Occupied Kashmir lockdown: A 'volcano waiting to erupt'

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Occupied Kashmir lockdown: A 'volcano waiting to erupt'

NEW YORK - Decades of India’s occupation of Jammu and Kashmir, coupled with its repression there, has turned the disputed region into a powder keg of anger and fury — a “volcano waiting to erupt”, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the U.S., Asad Majeed Khan, has said, while underscoring the need for resolving the lingering dispute.

“Kashmir is too important and too delicate an issue to be ignored indefinitely. It needs resolution now,” he wrote in an opinion piece published in The New York Daily News, a mass circulation tabloid, after giving background to the issue.

“The only solution is a just settlement of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the wishes of its people and in line with the UN’s myriad resolutions on the disputed territory,” the Pakistani envoy said in his piece titled: India’s dastardly, dangerous moves in Kashmir.

Since India’s Aug. 5 annexation, Kashmir has been under military lockdown, with mass arrests of Kashmiri political leaders and activists as well as young people under a complete communications blackout, subjecting 8 million Kashmiris to a form of collective punishment.

Having failed to normalize its occupation of Kashmir, Ambassador Khan said India was lashing out, blaming Pakistan and gambling that another military escalation on the Line of Control would help the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) externalize the consequences of its repression.

On it’s part, he said Pakistan does not want to be dragged into a “manufactured confrontation”, but warned of a response if Pakistani sovereignty was violated.

“India has already tested — to its own cost — Pakistan’s resolve to defend its territory once this year,” Khan said, referring to the effective Pakistani response to India’s air incursion in February. “As Prime Minister Imran Khan warned India in February, wars begin because of miscalculation.”

“It’s time for India to let the Kashmiri people choose their own destiny,” Khan wrote, referring to UN resolutions that give Kashmir people the right to self-determination through a UN-supervised plebiscite.

“Under India’s occupation, they have seen enough dark days,” Khan added.