Army chief Gen Raheel Sharif on Wednesday joined Pakistan’s civilian leadership in criticizing India’s handling of the unrest in Jammu and Kashmir, saying the world community should step in to resolve the Kashmir issue.
The powerful military leader made the remarks while addressing a conference of the Pakistan Army’s corps commanders at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, according to a post on the military’s official Facebook page.
Thirty-five people have died in violent protests in Jammu and Kashmir that were triggered by the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani last week.
“Condemning Indian brutal killings of innocent Kashmiri youth, (Sharif) reiterated that the world needs to recognize the aspirations of Kashmiri people, their struggle for freedom and help resolve the long-standing dispute for lasting amity in Kashmir and enduring peace in the region,” the Facebook post said.
The corps commanders conference discussed the external security situation with emphasis on the situation in Afghanistan, the post added.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan’s Foreign Office had angered the Indian government by calling Wani a “Kashmiri leader” and describing the recent deaths in Jammu and Kashmir as “extrajudicial killings”.
India had asked Pakistan not to interfere in its internal affairs and said the official statements on the situation in Kashmir reflected Islamabad’s use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy.
The diplomatic spat comes at a time when bilateral relations are at an all-time low following the terror attack on Pathankot airbase, which India blamed on the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed.