Pakistan’s foreign minister says he fears India plans to attack Pakistan to divert global attention from Kashmir.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has written to the United Nations, warning the world body of what he says are actions by New Delhi to position missile launchers in Indian-administered Kashmir, according to a statement released by Pakistan’s foreign ministry on Thursday.
In the statement, Qureshi is said to have told the UN that he fears India is planning to launch an attack on Pakistan to divert international attention from human rights violations in Kashmir.
These are “Indian actions that continue to escalate tensions in an already tense environment in South Asia”, Qureshi said in his letter, demanding the UN respond to the purported moves by India.
The Pakistani minister did not offer evidence to support his claim of missiles being placed in the disputed Himalayan region.
There was no immediate comment from India.
Tension over Kashmir
Tensions between Pakistan and India have been heightened since August 5, when India’s Hindu nationalist government abrogated Article 370 of the Indian constitution, pushing Kashmir into its worst political crisis in 70 years.
The article granted the disputed region, which was India’s only Muslim-majority state, a degree of autonomy. In October, New Delhi divided the state into two federally-ruled territories.
India’s move in August was followed by an unprecedented lockdown which remains imposed.
“Curfew and communications blackouts have now entered the fifth month. Kashmiri political leadership remains in custody, in jails, and in detention centres across India,” said the letter by Qureshi.
India and Pakistan claim the Kashmir territory in its entirety but rule over parts of it. Many Kashmiris demand either a merger with Pakistan or an independent state.
Pakistan’s top diplomat also claimed in the letter to the UN that India has partially removed the fence in five areas along the Line of Control (LoC) that divides Kashmir between the two countries.
“The reason could only be planning for some ‘misadventure’ across the LoC,” Qureshi’s letter said.
Pakistan and India have fought two of their three wars over control of Kashmir since they gained independence from British colonial rule in 1947.
They nearly went to war again in February, when a suicide bombing in Indian-run part of Kashmir killed more than 40 paramilitary soldiers.
India responded by bombing an alleged rebel training camp in Pakistan. Islamabad later said its forces downed two Indian air force planes and captured a pilot, who was later released.