Pakistan's foreign ministry spokesperson accuses New Delhi of killing at least 158 people in India-administered Kashmir this year.

"Indian occupation forces have martyred more than 678 Kashmiris, including at least 158 this year," Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson claimed. (Reuters Archive)

Pakistan has claimed that Indian forces have killed over 675 people in the India-administered Kashmir since the region's autonomy was revoked in 2019.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Asim Iftikhar Ahmad accused Indian forces of carrying out a series of "extrajudicial murders with impunity" during a weekly press briefing on Friday.

According to an excerpt from a spokesman briefing released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, "eight innocent Kashmiris were mercilessly martyred by Indian occupation forces in Baramulla, Shopian and Pulwama."

"Since its unilateral and illegal actions on 5th (of) August 2019, Indian occupation forces have martyred more than 678 Kashmiris, including at least 158 this year," he claimed.

Ahmad also accused New Delhi of strangling the disputed region's economy, exacerbating the plight of local Kashmiris.

"Worryingly, IIOJK (Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir) continues to be strangled economically, facing the brunt of Indian occupation forces ‘economic terrorism'."

"While the region has a stark unemployment rate, its farmers are faced with prolonged and forced road blockades by the occupation forces, exposing them to risks of the produce going rotten. This is a deliberate attempt to destroy the region’s economy," he added.

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Attempt to portray normalcy

According to Indian broadcaster NDTV, Indian Home Minister Amit Shah visited Srinagar on Wednesday and stated that his government will eradicate "terrorism" from Jammu and Kashmir in order to make it a peaceful place.

The Indian minister said 42,000 people have lost their lives in Kashmir since 1990.

However, Pakistan described Shah's visit as an attempt to portray normalcy in the disputed region and claimed that the Indian home minister cannot hoodwink the world into believing that the situation in Kashmir is normal.

"The visit means nothing to the oppressed and subjugated Kashmiris; it is a mere smokescreen aimed at diverting international attention (away) from the grave human rights violations being perpetrated by the Indian occupation troops in IIOJK," the spokesman alleged.

From 1954 to August 5, 2019, Jammu and Kashmir had special provisions that allowed it to enact its own laws. The provisions also protected the region's citizenship law, which prohibited outsiders from settling in and owning land in the territory.

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Disputed region

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is administered by India and Pakistan in part but claimed by both in full. A small sliver of the region is also controlled by China.

Some Kashmiri groups have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighbouring Pakistan.

Already strained relations between the two nuclear neighbours further plummeted after India’s controversial move in August 2019.

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Source: AA