ISLAMABAD    -   Pakistan yesterday slammed India for portraying “a totally false impression of normalcy” in occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

The foreign ministry said Indian claims were designed to mislead the world. “Pakistan categorically rejects Indian attempts, including the recent briefing by the Indian National Security Advisor, seeking to portray a totally false impression of normalcy in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir,” said a statement released by the foreign office.

It added: “Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir continues to be the largest prison in the world with the heaviest deployment of Indian occupation forces since the coercive, unilateral and illegal Indian actions of 5 August 2019 aimed at altering the internationally recognized disputed status of IOJ&K (Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir) and changing its demographic structure to pre-empt the results of a UN plebiscite. Despite Indian claims, curfew continues.”

It said Kashmiri leaders, especially Hurriyat leadership remain under house arrest or are imprisoned. “International media and credible human rights organizations continue to highlight the humanitarian nightmare which has only intensified after more than 5 weeks including arbitrary arrests of innocent Kashmiris, kidnapping of hundreds of young boys by Indian occupation forces to coerce their parents into submission, communication blockade (suspension of landlines, mobile phones and internet services) and restrictions/curbs on freedom of media. Shops remain closed, Kashmiris are unable to offer Friday prayers in mosques and there are credible reports of shortage of food items, including baby food and essential medicines,” the statement elaborated.

Contrary to the Indian claims, it said, “use of pellet guns continues in a brutal assault by Indian occupation forces against innocent Kashmiris. India has failed to justify why Kashmiris are unable to get in touch with their loved ones through the iron curtain forced by India on Kashmir, inhumanly cutting off more than 8 million Kashmiris from the rest of the world, since 5 August 2019, prompting the international community and international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International to question Indian assertions of “normalcy” including the denial of permission to the Indian opposition leaders themselves to visit.”

The government of India, the foreign ministry said, was exerting a completely authoritarian and dictatorial control over all information coming out of Kashmir, distorting truth and twisting facts in a desperate attempt to promote its own narrative, which is in total contrast to the ground realities, as consistently corroborated by reports in the international media.

Most recently, it said, India attempted to pass off a false and fabricated story, including during an Indian army presser on 4 September 2019 blaming deaths of some Kashmiris on “Pakistani militants.”

The ministry said that the Indian National Security Advisor has also been trying to justify increasingly frequent reports of Kashmiri casualties by blaming them unsuccessfully on Pakistan.

“In a farcical attempt to twist truth, Indian army tried to portray two Pakistanis, Mohammad Nazeem and Khalil Ahmed, who had inadvertently crossed the Line of Control near Hajipir on 21 August 2019 as “militants.” This was despite the fact that the incident was discussed during the weekly military hotline contact between both sides on 27 August 2019 when Indian authorities acknowledged that they were inadvertent crossers and informed Pakistan that routine formalities are taking place after which they will be returned,” it said.

Such devious tactics, the ministry said, “reflect Indian desperation and attempts to shift international attention from the humanitarian nightmare in held Kashmir.”

The statement said that Pakistan had consistently sensitized the international community about the danger of a false flag operation by India to shift attention and apportion blame to Pakistan for its indefensible actions in Kashmir.

“Instead of indulging in fabricated stories, India should comply with international obligations and immediately cease its atrocities against innocent Kashmiris, lift the communication blockade and allow international fact finding mission including the OHCHR (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights) and the OIC’s IPHRC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission) and international media to visit held Kashmir to distinguish facts from fiction,” the statement said.

Last month, Prime Minister Imran Khan successfully appealed for a UN Security Council meeting but no conclusion was drawn at the meeting. India has maintained that the Kashmir constitutional change was an internal matter and that the region was gradually heading to normal situations after a clampdown which began on August 5.

Telephone lines, internet services were cut while a curfew was implemented with troops securing the area. Leaders were detained from leaving or entering the region. Recently, Indian lawmaker and former Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and a delegation were sent back from Srinagar to Delhi, with authorities citing reasons of ‘maintaining peace and normalcy.’

KASHMIR CELL MEETING HELD

A meeting of the ‘Kashmir cell’ was held here with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Queshi in the chair. The meeting was attended by Azad Jammu Kashmir President Sardar Masood Khan, federal minuster Farrogh Naseem, Foreign Secretary Sohail Mehmood and senior officials from the military and civilian departments.

The meeting discussed the increasing human rights violations in Kashmir and reviewed the future strategy. They agreed that the issue should be raised at all internationals forums to expose India.