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Pakistani PM warns against crossing Kashmir border

Those crossing Line of Control from Azad Kashmir will play into the hands of Indian narrative, Imran Khan says

İslam Uddin   | 05.10.2019
Pakistani PM warns against crossing Kashmir border Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan  

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday warned against any emotional attempt from the people to cross the Line of Control (LoC) from Pakistan.

Khan said any such attempt to cross the LoC -- a de facto border that divides the disputed Jammu and Kashmir between Pakistan and India -- would affect the struggle of Kashmiris.

Khan's statement came at a time when hundreds of Kashmiris belonging to a pro-independence group have gathered in Muzafarabad, the capital of Azad Kashmir and planned to move the LoC and cross to Srinagar.  

"I understand the anguish of the Kashmiris in AJK [Azad Jammu and Kashmir] seeing their fellow Kashmiris in IOJK [Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir] under an inhumane curfew for over 2 months," Khan tweeted.  

"But any one crossing the LoC from AJK to provide humanitarian aid or support for Kashmiri struggle will play into the hands of the Indian narrative that tries to divert from the indigenous Kashmiris' struggle against brutal Indian occupation by trying to label it as 'Islamic terrorism' being driven by Pakistan," Khan added.

The march toward LoC is being organized by Pakistan-administered Azad Kashmir chapter of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), a group led by the incarcerated pro-independence leader Yasin Malik. 

Rafique Dar, a spokesman for the JKLF, said they respect Premier Khan but Kashmiris do not recognize the LoC.

"We respect Prime Minister Khan but we are not playing in the hands of India, we are protesting against Indian atrocities peacefully. We want to cross the LoC because we don't accept it and want to reach Srinagar," Dar told Anadolu Agency over the phone.

However, our march is peaceful and we respect the Pakistani laws, he added.

Pakistani authorities have arranged strict security measures at Chakoti to stop hundreds from crossing the de facto border.

The UN resolutions have accepted the free exit and entrance to both parts of Kashmir and Pakistani authorities should allow us to cross over [LoC] and face the Indian troops,” Dar added.

In the past many such attempts have been thwarted by Pakistan Army soldiers dotting the border. This attempt is expected to be treated similarly. 

Already frosty relations between the two South Asian nuclear rivals, have touched a new low after India scrapped special provisions of the state of Jammu and Kashmir which allowed it semi-autonomity. 

The state has been under a near-complete lockdown since Aug. 5. 

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan in his address to the United Nations General Assembly session last week warned of a potential nuclear war with India following a simmering crisis in disputed Jammu and Kashmir. 

Several rights groups including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have repeatedly called on India to lift restrictions and release political detainees. 

Indian authorities, however, claim that daytime restrictions have been lifted in 93% of the region, a claim Anadolu Agency could not verify independently. 

From 1954 until Aug. 5, 2019, Jammu and Kashmir enjoyed special status under the Indian constitution, which allowed it to enact its own laws. 

The provisions also protected the region's citizenship law, which barred outsiders from settling in and owning land in the territory. 

India and Pakistan both hold Kashmir in parts and claim it in full. China also controls part of the contested region, but it is India and Pakistan who have fought two wars over Kashmir.

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