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Pakistan Says India Is Firing Shells Into Kashmir: 'People Are Dying Here'

Pakistan President Arif Alvi tells VICE News the international community must intervene to prevent war with India.

by Hind Hassan and Sean Stephens
Aug 22 2019, 2:29pm

BATTAL, Pakistan-Administered Kashmir — Muneeb Ur Rehman was at home with his family when a mortar shell hit the house and killed him.

“He was hit in the head once, and one shell piece hit his leg. There was huge bloodshed, so much blood just flowing inside the house,” said Nazakath Ali Khan, Muneeb’s cousin.

Battal lies on the Pakistani side of the so-called Line of Control, a de facto border that splits the disputed region of Kashmir with Pakistan controlling one side and India controlling the other.

Islamabad and Delhi both claim Kashmir in full, but since the 1949 U.N.-brokered ceasefire, they control only parts of it — territories recognized internationally as Indian-administered Kashmir and Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

The two countries are on the verge of war over Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s move earlier this month to revoke Article 370, a constitutional provision that had granted special status to the region of Kashmir that it controls.

Khan told VICE News that since Modi’s move on Aug. 5, there’s been an upsurge in violence.

“It has become routine here — people dying here day by day. You can find there is more bombardment from India, there are more fighters, there’s more targeted killings from the Indian side,” Khan said.

To try to stifle any violent reaction, India has put the region it controls on lockdown. The military patrols the streets, and the internet has been blacked out. It’s the only Muslim-majority state in India, leading many in Pakistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir to believe Modi’s move is motivated by extreme Hindu nationalism.

The situation has become serious enough that the United Nations Security Council met on Aug. 16 to discuss the crisis, the first time it met formally to discuss Kashmir since 1971.

Speaking to VICE News, Pakistan’s president says the international community must intervene because the matter cannot be settled bilaterally.

“How many years have passed?” Arif Alvi asks. “Can the world remain quiet and keep on pushing the two parties to talk when one party doesn't want to talk?” I believe India should withdraw whatever amendment it has made in their Constitution. I think India is going on a road which is very dangerous, agitating its own Muslim population.”

Watch the full exchange between VICE News' Hind Hassan and Arif Alvi, President of Pakistan below.

This segment originally aired August 21, 2019, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.

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