Pakistan rebuts Indian army chief’s terror camp claim


Pakistan on Tuesday rejected allegations by India’s army chief of the “reactivation of a terror camp” in the Pakistani town of Balakot, terming it an attempt to divert the international community’s attention from the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

In a statement, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Army Chief General Bipin Rawat’s allegations are completely baseless.

“The Indian allegations of ‘infiltration’ from Pakistan reflected a desperate attempt to divert international attention from the humanitarian nightmare in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir being perpetrated by Indian occupation forces,” said ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal.

Faisal added that India would neither succeed in misleading the world community through these diversionary tactics nor will it be able to hide its unabated state terrorism in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

On Monday, Rawat said a terror camp in Balakot has been reactivated by Pakistan and there are at least 500 people waiting to infiltrate into Kashmir.

Speaking to reporters after inaugurating the Young Leaders Training Wing at the Officers Training Academy in Chennai, Rawat said more troops had been deployed and there was no hesitation to go beyond strikes in Balakot, but they would like to keep Pakistan guessing, the Times of India reported.

However, Pakistan said the insincerity and lack of credibility of Indian statements has been further exposed by the fact that India severely hinders the functioning of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) and limits the free and unhampered mobility of its personnel, which is in complete contrast with Pakistan’s approach of allowing full facilitation of their free movement.

“In 2019, Indian ceasefire violations had caused a huge human toll resulting in the shahdat (martyrdom) of 26 innocent civilians and injuries to 124 others,” Faisal said

He added that India’s belligerent rhetoric and actions are a threat to regional peace and stability and urged it to act responsibly and refrain from steps that only serve to worsen the already tense environment.

Tensions between the two South Asian nuclear neighbors have mounted following the Indian government’s move on Aug. 5 to scrap the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir has been under a near-complete lockdown since then, with the government blocking communication access and imposing restrictions on movement to thwart any protests in the region.

Several rights groups including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have repeatedly called on India to lift restrictions and release political detainees.

India said that 93% of the restrictions have been eased in the conflict-ridden region, a claim that Anadolu Agency could not independently verify.

From 1954 until Aug. 5, 2019, Jammu and Kashmir enjoyed a special status under the Indian constitution which allowed it to enact its own laws.

The provisions also protected the region’s citizenship law, which barred outsiders from settling in and owning land in the territory.

Also, the Indian government further downgraded and divided the disputed region into two centrally controlled “union territories.”

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 who have fought two wars over Kashmir.
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