KARACHI, Pakistan 

Pakistan on Monday accused Indian security forces of killing nine Kashmiri youths in so-called security operations in disputed Jammu and Kashmir.

“Pakistan strongly condemns unabated extra-judicial killings of Kashmiri youth in acts of state-terrorism perpetrated by Indian occupation forces in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K),” Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement, referring to killing of nine suspected militants in the last 24 hours in two separate gunfights in the Shopian district of the disputed valley.

“Several houses in the area were also destroyed and pellet guns and tear gas used against innocent Kashmiri men, women and children who took to the streets to protest against the Indian brutalities. Infliction of such collective punishment to community is tantamount to crimes against humanity,” the statement added.

The gunfights involved the highest number of casualties after June 2 security operations, in which, according to Indian media, 13 suspected militants were killed in the Poonch and Rajouri districts.

“It is highly reprehensible that while the world community is grappling with COVID-19 pandemic, India remains busy intensifying its brutalization of the Kashmiri people,” it went on to say.

“India’s efforts to subjugate the Kashmiri people through killings, torture, forced disappearances, incarcerations and brutalization have failed in the past and will not succeed in the future,” it added.

“Kashmiris’ resolve to resist illegal Indian occupation and to secure their inalienable right to self-determination, as enshrined in the relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions, continues to grow stronger.”

Islamabad urged the international community to take immediate steps to stop India from committing “serious crimes” against the Kashmiri people and hold it accountable under international law and relevant human rights conventions.

An Indian Army spokesman refused to comment on Pakistan’s allegations when asked by Anadolu Agency.

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

The two countries have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965 and 1971 – since being partitioned in 1947, two of them over Kashmir.

Several Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.

According to several human rights groups, thousands of people have been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.

The disputed valley has been reeling from a severe blockade with key Kashmiri leaders imprisoned or put under house arrest since last August.

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