Pakistan considering various options to counter India’s move in Kashmir – FM Qureshi

Shah Mehmood Qureshi, right, said he knows the implications that come with him making such statements. (AFP/File)
Updated 10 August 2019
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Pakistan considering various options to counter India’s move in Kashmir – FM Qureshi

  • China says it will fully support Pakistan as Islamabad prepares to take Kashmir issue to United Nations
  • Qureshi asks Pakistanis to express solidarity with the people of Kashmir while celebrating independence day

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Saturday that his government was considering various options to respond to India’s blatant violation of international law after the administration in New Delhi decided to annex the internationally recognized disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir last Monday.
Qureshi was addressing a news conference in Islamabad after completing from his two-day visit to Beijing where he briefed the Chinese authorities on New Delhi’s attempt to change the demographic structure of Indian-administered Kashmir and sought diplomatic support from his country’s closest international ally.
China, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, agreed to support Pakistan as Islamabad prepares to raise the Kashmir issue in the United Nations. Beijing also directed its representative in New York to maintain a close liaison with Pakistani diplomats on the issue.
Observing the deteriorating security situation in Indian-administered Kashmir, Qureshi said that Pakistan’s government was “considering other options” to tackle India’s breach of United Nations Security Council Resolution 47 on Kashmir.
Fearing bloodshed as protests by the people of Kashmir begin to gain momentum, the foreign minister said, “We anticipate a rise in tensions as things seem to be moving toward further escalation.”
He continued that Pakistan was not mulling a military response to the situation, though he also added that “we reserve the right to defend our country in case of any [Indian] misadventure.”
India’s recent move in Kashmir threatened regional peace and strained its already fragile relation with Pakistan. In response, Islamabad decided to expel the Indian high commissioner. It also suspended trade with its eastern neighbor and stopped the train service between the two countries.
The foreign minister expressed grave concern over the security lockdown in Indian-administered Kashmir and highlighted the resulting rights abuses in that territory. He also maintained that India’s “reckless approach” could lead to “false flag operations” in the area since it wanted to blame Pakistan for committing acts of “terrorism.”
Qureshi asked the people of Pakistan to raise the Kashmir flag along with their country’s national colors while celebrating the independence day to express solidarity with the oppressed people of Indian-administered Kashmir.


Blasphemy accusation in Pakistan sparks ransacking of Hindu temple, school

Updated 16 September 2019

Blasphemy accusation in Pakistan sparks ransacking of Hindu temple, school

  • The violence erupted in the southern province of Sindh after a student accused the Hindu principal of blasphemy

KARACHI/ISLAMABAD: A crowd in Pakistan ransacked a school and Hindu temple after a Hindu principal was accused of blasphemy, police said on Monday, the latest case to raise concern about the fate of religious minorities in the predominantly Muslim country.
The violence erupted in the southern province of Sindh after a student accused the Hindu principal of blasphemy in comments about the Muslim Prophet Muhammad. The enraged crowd ransacked the school and damaged a nearby temple, a district police chief said.
The principal had been taken into protective custody and police were investigating both the alleged blasphemy and the rioters, he added.
“It seems the principal had not done anything intentionally,” the district police chief, Furrukh Ali, told Reuters.
Insulting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad carries a mandatory death penalty in Pakistan, which is about 95 percent Muslim and has among the harshest blasphemy laws in the world.
No executions for blasphemy have been carried out in Pakistan but enraged mobs sometimes kill people accused of it.
Rights groups say the blasphemy law is often exploited by religious hard-liners as well as ordinary Pakistanis to settle scores.
The independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan condemned the weekend violence, footage of which was recorded in a video and circulated on social media. It called on authorities should take prompt action.
“The video ... is chilling: mob violence against a member of a religious minority is barbaric, unacceptable,” the commission said in a post on Twitter.
Hindus make up about 1.6 percent of Pakistan’s population of 208 million, the majority of whom are Sunni Muslims.
In January, the Supreme Court upheld the acquittal of a Christian women who spent years on death row after being convicted of blasphemy in a case that had drawn alarm from religious and human rights advocates.
In March, Pakistan’s government sacked a provincial minister for making offensive comments about Hindus as tension between Pakistan and Hindu-majority neighbor India ran high after a militant attack in the Indian-controlled portion of the contested Kashmir region.