Pakistan has condemned the “extra-judicial killings” of three Kashmiris by Indian forces in the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region.
“Pakistan strongly condemns the extra-judicial killings of three Kashmiris, including a 14-year-old juvenile and a student of grade 10 by the Indian forces in a so-called ‘cordon-and-search' operation in Shopian, Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK),” said a Foreign Ministry statement Monday.
Kashmir regional police said on Sunday in the capital city of Srinagar that Faisal Bashir, 14, who reportedly had recently joined militant ranks, was killed along with 11 other suspected militants in separate gunfights during the past four days.
According to media reports, Bashir was his parents' only son along with four daughters. He went missing three days ago.
Moreover, two militants were killed in the early hours of Sunday in the Bijbehara area of south Kashmir.
At least 36 militants have been killed in the restive region in 2021 so far, according to the police.
“The further intensification of fake encounters is a matter of grave concern. Extra-judicial killings of young men, including teenage boys, and refusal to return human remains of those martyred is completely unlawful and reflects the moral bankruptcy of the Indian occupation forces,” the statement said.
It added that Pakistan has repeatedly called for independent investigations, under international scrutiny, into the “extra-judicial killings” of all innocent Kashmiris.
“We call upon the international community to hold India accountable for the gross and systematic human rights violations in IIOJK and work for peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant UNSC resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people,” it urged.
Relations between India and Pakistan plummeted to a new low after August 2019, when India scrapped the longstanding special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
The two neighbors, however, last month agreed to honor the 2003 cease-fire along the Line of Control – a de facto border that divides the picturesque Himalayan valley between the two countries – followed by an exchange of letters between the two premiers and unconfirmed reports of "backdoor" contacts to stem the escalating tensions.
Islamabad, nonetheless, has reiterated that normalization of ties with New Delhi is linked to review of the Aug. 5 decision, and ultimate resolution of the Kashmir dispute.
Kashmir is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of the region is also controlled by China.
Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965, and 1971 – two of them over Kashmir.
Some Kashmiri groups have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or unification with neighboring Pakistan.
According to several human rights groups, thousands of people have been killed and tortured in the conflict since 1989./aa