Pakistan foreign minister has rejected India’s revocation of disputed Kashmir’s special constitutional status

ASSOCIATED PRESS , SRINAGAR, INDIA — Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told a Pakistani TV station Monday from Saudi Arabia, where he’s on a pilgrimage to Mecca, that Pakistan would step up diplomatic efforts to prevent the revocation made by presidential order from coming into effect.

The order scraps an Indian constitutional provision that forbids Indians from outside the region from buying land in the Muslim-majority territory.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and both claim the region in its entirety. Two of the three wars India and Pakistan have fought since their independence from British rule were over Kashmir.

The president of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, Sardar Masood Khan, also rejected India’s presidential order and said that India “can go to war” with Pakistan in such a situation.

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11:45 am

India’s government has initiated a revocation of the special constitutional status of disputed Kashmir amid uproar in Parliament and a huge troop deployment in the region.

Home Minister Amit Shah told members of the upper house Monday that the government has decided to repeal a law that gives special status to the Himalayan region of Jammu and Kashmir by presidential order. Shah says that the government has also decided to split the state into two union territories — Jammu and Kashmir, which will have a legislature, and Ladakh, which will be ruled directly by the central government without a legislature of its own.

The law, Article 370 of the Constitution, forbids Indians outside the state from permanently settling, buying land, holding local government jobs and securing education scholarships.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and both claim the region in its entirety.

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9:00 am

An indefinite security lockdown is in place in the Indian-controlled portion of divided Kashmir, with thousands of newly deployed soldiers camping in police stations and government buildings around the increasingly tense region.

The deployment in recent days adds at least 10,000 troops in Kashmir, already one of the world’s most militarised regions.

India also has ordered thousands of tourists and Hindu pilgrims to leave.

The measures have sparked fears that New Delhi is planning to scrap a constitutional provision that forbids Indians from outside the region from buying land in the Muslim-majority territory.

Kashmiris fear the measures would be a prelude to doing away with the region’s special status and intensifying an ongoing crackdown against anti-India dissenters.

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