13 October 2022

By Rehan Piracha

LAHORE: Qamar Zaman Kaira, Advisor to Prime Minister on Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan, on Thursday, October 13, condemned the change in Indian electoral rules to allow temporary residents in India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir to register themselves as voters there, and termed it yet another attempt by New Delhi to change the demography of the Muslim-majority region.

In a notification issued on October 11, electoral authorities in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir allowed residents who have been living there for a year or more to register as voters.

Under a previous rule, only people who resided in the region in 1947, or their descendants were eligible to register themselves as voters. 

‘Pakistan might move world court’

Responding to the Indian attempt to allow temporary residents to vote in Held Kashmir, Kaira said Pakistan would raise a concern about Indian measures to convert the Muslim majority region into a minority at the United Nations and other international forums.

“The federal government could also consider the option of moving the International Court of Justice against India’s disenfranchisement of the Muslim-majority in Held Kashmir by allowing temporary residents, most of whom are Hindus, to register as voters,” Kaira told Voicepk.net. 

Kaira said the Indian onslaught of cruelty, barbarity, and violence has failed to either dent the spirit or frightened the Kashmiri people.

“India’s change in the electoral rule is akin to Israel’s attempt to change the demography of Palestine,” he added. 

“In partnership with Israel, New Delhi began its malicious demographic changes and strong-arm tactics by abolishing the special status of India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir under Article 35 (A) of its constitution in 2019,” Kaira said, adding that electoral rule change was a continuation of brutal Indian measures. 

In a statement earlier on October 11, Pakistan’s Foreign Office rejected the Indian Prime Minister’s remarks about India resolving the Kashmir issue. “The Indian Prime Minister’s farcical contention that he has, somehow, “resolved the Kashmir issue”, is not only false and misleading but also reflects how oblivious the Indian leadership has become of the ground realities in IIOJK,” the Foreign Office said. 

Kashmiri political parties slam Indian measure

Meanwhile, political parties in India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir slammed the change in the electoral rule saying it is an attempt to change demography in favor of Hindus.

“The government is going ahead with its plan to add 25 lakh (2.5 million) non-local voters in J&K and we continue to oppose this move,” the Jammu and Kashmir National Conf­erence, one of the main parties in the state, tweeted.

Mehbooba Mufti, a former chief minister and Jammu and leader of Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party, termed it an attempt to create religious and regional divisions between Jammu & Kashmir. “BJPs attempts to create religious & regional divisions between Jammu & Kashmir must be thwarted because whether its a Kashmiri or a Dogra, safeguarding our identity & rights will be possible only if we put up a collective fight,” she said in her tweet. 

Pakistan has consistently called upon the international community to assume its role and responsibility with regard to IIOJK and the ongoing Indian atrocities in the occupied territory. India must also be held responsible for its nefarious scheme of altering the demography of IIOJK, as well as for its brutal repression of the innocent Kashmiris.



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