Hitting out at Pakistan for observing a “black day” on the situation in Kashmir, India on Thursday asked it to stop supporting terrorism on Indian soil and meddling in the country’s internal affairs.
In a strong response to the “black day” observed by the Nawaz Sharif government , the external affairs ministry said the events in Pakistan were led by “UN-designated terrorists” – a reference to Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed who organised a rally from Lahore to Islamabad on Wednesday.
Violent protests in Jammu and Kashmir, triggered by the killing last week of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, have claimed 44 lives so far. Pakistan has repeatedly criticised India’s handling of the situation.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who angered India by referring to Wani as a “Kashmiri leader”, and his cabinet decided last week to observe the “black day”. Besides events held by the government, jihadi leaders such as Hafiz Saeed organised protests across Pakistan.
“We once again ask Pakistan to stop inciting and supporting violence and terrorism in any part of our country and refrain from its deplorable meddling in our internal affairs in any manner,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said in a statement.
Referring to rallies, events and statements related to Jammu and Kashmir over the last two days, Swarup said: “We have also noted that the events were led by UN-designated terrorists, who had in the past protested the elimination of dreaded terrorists including Osama bin Laden and Taliban leader Akhtar Mansour in Pakistan.
“India strongly condemns the encouragement and support which such terrorists and their activities receive from Pakistan’s state.”
Swarup said the Pakistan government should ensure “full safety and security” of the Indian high commission in Islamabad and all its officials and their families in view of the “threats of marches and protests” at the mission.
The observance of “Kashmir’s Accession to Pakistan Day” on Tuesday had exposed “Pakistan’s longing for the territory of Jammu and Kashmir”, Swarup said. “India demands that Pakistan must fulfil the obligation to vacate its illegal occupation of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir,” he added.
Observers have said Sharif’s posturing on the Kashmir issue could be linked to elections being held on Thursday to the assembly in PoK. Sharif’s PML-N party has launched a concerted bid to dislodge the opposition Pakistan People’s Party, which is currently in power in PoK.
Referring to the polls, Swarup said Pakistan “must also stop misleading the international community and Kashmiris through meaningless exercises such as the so-called elections today in POK which Pakistan ironically calls ‘Azad’ (free)”.