India on Saturday referred to Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir as “propaganda” in a Commonwealth nations’ conference in Uganda, PTI reported. A Parliamentary delegation was responding to Pakistani officials’ criticism of heavy presence of security personnel in the Valley after New Delhi revoked the region’s special status in August. The delegation said the tradition of military rule is prevalent in Pakistan.

Delegations from member nations of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association are in Kampala for an eight-day conference that ends on Sunday. The Indian delegation was led by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and included Congress MPs Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and L Hanumanthaiah and Bharatiya Janata Party MP Roopa Ganguly.

“Pakistani propaganda was strongly opposed by Roopa Ganguly, MP, and other Members of Indian Parliamentary Delegation,” the statement from the Lok Sabha secretariat said. Ganguly said that Pakistan had been under military rule for 33 years, while no part of India had ever known military rule.

Islamabad had also raised the matter at the fourth South Asian Speakers’ Summit held in Maldives on September 1 and September 2.

Tensions over Jammu and Kashmir escalated between India and Pakistan ever since New Delhi’s decision to revoke the state’s special status in August. Pakistan, which has fought three wars with India over Kashmir, has taken to several international platforms to internationalise the matter. Pakistan also reacted with suspension of trade with India, downgrading diplomatic ties and writing letters to the United Nations.

Apart from facilitating a rare closed-doors meeting of member nations on the situation in Kashmir, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan also took up the matter at the United Nations General Assembly session in New York City on Friday. Khan had said that the world body must urge India to lift prohibitory orders in Kashmir and insist on the region’s right to self-determination.

India responded with accusations that Pakistan was harbouring militant groups and entities. It also questioned if Pakistan will acknowledge that it is the only government in the world that provides a pension to an individual listed by the United Nations in the Al Qaeda and Islamic State group. Through the past week, both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar have either explicitly or implicitly called out Pakistan for its support of cross-border terror at the international forums.


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