Pakistanis take to the streets during Independence Day celebrations in Islamabad on Wednesday. Aamir Qureshi/AFP
Pakistan’s president has condemned India’s downgrading of Kashmir’s status as a violation of international law and says Pakistan “will not leave Kashmiri people alone.”
President Arif Alvi made his remarks on Wednesday while hoisting Pakistan’s flag at a government building in Islamabad to start celebrations of the country’s Independence Day. Prime Minister Imran Khan traveled to Pakistan’s portion of divided Kashmir to express solidarity with Kashmiris on the Indian side.
Alvi said he was sad over seeing Indian atrocities in Indian-administered Kashmir and that Muslims don’t want war but “if the war is imposed on us, we will not step back.”
Pakistan has asked the UN Security Council to meet on the issue.
Pakistan’s prime minister has assured Kashmiri people living in the Indian-administered part of the divided region that he supports them in their struggle for self-determination.
In his statement on Wednesday, Imran Khan condemned New Delhi’s decision Aug.5 to downgrade Kashmir’s status, as he began celebrations marking Pakistan’s independence day.
Khan is marking the day in Pakistan’s part of Kashmir to express solidarity with Kashmiris on the Indian-controlled side. He will make a speech in the Legislative Assembly to denounce Indian human rights violations in Kashmir.
India and Pakistan gained independence in 1947 when British colonialists left the subcontinent. The next year, they fought the first of two wars over control of Kashmir. It ended with the region divided between them though both claim it entirely.
Pakistan’s prime minister assured Kashmiri people living in the Indian-administered part of the divided region that he supports them in their struggle for self-determination.
The decision comes at a time of high tension between the two nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.
India's decision to strip Kashmir of the special autonomy it has enjoyed for seven decades has also prompted condemnation on Pakistani Twitter, where at one point the top six trending hashtags all related to the move.
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