Pakistan on Tuesday dismissed External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s comments on Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir as “inflammatory and irresponsible”, Dawn reported.

On Tuesday evening, Jaishankar said that Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir was a part of India and the Centre expects to have physical jurisdiction over it in the future. The minister was addressing a press conference on 100 days of the Narendra Modi-led administration. He also said that India faced a “unique challenge from one neighbour” in a thinly veiled reference to Pakistan.

“We strongly condemn and reject the inflammatory and irresponsible remarks made by the Indian external affairs minister regarding Pakistan and AJK [Azad Jammu and Kashmir, or Pakistan Occupied Kashmir],” Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said. “These remarks are an obvious manifestation of India’s utter frustration over the continued international censure of its egregious human rights violations in occupied Jammu and Kashmir.”

It claimed that India was “committing state terrorism” as nearly a million military personnel were “incarcerating more than 8 million Kashmiris in one of the world’s largest prisons”. India cannot “divert international attention from its crimes against the innocent people of occupied Jammu and Kashmir” by accusing Pakistan, the statement added.

Pakistan urged the international community to take note of India’s “aggressive posturing” about taking control of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir. “Coming from an occupying state, such irresponsible and belligerent statements have the potential to further escalate tensions and seriously jeopardise peace and security in the region,” Faisal’s statement added. “Pakistan stands for peace, but would be ready to respond effectively to any act of aggression.”

“India today is also a unique and deplorable case of a state which promotes hate crimes against minorities and consistently fails to bring to account those who indulge in cow vigilantism, mob lynchings and forced conversions and are guilty of violating India’s own laws,” the statement said, adding that these crimes were enough evidence to “debunk pretentious claims” that India was a “normal state and the so-called largest democracy”.

“Instead of resorting to jingoistic rhetoric, India must rescind its illegal actions, stop forthwith grave human rights violations in occupied Jammu and Kashmir, refrain from violating international law, and fully comply with UN Security Council resolutions for a final settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute,” the statement added.

Tensions between India and Pakistan have ratcheted up since New Delhi revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under the Constitution on August 5. Pakistan, which has fought three wars with India for Kashmir since Independence, did not take the decision well. Pakistan responded by suspending trade with India, downgrading bilateral ties and sending back its envoy. It also approached several international bodies, including the United Nations.

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