Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 November 2019

Kashmir crisis: Pakistan to take India dispute to International Court of Justice

India denies committing human rights violations in Kashmir amid ongoing tension over the disputed territory

A poster of Kashmiri youth Usiab Ahmad, who drowned on August 5, allegedly after an encounter with Indian government forces near the Asar Shareef Jenab Saheb Mosque in Srinagar. Three deaths have been claimed by Kashmiri familes in the latest round of unrest in the region, but Indian authorities have not acknowledged any fatalities. AFP
A poster of Kashmiri youth Usiab Ahmad, who drowned on August 5, allegedly after an encounter with Indian government forces near the Asar Shareef Jenab Saheb Mosque in Srinagar. Three deaths have been claimed by Kashmiri familes in the latest round of unrest in the region, but Indian authorities have not acknowledged any fatalities. AFP

Pakistan said on Tuesday it would take its dispute with India over Kashmir to the International Court of Justice, after New Delhi revoked the special status of its part of the region earlier this month.

Islamabad reacted with fury to that decision, cutting trade and transport links and expelling India’s ambassador.

“We have decided to take the Kashmir case to the International Court of Justice,” Pakistan’s foreign minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, told ARY News TV on Tuesday. “The decision was taken after considering all legal aspects.”

The case would centre on alleged human rights violations by India in Muslim-majority Kashmir, which both countries claim in full but rule in part, Mr Qureshi said.

India’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The country denies committing human rights violations in Kashmir.

A senior US State Department official said it was up to Pakistan to decide whether it wanted to take the matter to the court, but added: “Our view is that a resolution in Kashmir is not aided by multilateralising it. The answer is direct conversation between India and Pakistan.”

According to AP, at least 2,300 people, mostly young men, have been detained in Indian-administered Kashmir during a security lockdown and communications blackout imposed to curb unrest after New Delhi stripped the disputed region of statehood.

Those arrested include anti-India protesters as well as pro-India Kashmiri leaders who have been held in jails and other makeshift facilities. The officials have access to all police records but spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to talk to reporters and feared reprisals from superiors.

The crackdown began just before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist-led government stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its semi-autonomy and its statehood on August 5.

Thousands of additional Indian troops were sent to man checkpoints in the Kashmir Valley, already one of the world’s most militarised regions. Telephone communications, cellphone coverage, broadband internet and cable TV services were cut for the valley’s 7 million people, although some communications have been gradually restored in places.

Kashmiris have staged protests and clashed with police since the crackdown, with about 300 demonstrations against India’s tighter control over Kashmir, the three officials said.

Updated: August 21, 2019 03:14 PM

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