Pakistan slams Indian defense minister's statement on Kashmir

In a speech, Rajnath Singh said Pakistan-administered Kashmir is part of India.

Pakistan slams Indian defense minister's statement on Kashmir

Pakistan has condemned the Indian defense minister's statement on Pakistan-administered Kashmir, calling it "provocative" and "completely unacceptable."

In a statement late Sunday, the Foreign Ministry rejected Rajnath Singh's "unwarranted and totally unacceptable comments" made at an event in Indian-administered part of the disputed valley, in which he said the Pakistan-administered Kashmir is a part of India.

"The minister in his remarks distorted the well-established historical facts about the Jammu & Kashmir dispute, leveled baseless allegations and hurled threats against Pakistan," said the ministry.

"PoK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) is part of India, we believe it. A unanimous resolution has also been passed in this regard in the Parliament," Singh later tweeted.

"Provocative statements by Indian political figures cannot alter the reality of IIOJK (Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir)," the Pakistani ministry said in response.

According to The Indian Express daily, Singh alleged during his two-day visit to the valley, which began on Thursday, that India's western neighbor, Pakistan, "has always resorted to anti-India activities and that Jammu and Kashmir had also witnessed terror activities in the past."

“Due to the relentless efforts of the personnel” of the armed and security forces, he said, “there has been a significant decline in the number of terror activities in the state recently,” it added.

Though “Pakistan continuously tries to disturb peace in the country through its approach of bleeding India with a thousand cuts,” he said, India’s “security forces are such a protective shield for this country that whoever tries to break it bleeds himself,” the daily quoted him.

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry statement warned that while Islamabad supports regional peace and stability, it is fully capable of thwarting any aggressive plans. "We have demonstrated our resolve and capability in this regard on numerous occasions, including in the recent past," the statement said.

The ministry reiterated that Jammu and Kashmir is an internationally recognized dispute still on the UN agenda and that the solution lies in implementing relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

"India would be well advised to introspect as to why, despite imposing draconian laws, holding the entire Valley under military siege for decades, imprisoning thousands of innocent Kashmiris and their true representatives and wanton killing of over 100,000 Kashmiris, India has not been able to smother the flame of freedom from the heart of Kashmiris," the ministry said.

Islamabad also urged the international community to take concrete steps to prevent India from continuing its "brutal treatment" of the Kashmiri people, and "illegal attempts" to change the demographic structure of Kashmir.

Disputed territory

Jammu and Kashmir, a former princely state, has been a bone of contention between Pakistan and India since 1947, following the end of British colonial rule in the subcontinent.

The picturesque Muslim-majority valley is held by the two nuclear rivals in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

Since they were partitioned in 1947, Pakistan and India have fought three wars -- in 1948, 1965, and 1971 -- and two of them were over Kashmir.

Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence or unification with neighboring Pakistan.

Relations between India and Pakistan plummeted to a new low after August 2019, when India scrapped the longstanding special status of Jammu and Kashmir, prompting Islamabad to downgrade its diplomatic ties with New Delhi.