ISLAMABAD - The United States has assured Pakistan that it will help defuse the Pak-India tension and will remain available for mediation on Kashmir.

Senior government officials told The Nation on Wednesday that Washington was “upset” over the persistent tension between Pakistan and India which could endanger the regional peace.

“They (the US) have assured Pakistan, they will press India for talks to resolve the Kashmir issue. Washington wants the Kashmir issue to be resolved through talks,” said one official, citing high-level contacts on the subject. Another official said that the US had asked Pakistan to “concentrate” on Afghanistan and find ways for peaceful withdrawal of the US troops.

This week, the powerful US Congressional Committee said India’s communication blackout was having a “devastating impact” on the lives and welfare of the people of Kashmir. It urged New Delhi to lift its more than two-month long restrictions in the held Valley.

“India’s communication blackout in Kashmir is having a devastating impact on the lives and welfare of everyday Kashmiris,” House Foreign Affairs Committee said in a tweet.

Washington ‘upset’ over Pak-India tension

“It’s time for India to lift these restrictions and afford Kashmiris the same rights and privileges as any other Indian citizen,” it added.

The House Committee comes nearly a month after Indian-American lawmaker Pramila Jayapal, along with 13 other US Congressmen, urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address concerns over the human rights situation in Kashmir and lift the communications blackout.

The Asia-Pacific and Non-Proliferation Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee has scheduled a hearing on human rights in Kashmir and other parts of South Asia on October 22.

Restrictions were first imposed across Kashmir on August 5 when the India announced its decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcate the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories – Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

Normal life has remained affected in Kashmir for over months as main markets continue to be shut and public transport off the roads.

Mobile services remain suspended in Kashmir except in Handwara and Kupwara areas in the north, while Internet services – across all platforms continued to be snapped in the Valley since August 5.

Last month, Washington had urged New Delhi to quickly ease restrictions imposed in Kashmir, declaring President Donald Trump’s willingness to mediate to ease tensions between India and Pakistan over the territory.

Trump separately met last month with both Prime Minister Imran Khan and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New York.

A senior US official said that the United States had concerns over the clampdown in the region. “We hope to see rapid action - the lifting of the restrictions and the release of those who have been detained,” Alice Wells, the top State Department official for South Asia, said.

She added: “The United States is concerned by widespread detentions, including those of politicians and business leaders, and the restrictions on the residents of Jammu and Kashmir. We look forward to the Indian government s resumption of political engagement with local leaders and the scheduling of the promised elections at the earliest opportunity.”

Well said the world would benefit from reduced tensions and increased dialogue between the two countries and, given these factors, President Trump was willing to mediate if asked by both parties.

India, however, has long rejected any outside role on Kashmir and quickly shot down the idea after Trump mentioned mediation in a July meeting with PM Khan.

International relations expert Dr Talat Wazarat said India was involved in serious crime and deliberately twisting the facts and trying to pretend that situation is normal in occupied Kashmir.

“India is committing genocide to change the demography of the held valley. India has violated international laws, norms and its own constitutions.

 

 

Indian government is following the rules of jungle and it is high time for international community to come forward and take notice of Indian atrocities in Occupied Kashmir. World powers must step in to stop India,” she said.