ISLAMABAD - Pakistan yesterday blamed India of spreading chaos in the region as occupant forces continued bloodshed in occupied Kashmir.

Adviser to Prime Minister Sartaj Aziz said India’s brute use of force against innocent Kashmiris – demanding their right to self-determination – had exposed India’s fake claims of promoting peace.

Around three dozen people, most of them protesters, have been killed in three days of unrest sparked by the killing of Burhan Muzaffar Wani, a 22-year-old freedom fighter, during a gun battle with Indian forces on Friday.

Even before his death, Wani – said to be the operational commander of Kashmir’s largest separatist group Hizbul Mujahideen – had become an iconic face of the resistance to the rule of tyranny and Kashmiris struggle for freedom.

Sartaj Aziz, in an interview with a local television channel on Monday, said Kashmiris only demanded freedom whereas India was continuously spreading chaos in the region. He said Pakistan will not change its stance regarding Kashmir’s independence as no other solution was effective, and he pledged to raise voice against Indian brutality at all international forums.

Life in the valley was paralysed for a third day yesterday with shops and businesses closed, and people were defying the curfew imposed across much of the Kashmir Valley to come out onto the streets in the worst civilian unrest since 2010.

As many as 32 protesters have been killed in three days of protests while over 400 have been injured in firing by Indian forces, Kashmir Media Service (KMS) reported on Monday. Several teenage boys are also among the victims, it said.

Around 300 people have been injured, including nearly 100 police, and hospitals say they are overwhelmed, according to an AFP report.

Protesters storm airbase

The angry protesters set a police post on fire in Sopore on Monday, while hundreds of protesters tried to storm a military airbase about 25 kilometres south of the capital Srinagar.

“A few hundred protesters stormed the airforce base,” a senior officer told AFP on condition of anonymity. “We do not know if firearms were used, but the protesters were pushed back,” he said, adding there were no immediate reports of casualties.

There were also reports of injured protesters being targeted — one local doctors’ association said Sunday that tear gas canisters had been fired inside a hospital emergency room.

Another group, the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition for Civil Society, alleged that police had attacked ambulances taking the wounded to hospital.

The Amnesty International urged Indian authorities to ensure that the injured have access to medical assistance, and medical professionals should have freedom to carry out their work. It also asked forces to not use live ammunition and pellet-guns on protesters.

India meanwhile has rushed to deploy 16 additional companies of Indian paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force and police in different parts of the valley to suppress the protests, according to KMS.

The authorities continued to suspend mobile and internet services across the valley in a bid to prevent people from gathering in large numbers.

The occupant authorities have also put top Kashmiri leaders including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Shabbir Ahmad Shah, Yasin Malik, Ashraf Sehrai, Altaf Ahmed Shah, Agha Syed Hassan Al-Moosvi and many others either in police custody or under house arrest.

Strike extended

The All Parties Hurriyet Conference Chairman Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik in a joint statement gave a call for extending the strike for another two days from today (Tuesday), besides announcing a rally in the main city of Srinagar on Friday.

They expressed anguish over used of brutal force against protesters and said the martyrdom of Burhan Wani and his two aides was the continuation of martyrdoms of July 13, 1931. They said that 13th July would be observed as the Reaffirmation Day.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif the other day expressed his deep shock over the killing of Burhan Wani and many civilians in Kashmir by Indian forces. He called upon Indian government to fulfil its human rights obligations as well as its commitments under the UN Security Council’s resolutions.