Pak riles India, ‘dedicates’ day of freedom to Kashmir

NEW DELHI: Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit dedicated his country’s 70th Independence Day on August 14 to the “freedom of Kashmir”. He said that his country will continue to extend full diplomatic, political and moral support to Kashmir.
Basit made the comments at Pakistan’s embassy in New Delhi on Sunday, a day after India turned down Pakistan’s offer for dialogue on Jammu and Kashmir.
“As far as Jammu and Kashmir is concerned, we are dedicating this year’s Independence Day to the freedom of Kashmir. We firmly believe that the sacrifices made by the people of Jammu and Kashmir will not go in vain. The ongoing unrest should be ended. Pakistan will continue to extend its full diplomatic, political and moral support to the valiant people of Jammu and Kashmir till they get their right to self determination,” Basit said.
Basit said that no matter “how much” force is used, the political aspiration of people of Jammu and Kashmir cannot be suppressed, and that the “freedom movement” will reach its logical conclusion.
In his address, Basit said Pakistan has always strived for better ties with India; however, no one can “belittle” or wish away the “legitimate struggle” of the Kashmiri people. It was incumbent upon the international community to ensure action on UN resolutions to settle the dispute, Basit said.
“Today our nation faces several challenges, but no power can cause any damage to Pakistan. People who want to trouble Pakistan, they should know that our people, be it Muslim, Hindu or Sikh, we are together and will not hesitate to make any sacrifice for Pakistan’s well-being,” he said.
Reacting to Basit’s statement, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said there was no better way for Pakistan to celebrate its independence day than to return the part of Kashmir under its “illegal” occupation.
“So, what better way of celebrating freedom than returning what Pakistan illegally has in its control,” BJP leader Nalin Kohli told news agency ANI here.
“Pakistan should definitely give freedom, from its illegal occupation, from the kind of violence that it has unleashed on the people there, from the kind of bombing and the farcical election they are doing there,” Kohli said.
When asked to react on Basit’s statement, Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Jitendra Singh told ANI here that it does not matter what the envoy said.
“India has made it clear that it will not associate with Pakistan on any topic related to Kashmir. The only issue on which we are ready to engage with them is PoK,” he said.
On August 9, India’s foreign secretary S Jaishankar had summoned Basit to his office to protest Basit’s making a reference to LeT terrorist and Pakistan national Bahadur Ali, who was captured recently in north Kashmir.
Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain also said on his country’s 70th Independence Day that Pakistan will continue to support Kashmiris in their struggle for self-determination.
Hussain said this in his address to Pakistani people after the special flag hoisting ceremony here. He mostly talked about internal challenges and importance of eliminating militancy. In between, he asked Pakistani people to not forget the people of Kashmir on Independence Day.
“Pakistan cannot forget Kashmiris and would continue to support them to get right of self-determination in light of the UN resolution,” he said.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, cabinet ministers and service chiefs attended the ceremony that took place amid tight security. Mobile phone services were suspended in about 40 cities and internet services were also partially suspended.

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