ISLAMABAD: While the world is preoccupied with fighting the novel coronavirus outbreak, India has moved to further alter the status of disputed Jammu and Kashmir region by approving a new set of laws that would allow outsiders to become the permanent residents of the scenic Himalayan territory.
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India on Wednesday approved “Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Order 2020” that would give non-Kashmiris the right to become permanent residents of the valley.
The move comes nearly eight months after India unilaterally revoked the special status of Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJK), bringing Pakistan and India on the verge of war.
Under the new law, those who have resided for a period of 15 years in the IOJK or studied for a period of seven years and appeared in class 10/12 examinations in educational institutions located in the region are now eligible to become permanent residents.
Pakistan, which is a party to the dispute, on Thursday reacted sharply to the move and termed it as yet another attempt by “fascist Modi government” to change the demographics of the only Muslim majority area under Indian control.
“We strongly condemn the racist Hindutva supremacist Modi government’s continuing attempts to illegally alter the demography of the IOJK in violation of all international laws & treaties.
“The new Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Order 2020 is a clear violation of the 4th Geneva Convention,” reacted Prime Minister Imran Khan in a series of tweets on micro-blogging site Twitter.
Imran said the timing of this latest illegal action is particularly reprehensible because it seeks to exploit the international focus on COVID-19 pandemic to push forward BJP’s Hindutva Supremacist agenda.
He urged the United Nations and International community to stop India’s continuing violations of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and international law.
“We stand with the Kashmiris in rejecting this latest Indian attempt to alter the demography of IOJK. Pakistan will continue to expose Indian state terrorism and its denial of the Kashmiris right to self-determination,” the prime minister said.