Pakistan’s foreign minister claimed Thursday that India has removed part of the fence in some areas along the Line of Control (LoC), a de facto border dividing Kashmir between the two countries.
In a video statement released by Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, Shah Mahmood Qureshi said they have identified five places where India has partially removed the fence.
“What are the motives behind it? Is there going to be a new misadventure? We are also concerned about this,” Qureshi said.
His statement came a day after Indian Army Chief Bipin Rawat warned that the situation along the LoC could escalate at any time and said his army is ready for any escalation.
Pakistan Army spokesman Major Gen. Asif Ghafoor called Rawat’s statement “provocative”.
“Provocative statements and preparations for escalation along the LoC by India’s COAS [chief of the army staff] appear to be an effort as usual to divert the world’s attention from widespread protests in India against the CAB,” he tweeted, referring to India’s controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill, which was passed last week and grants citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Christians from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh but blocks naturalization for Muslims.
“Pakistan’s Armed Forces shall befittingly respond to any Indian misadventure or aggression,” Ghafoor added.
Qureshi also wrote a letter to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and informed the world body regarding India’s actions on the LoC.
He has sent seven letters on the situation in Kashmir to the UNSC since Aug. 5.
“Nearly 300 innocent civilians have been targeted, including women and children, since January 2019 and nearly 3,000 ceasefire violations have taken place on the Line of Control,” Qureshi said.
He also claimed that India has deployed Brahmos missiles in India-administered Kashmir and requested the UNSC to take notice.
“The spike in anti-tank missile deployment in occupied Kashmir is of concern to us, as since August 2019 until now, missile tests at regular intervals reveal a clear pattern of the dangerous Indian intentions which can hurt the peace and stability of the region,” Qureshi said
India’s Ministry of External Affairs claims there has been a total of 2,050 ceasefire violations from Pakistan’s side in 2019, in which 21 civilians lost their lives.
Tensions between the two South Asian nuclear neighbors have mounted in recent months after the Indian government scrapped Kashmir’s special status which allowed citizens to enact their own laws. Since then, the valley has been under a severe lockdown.
The provisions also protected the region’s citizenship law which barred outsiders from settling in or owning land in the territory.
In addition, key leaders have been imprisoned or put under house arrest. Internet services have also been shut down by the authorities in the Himalayan state on multiple occasions.
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 that have fought two wars over Kashmir.
Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.