Prime Minister Imran Khan travelled to Pakistan occupied Kashmir on Wednesday where he was expected to issue a fresh challenge to India over its move to scrap Article 370 which gave special status to Jammu-Kashmir. The move has sent tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours soaring.
His visit to mark the country’s Independence Day comes more than a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s move to strip Kashmir of its special status.
In the wake of the move, Pakistan has launched a diplomatic offensive aimed at reversing the order and formally asked the United Nations Security Council late Tuesday to hold an emergency session to address India’s “illegal actions”.
Pakistan has also expelled the Indian ambassador, halted bilateral trade and suspended cross-border transport services, however, analysts said the actions were unlikely to move Delhi.
Kashmir has been under lockdown for over a week with tens of thousands of troop reinforcements deployed to the main city of Srinagar and other towns and villages, with a curfew enforced across the region and phone and internet lines cut to quell potential unrest.
Indian authorities vowed to reduce the restrictions on freedom of movement in Kashmir following the country’s own Independence Day celebrations on Thursday.
As tensions simmered with India, Pakistan moved ahead with independence celebrations which began at the stroke of midnight with firework shows lighting up the skies in major cities, where residents jammed the streets waving the national flag from their cars and motorcycles.
In August 1947 the British Raj was dismantled with the subcontinent divided into two independent states — Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan.