Pakistan wants India to exercise "restrain" in Kashmir

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Islamabad, Aug.3 (ANI): Pakistan on Tuesday called on India to exercise restraint in Kashmir, where at least 23 protestors have lost their lives during clashes with police and other security personnel in the last few weeks.

"There is a need for the government of India to exercise restraint," a statement quoted Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi as saying.

"Pakistan is seriously concerned at the escalation of violence against Kashmiri people that has resulted in the loss of innocent lives," Qureshi said.

The deaths occurred while police tried to quell the violent protestors at different places in Srinagar after they went on the rampage burning buildings or other government property and pelting stones at the security personnel.

Expressing solidarity with people of Kashmir, Qureshi said that his country would "continue to extend its political, moral and diplomatic support to the just cause of... their right to self-determination."

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the death toll in the Kashmir Valley rose to 23 with one more person being killed in clashes between protesters and security personnel.

Five persons were also injured in the violence that took place in Srinagar and Budgam districts.

Curfew remains enforced in all ten districts of the valley, with security forces maintaining a close and strict vigil to contain the disturbances.

Reports said that residents of the Qamarwari area in downtown Srinagar defied the curfew and took part in several demonstrations. They refused to heed security forces demands to disperse.

This resulted in security forces firing on them. Twenty-five-year-old Mehraj Ahmed Lone was killed and three others were injured.

In Budgam, two persons were injured in security-related firing and have been hospitalised, police said.

The Government of India has decided to send 1900 paramilitary personnel to the valley, while another 3,200, currently based in the state, will be redeployed in trouble-torn areas.

The additional forces are being sent following a request from Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to the Centre to help tackle the situation in the Valley politically, rather than economically.

Official sources said 19 companies ( of 100 personnel each) of Central paramilitary forces will reach Kashmir Valley within a day or two from outside the state.

32 companies (3,200 personnel) currently posted in different parts of Jammu and Kashmir will be redeployed in the trouble-torn districts of Kashmir.

On Monday, seven persons were killed as police opened fire to disperse the mobs who defied curfew and attacked police stations and CRPF camps in the Valley.

Abdullah chaired a meeting of the Unified Command here yesterday and reviewed the measures in place to tackle the situation.

There are reports of the protests spreading to Ramban, Doda and Kishtwar districts of Jammu.

The national highway is being blocked by the demonstrators at intervals, leaving the travelling public stranded. (ANI)

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