.

It added: “The deliberate targeting of civilian populated areas is indeed deplorable and contrary to human dignity, international human rights and humanitarian laws. The ceasefire violations by India are a threat to regional peace and security and may lead to a strategic miscalculation.”

The Director General South Asia urged the Indian side to respect the 2003 Ceasefire arrangement, investigate these and other incidents of ceasefire violations, instruct the Indian forces to respect the ceasefire, in letter and spirit and maintain peace on the LoC and the Working Boundary.

He said India should permit the UN observers to play their mandated role as per the UN Security Council resolutions.