Kashmir is Pakistan's 'jugular vein', says Pakistan army chief

Pakistan army chief said 'We salute the great sacrifices of the people of Indian held Kashmir for their right of self-determination.' Photograph:( Getty )

WION Rawalpindi, Punjab, Pakistan Sep 07, 2016, 06.27 AM (IST)
Kashmir is Pakistan's "jugular vein" and people of Kashmir will continue to get Pakistan's support on diplomatic fronts, Pakistan army chief General Raheel Sharif said on Tuesday. 

Sharif was addressing the Defence Day ceremony in memory of martyrs who died in the Indo-Pak war in 1965, where he expressed support for the people of  the disputed region in the northernmost past of India. 

“We salute the great sacrifices of the people of Indian held Kashmir for their right of self-determination," Pakistan daily Express Tribune quoted him as saying. 

"The solution of the problem lies in the implementation of the resolutions of United Nations in this regard. Pakistan will continue to support Kashmir on the diplomatic and ethical fronts.”

The war of words between India and Pakistan after unrest broke out in Kashmir following killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. The ensuing violence has left at least 70 people dead and thousands injured. Kashmir is claimed by both India and Pakistan and remains a bone of contention even after seven decades.

"The solution is not spraying Kashmiri people with bullets, those who are struggling for their right to self determination. The solution lies there in hearing their voice and to respect their aspirations. The solution of Kashmir issue is only possible if UN resolutions are enforced,"  Sharif said. 

Pak-China ties

Sharif also said that Pakistan and China's relationship is based on mutual respect and any threat to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will be dealt with a heavy-hand.

“I want to make it clear to all enemies of Pakistan that Pakistan has always been strong and today it is invincible," he asserted.

The CPEC is 3,000-kilometer-long which includes a network of roads, railways and pipelines connecting western China to the Arabian Sea through Pakistan.

The project was given a green signal last year when Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Pakistan. The agreement includes a plan for energy and infrastructure projects worth 46$ billion in Pakistan and aims to underscore China's economic ambitions in Asia.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was reported to be "concerned" and had termed the project "unacceptable", Reuters reported.

Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj said, Prime Minister Modi had "very strongly" raised the issue during his visit to Beijing and the Indian governement had summoned a Chinese envoy.

China, however rejected India's reservations and said India's concerns were baseless.

(WION with inputs from agencies)