ISLAMABAD - As the United States and North Korea buried the hatchet to set an example for Pakistan and India, the nuclear-armed neighbours on Thursday started a new argument over Kashmir.

Pakistan rejected Indian protest against Azad Jammu and Kashmir Interim Constitution (13th Amendment) Act 2018 and its claim over Indian occupied Kashmir.

“The government of Pakistan categorically rejects India’s protest against the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Interim Constitution (13th Amendment) Act 2018 and its fallacious and baseless claim over the Indian occupied State of Jammu and Kashmir as an ‘integral part’ of India. The Indian claim has no legal basis and continues to be contradicted by the situation on ground since the last seven decades,” the foreign ministry said in a statement issued here.

Earlier, India asked Pakistan to ‘immediately vacate’ AJK.

India claimed the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir, which also included the Azad Jammu and Kashmir, is an integral part of India.

Pakistan reminded that the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir was a “disputed” territory. “Its disputed status is enshrined in the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions, which stipulate that the final status of Jammu and Kashmir will be determined through the democratic method of a transparent, free and fair plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations to ascertain the wishes of the Kashmiris. These resolutions, pledging the right to self-determination to the people of Kashmir, are accepted by India, Pakistan and the international community,” Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal said in the statement.

He said: “Indian attempts to deflect attention from the ongoing atrocities in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir, including the use of pellet guns and humans shields, through baseless, fallacious contentions are regrettable and bound to failure.”

Faisal said Indian intransigence to implement UN Security Council resolutions in letter and spirit continues to hold hostage peace and development in the region.

“Instead of making frivolous protests and issuing legally untenable and uncalled for statements, India should take steps to vacate its illegal occupation, fulfill its international obligations and expedite resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in line with the UN Security Council Resolutions,” he said.

This week, US President Donald Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un held a meeting in Singapore to resolve their differences. The Trump-Kim meeting raised hopes of Pak-India talks after a long phase of tension.

Peace lovers from across the world maintained that if the US and North Korea can sit together, Pakistan and India could also revive the dialogue process. Pakistan had also hoped that the meeting between the United States and North Korean leaders will lead to lasting peace and stability.

In a recent interview, Indian army chief Bipin Rawat accepted his defeat in occupied Kashmir. Bipin Rawat said that even the use of power could not stop the movement of the Kashmiri youth.

The Indian army chief favoured the dialogue to break the cycle of recruitments of Kashmiri youth into militant groups. He said: “We kill them and more would join. Infiltration can be controlled, but this cycle of recruitment of local youth can go on and on. Dialogue is a must for maintenance of peace. So…let’s give peace a chance in the region.”

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s President and candidate for the prime minister’s slot Shehbaz Sharif has also urged India to resume peace talks with Islamabad, saying the Singapore summit between the US and North Korea should set a good precedent for both the neighbours to follow.

“If the United States and North Korea can return from the brink of a nuclear flashpoint, there is no reason why Pakistan and India cannot do the same,” Shehbaz Sharif said in a tweet.

The PML-N president asked India to leave behind the past tensions between the arch-rivals and start afresh. “The US and North Korea talks should be a role model for Pakistan and Indian. If they can return from their previous hostile positions of attacking each other, Pakistan and India can also resume composite dialogue,” he added. He vowed to promote peace if his party returned to power after the July 25 polls.

International relations expert Dr Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema said Pakistan and India cannot afford war. He said the two neighbours needed to hold a dialogue to resolve their issues. Pakistan, he said, was always ready to negotiate with India to resolve all outstanding issues. “India has been trying to divert the world’s attention from its atrocities in Kashmir. India is seeking conflict with Pakistan rather than talks,” he contended.