Pakistan rejects India’s protest against AJK constitutional amendments


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday rejected India’s protest over the constitutional amendment in the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Interim Constitution (13th Amendment) Act 2018 and its claim over Indian Occupied Kashmir (IoK).

“The government of Pakistan categorically rejects India’s protest against the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Interim Constitution (13th Amendment) Act 2018 and its fallacious and baseless claim over IoK as an ‘integral part’ of India,” the Foreign Office (FO) said in a statement.

“The Indian claim has no legal basis and continues to be contradicted by the situation on the ground over the last seven decades,” the FO said.

A joint sitting of the Azad Jammu Kashmir Legislative Assembly and the AJK Council, earlier this month, approved the much-awaited 13th Amendment in the Constitution of AJK, securing more empowerment for the state government. Under the amended constitution, most of the powers earlier exercised by the AJK council have been transferred to the AJK legislative assembly and the government leaving the Kashmir council to function as an advisory body.

The spokesman said the entire state of IoK was a “disputed” territory and its disputed status was enshrined in the relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions. He said it stipulates that the final status of IoK would be determined through the democratic method of a transparent, free and fair plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations (UN) to ascertain the wishes of the Kashmiris.

These resolutions, pledging the right to self-determination to the people of Kashmir, are accepted by India, Pakistan and the international community, the spokesman said.

He said the Indian attempts to deflect attention from the ongoing atrocities in IoK, including the use of pellet guns and humans shields, through baseless, fallacious contentions were regrettable and bound to failure.

Indian intransigence to implement UNSC resolutions in letter and spirit continues to hold hostage peace and development in the region, the foreign office said.

“Instead of making frivolous protests and issuing legally untenable and uncalled for statements, India should take steps to vacate its illegal occupation, fulfil its international obligations and expedite resolution of the IoK dispute in line with the UN Security Council Resolutions,” the spokesman said.