Pakistan commemorates 'Kashmir Day'

AP News
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Posted: Feb 05, 2016 9:48 AM

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan's Prime Minister on Friday called for resolving the lingering issue of Kashmir in accordance with U.N. Security Council resolutions, saying the credibility of the global organization will be at stake if it fails to implement its own decisions.

Nawaz Sharif spoke to lawmakers in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan's part of Kashmir, as Pakistanis celebrated "Kashmir Day." Pakistan observes the day by holding rallies and arranging seminars on the issue of Kashmir, which is divided between Pakistan and India.

"Only implementation of United Nations Security Council resolutions can amicably resolve the Kashmir issue. Until then peace in the region will remain an elusive dream," he said.

He also expressed his hope for early resumption of bilateral talks between Pakistan and India, which were to be held in January but were delayed following an attack on an Indian air base. Seven Indian soldiers and all six attackers were killed in the assault in Pathankot, close to India's border with Pakistan.

Indian investigators at the time said phone intercepts suggest that the gunmen in the assault came from Pakistan. Pakistan denounced the attack and detained several suspects for questioning.

Meanwhile, Sharif in a separate statement paid tribute to Kashmiris for showing resilience "in their struggle for freedom from Indian subjugation." He urged the international community to take notice of human rights violations in the Indian part of Kashmir.

In Srinagar, the main city in Indian-controlled Kashmir, hundreds of Kashmiris protesting against Indian rule clashed with government forces shortly after Friday prayers.

Displaying Pakistani flags and chanting slogans like "we want freedom," protesters threw rocks at police and paramilitary soldiers who responded by firing tear gas, police said.

No one was immediately reported injured in the clashes.

The nuclear-armed neighbors have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir after gaining independence in 1947. U.N. security council resolution 47, adopted in 1948, calls for a vote among Kashmir residents to determine the disputed region's fate. But the resolution was non-binding and has never been implemented.

India accuses Pakistan of arming and training Kashmir insurgents in its portion of Kashmir. Pakistan says it only provides moral and diplomatic support.

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Aijaz Hussain in Srinagar, India, contributed to this report.