Pak foreign minister challenges PM Modi to hold referendum in J&K over Article 370

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Pak foreign minister challenges PM Modi to hold referendum in J&K over Article 370

After revoking Article 370 and 35A, which has changed the status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union territories, India is now eyeing at securing Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Gilgit Baltistan (GB) from Pakistan.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, in a recent statement, hinted towards revoking the no first nuclear strike policy'. He also stated that now, India will talk to Pakistan on the issue of PoK and nothing else, brushing aside any possibility or hope that Pakistan has of talks over Jammu and Kashmir decision.

Pakistan's foreign affairs minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Sunday issued a statement, taking serious notice of the Rajnath Singh's statement.

"We have seen the comments made by the Indian Defence Minister today. These are reflective of the predicament that India finds itself in, after its illegal and unilateral actions imperiling peace and security in the region and beyond," read the statement.

Pakistani foreign minister also condemned the ongoing lock-down of Jammu and Kashmir.

Equally condemnable is the completely indefensible lock-down of the entire population in Jammu & Kashmir, that has gone on for two weeks, and continues to deepen the dire humanitarian tragedy as reported by the international human rights organisations and the international media. The world community, including the United Nations Security Council, have taken cognizance of this utterly untenable situation, the statement said.

Qureshi countered the India's actions by throwing an open challenge to PM Narendra Modi.

The Pakistani minister called on PM Modi to hold a public referendum in Jammu and Kashmir to see how the Kashmiri people feel about the scrapping of Article 370.

I challenge Narendra Modi to lift the curfew and call the entire Kashmiri leadership including those who have been in government with you such as former CMs Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah and the Hurriyat leadership: Mirwaiz Omar Farooq, Ali Gilani, Yasin Malik there are numerous individuals. You haven't fulfilled the United Nations promise but if you wish to check the popularity of your decision, hold the referendum and everything will be clear," Qureshi said.

Terming the United National Security Council (UNSC) consultation meeting as a huge diplomatic success for Pakistan, Qureshi said that the UN considers the area as a disputed region, resolution of which needs to be as per UN resolutions.

This is a huge diplomatic success for Pakistan, said the foreign minister.

Qureshi said Pakistan had never opposed bilateral dialogue with India, adding that it is India that has been reluctant.

"The Kashmir dispute is an issue which has three parties in it. India, Pakistan and Kashmiris. Two parties are completely uninvolved in the UNSC decisions, and the third, Kashmiris, are under arrest and a curfew has been imposed on them," Qureshi said.

Pushing the humanitarian element of the Jammu and Kashmir situation, Qureshi said the dire situation in Jammu and Kashmir, living under a curfew situation stops Pakistan from holding talks with India.

Kashmiris can scarcely breathe; we don't know if they have access to medicines, or food even. In which environment are they asking that we hold talks?

India-Pakistan tensions are festering at the Line of Control (LoC) as a heavy exchange of fire has continued, claiming lives of soldiers on both sides.