India slams Pakistan for 'coveting' Kashmir

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New Delhi, Feb 5: India on Thursday slammed Pakistan over its stance on Jammu and Kashmir, saying its "self-destructive and futile quest for territorial aggrandisement" in the state was well known and it was high time that the neighbour stops "coveting what is not theirs and never will be".

External affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin, addressing a media briefing, said India was aware that "there are multiplicity of activities being undertaken today in Pakistan by their leaders and by unsavoury elements who are wanted elsewhere".

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He was referring to Pakistan's observance Thursday of the annual ritual of 'Kashmir Solidarity Day' in which Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif described Kashmir as his country's "jugular vein".

Akbaruddin said, "Our view is that Pakistan's self-destructive and futile quest for territorial aggrandisement in Jammu and Kashmir is well known to us", and stressed that "the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir is and will always remain an integral part of the Indian union".

"It is, therefore, high time for Pakistan that it starts paying attention to all the problems that afflict them rather than covet what is not theirs and never will be."

Sharif, addressing a session of Pakistan-administered Kashmir's assembly in Muzaffarabad Thursday, said he has an emotional bond with Kashmir from childhood and would continue to struggle for the right of people of Kashmir, which is the "jugular vein of Pakistan".

On Wednesday, Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry, while addressing a briefing for ambassadors of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) countries, alleged that India was trying to change the demographic mix of Kashmir by settling non-Kashmiris in the valley.

He said the Solidarity Day was commemorated to reiterate Pakistan's political, moral and diplomatic support to Kashmiris in the "struggle for their right to self-determination".

Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, Thursday said Sharif should call a meeting of the OIC to resolve the Kashmir issue.

IANS

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