Crossing LoC to be like playing into Indian hands: PM

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has yet another time warned the people against crossing the Line of Control (LoC) for the sake of support to the struggle of their fellow brethren in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK).

The warning came from him in a tweet on Saturday in the wake of reports of march by the people of Azad Kashmir towards the LoC with an intent to cross it. The marchers have already reached close to the LoC in Chakothi.

A draconian and crippling lockdown is imposed in IOK since August 5 when India annexed part of Kashmir occupied by it illegally and divided it into two regions administered by the Union government of New Delhi against the wishes of the people of the area. The clampdown has entered its third month with reports of mass detentions and human rights abuses and no communication is available for the nine million innocent Kashmiris.

In his tweet, the prime minister reminded that he understands the anguish of the people of AJK seeing their fellow Kashmiris’ in IOK under an inhumane curfew for over two months. Advising the people not to play into the hands of Indian narrative, he said any attempt to cross the LoC to provide humanitarian aid or support “will give India an excuse to increase violent oppression of Kashmiris in IOJK & attack across LoC”.

The prime minister added that Indian narrative tries to divert attention from the indigenous struggle of the Kashmiris against brutal Indian occupation by trying to label it as “Islamic terrorism” being driven by Pakistan. Earlier in September Imran Khan had said at the Afghan border before proceeding to the United Nations that any bid to “wage jihad in Kashmir” would be an act of extreme enmity towards the Kashmiris. He maintained that anyone, who thinks that he will cross the LoC to join the Kashmiris (fighting for their right), is a big enemy of them and Pakistan. The call was appreciated by the United States. India sent in heavy additional contingents of troops in IOK and detained thousands of people including minors as young as nine years old before taking the action of annexation of IOK. The Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) has already announced that the marchers would cross over the ceasefire line (LoC) today (Sunday) for Srinagar. The Front has expressed desire for the administration and police not to create hindrances for them. Srinagar Highway has been closed to stop the JKLF workers from entering IOK.

It would be important to recall that the prime minister and Army both have warned that India could stage a “false flag operation” to divert the world’s attention from its flagrant human rights violations in Kashmir.

Meanwhile, a grenade attack in IOK’s southern city of Anantnag injured 10 people, including a traffic policeman and a journalist, police said on Twitter, blaming “terrorists”.

Many people in IOK have been seething since India stripped its portion of the Muslim-majority region of autonomy on Aug 5, shutting off phone networks and imposing curfew-like restrictions in some areas to dampen discontent.

“Terrorists lobbed grenade in Anantnag,” police in IOK said on Twitter. “Area under cordon. Searches are going on.”

Another account from police said only “minor injuries” had been reported.

The blast took place near a government office, a police official said. US Senator Chris Van Hollen was this week refused entry into IOK during a trip to India, international media reported.

Hollen is part of a group of US Senators who have expressed serious concern over the alarming human rights situation in IOK.

Van Hollen had asked New Delhi to allow him to travel so that he could ascertain whether Indian government claims about the occupied area were grounded in reality. “If the Indian government has nothing to hide, they should not worry about people visiting Kashmir and witnessing the situation with their own eyes,” Van Hollen was quoted as saying.

“As the world’s two largest democracies, India and the United States “talk a lot about our shared values,” he said. “I think this is a moment where transparency is important.”

In addition to the US senator, even domestic political leaders in India are being denied permission to visit IOK, where reports of food shortages and health issues are pouring in almost daily now.

Many US congresspersons, including Indian-American and Muslim-American members, have expressed concern over the callous attitude of the Indian government to the plight of the oppressed people in IOK.

Some members of the European Parliament have even called for trade and travel sanctions on India to force New Delhi into softening the military curfew in the area and allowing international observers in.