22:22 GMT +322 October 2019
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    Pakistani troops patrol near the Line of Control (LoC) --- the de facto border between Pakistan and India -- in Chakothi sector, in Pakistan-administered Kashmir on August 29, 2019

    Pakistani Lawmaker Says Kashmir Issue Humanitarian Crisis Rather Than Political

    © AFP 2019 / AAMIR QURESHI
    Asia & Pacific
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Pakistan urges the international community to see the current tense situation in the disputed Kashmir region as a humanitarian crisis rather than a political one, Saleem Mandviwalla, deputy chairman of the Pakistani Senate, said.

    "Actually the situation is not political, the situation is not what other issues between India and Pakistan. The situation is that people are under curfew for the last 50 or more days. We are more concerned about their sufferings right now than the dispute between Pakistan and India. And that is what we want the world to look at and to consider this as a human rights situation than anything else right now," Mandviwalla said.

    People in Kashmir now have no access to food, medical help or communication and are completely disconnected from the world, he noted.

    "These disputes [between India and Pakistan] have been going on for ages, it is nothing new, but this is something what is very alarming. Eight million people's lives are at stake," he said.

    India had deployed 900,000 servicemen to the region.

    "It is something that we feel needs attention from the world," he said, adding that the issue should be discussed at the UN General Assembly.

    India and Pakistan have contended for the Kashmir region — the southern part of which lies in India's Jammu and Kashmir state — since the end of British rule in 1947. Despite a ceasefire reached in 2003 after several armed conflicts, instability in the region continued, leading to the emergence of various extremist groups.

    Tensions increased earlier in August when India revoked the special status of the Jammu and Kashmir state. Under the government’s new initiative, Jammu and Kashmir will be divided into two union territories that will be under New Delhi's control.

    Pakistan reacted angrily to India downgrading the Muslim-majority region to a territory and promised to protect Kashmiris. It expelled the Indian ambassador, halted bilateral trade and promised to raise the issue with the International Court of Justice.

    territorial dispute, Jammu and Kashmir, India, Pakistan
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