Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Friday told lawmakers in the National Assembly that the Kashmir issue would only be resolved through indigenous movements within India-held Kashmir led by the younger generation.
Aziz said Pakistan would continue extending political, diplomatic and moral support to the Kashmiri cause on international and bilateral forums.
“We have been taking our diplomatic campaign forward with zeal since Prime Minister Nawaz’s speech regarding the Kashmir issue in the United Nations General Assembly.
“The movement has not lost any of its zeal even after the aggression against it and Pakistan will continue to support it,” he reiterated.
Pakistan is willing to hold a dialogue with India on all issues, on the condition that the Kashmir dispute is brought to the table and a resolution sought in accordance with United Nations resolutions, Aziz said.
“Even though we have a policy of neighbourly relations with all neighbouring countries we will stick to this policy on Kashmir issue,” he said. “These are the points of our international policy, which has always remained the same, even though there is a shift in its intensity from time to time,” he explained.
He added that Pakistan “will respond in kind to any Indian violence as we have the capability to defend our borders.”
The adviser’s statements come days after Indian troops targeted a passenger bus and ambulance across the Line of Control, and killed three Pakistan Army soldiers and 10 civilians in various incidents of ‘unprovoked’ firing.
Tension between the two countries is again at a peak following an alleged Indian ‘surgical strike’, unrest in Kashmir and the Uri army base attack in September.
Since then there have been repeated outbreaks of cross-border firing in Kashmir, with both sides reporting deaths and injuries including of civilians.
Modi stepped up a drive to isolate Pakistan diplomatically after the Uri army base attack in September in which 19 Indian soldiers were killed. Hours after the attack occurred, Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh termed Pakistan a ‘terrorist state’ and accused Pakistan of involvement.
Shortly after, India decided to suspend Indus Water Commission talks until “Pakistan-sponsored terror” in India ended.
The Uri attack occurred days before Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was set to address the United Nations General Assembly regarding Indian human rights violations in held Kashmir.
Following the attack, India claimed it had conducted a cross-border ‘surgical strike’ against ‘launch pads of terror’ in Azad Jammu and Kashmir — a claim Pakistan has strongly rejected.
Pakistan maintains that India is attempting to divert the world’s attention away from atrocities committed by government forces in India-held Kashmir.
In the worst civilian violence to hit the restive region of Indian-held Kashmir since 2010, over 90 Kashmiri civilians have been killed and thousands more injured in Indian-held Kashmir in clashes with security forces after the killing of a prominent Kashmiri separatist leader Burhan Wani, in a military operation on July 8.
Wani, a 22-year-old commander of Kashmir’s largest pro-independence militant group Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), was killed along with two other separatists during a gun battle with Indian government forces.
Wani joined the HM group at the age of just 15, and was viewed as a hero by many in Kashmir.
The state’s former chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted after his death that he had become the “new icon of Kashmir’s disaffected”.
Witnesses said tens of thousands attended his funeral despite a curfew imposed by Indian authorities, chanting independence slogans.
Most have died in clashes between protesters and government forces who have fired tear gas and pellet guns at demonstrators.
Authorities have imposed a curfew across large parts of the region, with schools, shops and many banks closed.
Internet and mobile networks have also been cut off in a bid to prevent protests.