New Delhi: India on Friday hit back at Pakistan rejecting as "gratuitous" its statements on Jammu and Kashmir, saying they amounted to interference in the internal affairs of the country.
It asked Islamabad to take effective action against infiltration from across the LoC and dismantle terror infrastructure there as it is the people of the state who suffer from the consequences of terrorism fomented from across the border.
Reacting sharply to Pakistan Foreign Minister S M Qureshi asking India to "exercise restraint" in the state, Ministry of External Affairs official spokesperson Vishnu Prakash said "India firmly rejects gratuitous statements issued by Pakistan on Jammu & Kashmir, which amount to interference in the internal affairs of India.
Earlier, Pakistan Foreign Minister S M Qureshi had asked India to "exercise restraint" in Kashmir.
"Pakistan should take credible and effective action against infiltration from across the Line of Control and dismantle the terror infrastructure that exists in the territory under its control.
"This would be an important contribution towards safeguarding the welfare of the people of J&K, who suffer the consequences of terrorism fomented from across the Line of Control and the International Border."
He also said that as a vibrant democracy, India has sufficient mechanisms and constitutional safeguards to address issues raised by its citizens in any part of the country.
Claiming that Pakistan will "continue to stand by the Kashmiris in their just cause", Qureshi said "Gross and systematic abuse of human rights ... in Kashmir must end. Pakistan calls upon the Government of India to exercise restraint."
The Pakistani minister said his country has taken "serious note of the deteriorating situation" in Jammu and Kashmir. "The indigenous movement in (Jammu and Kashmir) has gained a new momentum and urgency. The Kashmiris are unanimous in their demand for self-determination," he said.
Qureshi said Pakistan condemns the alleged "blatant" use of force by Indian security forces against the protesters.
Today's statement by Qureshi is being seen as an attempt by Pakistan to step up pressure on Kashmir ahead of UNGA where it may try to rake it up.
Reiterating India's commitment to resolve issues of mutual concern with Pakistan through dialogue and peaceful means", Prakash said however, Pakistan must fulfil its solemn commitment of not allowing territory under its control to be used for terrorism directed against India in any manner.
"This would be in the interest of Pakistan and of the international community," the Spokesperson said.