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Pakistani PM To Visit Islamabad-Administered Kashmir On Country's Independence Day

14 Aug 2019 Gandhara - RFE/RL

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan will spend the country's August 14 Independence Day in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

The prime minister’s office said several ministers will accompany Khan to Muzaffarabad and hold an "all parties’ conference" there.

Khan's one-day visit comes a day after Pakistan called for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council following India's decision on August 5 to strip Jammu and Kashmir, regions that it administers, of their autonomy.

Islamabad says the move, which was accompanied by a security lockdown and the imposition of curfews, threatens international peace and could lead to ethnic cleansing and genocide in the Muslim-majority region.

India's Hindu nationalist-led government said on August 13 that it was easing its lockdown in the Himalayan region in a "phased manner" after cutting off mobile, landline, and Internet networks.

In an address to the nation on August 8, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the move would allow New Delhi to rid the region of "terrorism and separatism."

In a letter to the Security Council, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi denounced "recent aggressive actions" by India's Hindu nationalist-led government, saying they "willfully undermine the internationally recognized disputed status of Jammu and Kashmir."

Kashmir is claimed by both India and Pakistan and divided between them. Two of the three wars the two countries have fought since their 1947 independence from British rule were over Kashmir.

Rebels have been fighting Indian rule for decades and most Kashmiri residents want independence or a merger with Pakistan.

Qureshi also accused India of implementing a "racist ideology" aimed at turning Kashmir from a Muslim-majority into a Hindu-majority territory.

Before Kashmir’s semiautonomous status was scrapped, Indians couldn’t settle or buy property in the region as part of peace plan.

Jacek Czaputowicz, the foreign minister of Poland, which holds the Council presidency this month, said members would discuss the letter.

He said "strained relations between India and Pakistan negatively affect the whole South Asia region."

With reporting by AP, AFP, and Khaleej Times

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