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Modi trying to divert global attention from IHK: Sartaj Aziz

16 August, 2016

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ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Monday said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was trying to divert global attention from the tragedy in India-held Kashmir.

“Mr. Modi was only trying to divert world attention from the grim tragedy that has been unfolding in Indian-occupied Kashmir over the past five weeks,” said Aziz, referring to Modi’s comments.

Modi, on the occasion of India’s 70th Independence Day, said in his address to the nation that people of Balochistan, Gilgit and Azad Kashmir had thanked him and he was grateful to them.

Modi’s criticism of Pakistan, while avoiding direct mention of month-long protests in India-held Kashmir, was the only time the Indian premier focused on foreign policy in his Independence Day speech which he delivered from the ramparts of the Red Fort in Delhi.

Aziz said that thousands of unarmed youth are protesting everyday for their right of self determination.

“More than 70 innocent Kashmiris have been killed and more than 6,000 injured. There is consistent curfew and a complete media blackout,” said the adviser, shedding light on conditions in India-held Kashmir.

Aziz reiterated that the Kashmiri struggle is an indigenous movement for self determination which was “promised to the Kashmiris by the UN Security Council”.

“At this time, the contrast between India-occupied Kashmir and Azad Kashmir could not be starker.” "India is a large country and this must be acknowledged, but having a large country does not translate into having a great country."

Referring to Modi’s comments made earlier today, the adviser stated that Balochistan is an integral part of Pakistan and Modi’s comments only proves Pakistan’s contention that India, through the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), has been fomenting terrorism in Balochistan.

“This was also confirmed by the public confession of RAW’s serving naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav in March this year,” added Aziz. Taking a swipe at India, Aziz said India is a large country and this must be acknowledged, but having a large country does not translate into having a great country.

“A country which unleashes such brute force against innocent citizens to suppress their right to protest or use pellet guns to rob the eye sight of over 100 youth is not a great country,” stated the foreign affairs adviser. Aziz further added that India must recognise the core issue of Kashmir which can not be solved through bullets, but requires a political solution.

Earlier today, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry invited his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar to Pakistan for dialogue on the Kashmir dispute, the Foreign Office (FO) said. The move comes as relations between Pakistan and India remain strained a day after ceasefire violations along the Line of Control on Aug 14, and Pakistan's High Commissioner to New Delhi Abdul Basit's comments dedicating Independence Day to the freedom of Kashmiris.

Tensions between Pakistan and India have been running high since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani sparked anti-government protests in India-held Kashmir, with over 70 people dead in clashes between protesters and Indian authorities.

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